Daily Archives: July 5, 2017

It’s Always The Little Things. . .

About 1:30 Jan and I drove up to La Grange for a Wal-Mart run, our first WM visit since we got back to the Houston area a couple of weeks ago.

Going through withdrawal. Or at least Jan is.

We found out this morning that we lost another RV friend, Judy Benson, to a long bout with cancer. We first met Judy and her husband, Pat in 2008 when we were workcamping in Fairbanks, AK, and have kept in touch ever since, including visiting them at their home in Draper, UT, just south of Salt Lake City, in 2010.

Pat and Judy

Then they surprised us in 2014 with a visit to one of our gate guarding locations near Bryan/College Station when they came by with their daughter.


Pat passed away a year ago this coming Saturday, with Judy passing almost exactly a year later, on the 4th. Our condolences to the family. They will both be missed.

Several blog readers ask for more about how Jan and I met in Titusville, FL.

Well, while Jan lived in Titusville after her father retired from the Air Force there, I was just down from my home in Alabama bumming around for the summer. I had been staying with my aunt and uncle over in Sanford for a week or so and was checking out the want ads for a summer job.

The one that attracted my attention was one looking for someone to take care of the animals and do the performance shows for the tourists at Florida Wonderland, a Titusville tourist attraction. And even better, it included room and board.

So on Monday, the 3rd of July I made the 35 mile trip over to Titusville, and found the place right on US A1A and the Indian River at Hwy 50.

Florida Wonderland Sign


While the main part of the attraction was on the other side of the road, I was going to be working at the Marine Life Center across the road and right on the Indian River.

Florida Wonderland Marine Life

Originally started by Johnny Weissmuller of ‘Tarzan’ fame in the late 50’s, it was then known as Tropical Wonderland. But somewhere along the line, Johnny faded away and it became Florida Wonderland, and was owned by the Kirk family, one of whom, Claude Kirk, was then Governor of the state.

I started on the 5th of July, and besides doing the animal acts for the public, I also took care of the two porpoises, the two manatees, the 12ft alligator, the large elephant seal, a large tortoise, and a number of other animals. And that meant keeping the 100 pounds of fish that was delivered each day iced down so it wouldn’t spoil.

Noticing that there wasn’t an ice machine there, I was told to take a couple of buckets over to the Miss Kitty’s Saloon and bring back the ice to across the road as I needed it.


Besides the carnival rides, petting zoo and other attractions, they also had a Western town, with bank robberies, gunfights, and other Western stuff. And of course, what’s a Western town without a saloon. In this case, Miss Kitty’s Pleasure Palace, soft drinks only, of course.

Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

And of course, every ‘Pleasure Palace’ has an ice machine.

So, 50 years ago today, I walked through the swinging doors carrying my two buckets to find several young women dressed in period clothes. But the one that caught my eye was a tall, well-built redhead.

And that’s how it all started.

But it almost didn’t start, because it took me a week or so to get her to go out with me. Luckily I’m persistent. And I think management wondered why I was needing so much more ice than usual.

She said later that she thought I was just another ‘stuck up college guy’. Well, I don’t know about ‘stuck up’, but I was in college, was skinny and had hair. And I drove a ‘65 Triumph Spitfire like this one.

1965 Triumph Spitfire

But mine had a rollbar because I sometimes did SCCA racing.

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

But in looking back, Jan and I have had 50 years together because I didn’t want fish to go bad.

It’s always the little things.

Thought for the Day:

Curve: The loveliest distance between two points. – Mae West


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