Sailing into the Community is not unlike sailing into a new harbor. There are safe places to anchor as well as not so safe places to anchor. There are new friends to meet, politics of the neighborhood to be learned, and amenities to be found. Throughout the world seasoned sailors are ready to coach a newcomer. While others lead a more recluse style. Likewise, the local folk can be guarded or inviting.

So it is with finding a new homestead. From the hectic world of work, sailing for fun, sailing for competition, and sailing to educate to the docile lifestyle of an unwed wife, it’s interesting to watch myself morph. How much my lifestyle changed came to light this afternoon.

Working on my first edition of the Friends of the Everglades City Museum’s newsletter an ah-ha moment surfaced. I was sitting in a big fluffy chair at the home of my new bicycle riding buddy, community service liaison, and more importantly new friend. As she negotiated her personal computer to complete the next edition of the town’s newsletter, I plagued myself with negotiating the Pages program on my Mac. The museum newsletter is much shorter/smaller than the Mullet Rapper, the namesake of the Everglades City newsletter.

Being such a big (ha, ha) city, both newsletters share the same business sponsors. Certainly any news about the museum, which is fairly active, for our metropolis (not), is also written in the Mullet Rapper. Even still it takes time to organize, edit, and distribute these immortal documents.

About a year ago, after settling into the cozy home of my mate, along Panther Creek in the Industrial Center of town, I searched volunteer opportunities. The local K-12 school is the only one in the state of Florida. Tempting as it was to fall back into the role of counselor and member of the School Advisory Council, the locked heavy duty metal gate at the entrance to the administration office was a thankful deterent. Really, did I want to go through the finger printing and politics of another school. Nay!

The library needs people to shelve books. As much as I covet this quaint quiver of knowledge, both from the books and its tireless librarian, county clerk, and whatever else you need lady, I hate alphabetizing books and videos. Just shove them back on the shelf is my theory. Rather than embarrass my shelving habits I thankfully never filled out the arduous application to become a county volunteer.

Walla, the museum I heard doesn’t require fingerprinting and all that bureaucratic jive. After three or four days of 2-3 hour shifts saying, “hello, welcome to the Everglades City Museum,” explaining the self-guided tour and asking where the fine folks on tour were from, I grew bored.

To my rescue from all this volunteer desire with no results, were several camping trips. From Big Bend, Texas, to my nephew’s Asian Restaurant in Rockford, Ill, to friend’s Bill & Adela Butler in Kentucky and other notable camping sites I was distracted from any serious work.

About a month ago at one of the ladies’ weekly coffee Patti Huff and I agreed to go for a bike ride. It was a 25 mile haunt through the Wagon Wheel section of the Big Cypress Preserve. During our chat a discussion of all she does, (Everglades City answer to one of my favorite teachers at Palm Bay Elementary’s),  prevailed. Next thing I knew I was nominated to be on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Museum.

With that title always comes a job. Did I want to recruit volunteers, prepare their annual appreciation luncheon, & make them name badges? No. Did I want to be the secretary and take notes at the meetings? No. How about be in charge of the gift shop? The treasurer? NO-NO-NO.

Sheepishly I spoke up and said, I’ll help with the newsletter. Without a flinch Patti said, “Oh, that would help me out.” Immediately we set a date and time to begin my taking over the newsletter. Yea, a job I can do mostly at home. A job that will get me out talking to people about the museum. A job that will enhance my writing.

So, it is on this quiet Monday, November 16, 2015 that I can now call myself the editor of the Friends of the Everglades City Museum newsletter. We are not the Smallwood Museum, which is really a cool museum. That museum is located in the next town west, or is south?

Back at Patti’s house despite the attention we paid to working on the newsletters, I was constantly aware of the time. Just as I began every meeting as a school counselor I announced the time I would leave. At the end of the first hour, I quietly whispered, “Ohhh, one more hour,”  Then 15 minutes and again 5 minutes before 5 pm, I said, “Just finishing up for today. Can me meet again tomorrow?”  Three minutes past my announced time of departure I gathered my things and bid adieu. After all, I promised to have dinner on the table about 6:15.

I guess it’s just a new type of competition to be the best mate I can be, whether on the sea or the land. Changing from an active, I, me, my gal to caring for and making the Ronster’s day a happy one is the course I choose to sail. I only regret I did not do more for Danny; God only knows how I miss him throughout each and every day…..