July 15, 2013 by Jim

The Story of Us-Her Story, Part 5

April 20, 2013 by Maureen Kenney

I returned home & started thinking about our wedding. I wanted it all to be very simple. Where to be married? Here in IL, in our backyard with twinkle lights? Or in FL? Maybe we could do both? Small ceremonies in both places, so all our loved ones could be there? The decision came very easily, as my family said, without skipping a beat, “We will come to FL!” So, FL it is! Jim, too, had been mentioning our wedding, & his friends, Suzanne & David asked if we had a venue? (I am very proud to say I know what a venue is, because my daughter, Kimmy, was at one time a wedding consultant;) Jim mentioned a local hall, or small church, or an outside area. Suzanne & David offered their home as our wedding site! They have a beautiful home in The Villages! So, the next question is, when? Jim asked if I had a date in mind. Well, we kind of had already picked September 28, 2013, but let’s be married sooner? I really had no special date in mind, & Jim wanted a date he could easily remember, so he said, “How about July 4th?” I, too, had thought of that date, but wondered if the holiday would be too hectic for everyone. We agreed to try for the 4th of July. Jim asked Suzanne & David, & they said YES! Jim emailed me with the message…Fireworks! I let my family know, & they were all so happy, YES, they would come! Thank you so much, Suzanne & David!

Planning even the simplest wedding is fun! My sister, Jody is my bridesmaid, & her husband, Biff, a pastor, will marry us! My daughter, Kimmy, is my maid of honor! My son, Todd is in the wedding party. Sam, my 11 year old grandson, is ring bearer, & my 5 year old granddaughter, Addison, is flower girl! I hope my niece, Kyleen & her husband, Marcus can make the trip, too. I thank them for trying. Jody & Biff’s daughters, Jamie & Jessie are coming.

Jim has family & friend coming, too, both from IL & FL!

Jim & I talked often about our wedding plans, then in November, 2012, Jim asked if I could come for Christmas? That’s a hard one, because I really missed him, & of course, would want to come back. Christmas for me, is all about the children, & when I say children, I mean my grands, Sam & Addie. I have been caring for them since they were born, so they are my “world.” Missing Christmas morning, seeing their smiling faces & hearing their laughter on Christmas morning…so Jim, who knows me so well, asked “how about the day after Christmas?” So easy, no hesitation…Book it, Dano! ;0

I started looking for a wedding dress. I do not have a pretty dress, so I asked my friend, Judie for her help. The girl knows how to shop, & she really KNOWS me ­čśë All I knew is I would have to LOVE it, & I do have a dress that I love.

I arrived in The Villages again on December 26, 2012. Jim & I visited the B52 Park again, it is quite lovely. Then home to meet mom for  lunch. We celebrated our Christmas together, & it was a very merry Christmas! I only had 12 days this time, so we really had to pack it in!

We met with Suzanne & David & talked about our plans for our wedding! So exciting! We tried on wedding rings, & have our silver bands. We also saw Jim’s great IL friend, Tim, as he passed by The Villages! Jim & Tim (T&R Towing) worked together for many years. The “R” is for Tim’s wife, Rayette, & they are coming to our wedding! Another IL friend of Jim’s, Dan, also happened to be in The Villages, visiting his dad. Jim’s cousin, Sheri, will make our wedding cake! She bakes at Disneyworld, so you know it will be awesome!

We missed New Year’s Eve at Suzanne & David’s, because I caught a bad cold. I did not want to pass that around. I was feeling fine in 2 days. We went back to our favorite wine, cheese, & music bar, Garvino’s. B.D. Beans, Crispers, Ay Jalisco, Flippers, Mexican Grill, Orange Blossom Country Club, Bonifay Country Club. Aw Shucks with Mom, Carla & Wanda. ┬áRotary Club, computer club, the Squares for wine & music. Library, my haunt. I love to read, & am never without a book. We saw a puppet show at friends, Barbara & Tom. We sold raffle tickets for a Prius (which I did not win, but that’s ok, because Publishers Clearing House will be stopping by my house on April 30. You know, the celebration van, balloons, & $5K each week for the rest of my life! IT”S MY TURN TO WIN!!)

So, for now, the days are numbered. I watch the countdown to The Villages, & I am amazed at how quickly time goes by.  My son, Todd, & I will leave IL early, Friday, June 7. We will take a couple of days driving, as we are both NOT power drivers. I am packed & ready to begin a new life in The Villages.

I have learned  that we just never know what will come at us, & it is never too late to change the end of our story, & live happily ever after.



The Story of Us-Her Story, Part 4

April 16, 2013 by Maureen Kenney

I had no trouble finding Jim at the Orlando airport, & it is a really big airport! We visited the B52 Park, & have vowed to return there often. ┬áThen we were off to The Villages! We picked up mom, & went to lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. Jim had a big surprise for me…we went to The Waterfront Inn at Sumpter Landing for the night! I still refer to this night as our honeymoon night. We went to Red Sauce for dinner, my favorite Italian restaurant! We walked the Square, the Lake, listened to music…& woke to a beautiful breeze coming in off the balcony.┬á

Now, I could give you a daily journal of each & every day, but I will condense. Places we went, people we saw, restaurants, films, celebrations…

Sunsets! Bus tour of The Villages. Farmer’s Market. Craft Fair. Boat ride on Lake Sumpter. Car show. Wine tasting. Flea market. Rotary Club. Operation Shoebox, where I found my way to give back to our soldiers. Sleep Number bed test, that was fun! Garvino’s wine & music bar. (You will find us there once a week!) Gun range, & yes, I am very good! ┬áVideo Vault, where I met Mike & Lisa. Lake Sumpter (alligator! & large turtles) Apple Computer Club, where Jim is president, & I now know WHY he is The MacMan! Nightly live music at the Squares, Spanish Springs & Sumpter Landing. (Wine & one slow dance. I can live with that) Church on the Square. Pools! O, & those who know me, I mean REALLY know me, know that I cannot swim. (Not for lack of trying, but you see, I almost drowned when I was 10 years old. I was dangling my legs in the deep end, acting very cool, & a bigger girl named Dorcus, yes Dorcus, pushed me in! I surfaced at least 6 times before I was saved & scarred for life!) When Jim mentioned, don’t forget your swimsuit! Well, I froze. Swimsuit?(My idea of a fun girls’ night out is having 2 glasses of wine & trying on swimsuits! Bikinis & thongs are the best!) I have not worn a swimsuit in 10 years! I suffered over that. I must have tried 12 swimsuits, actually purchased & returned…until I finally said to myself, Get over yourself! That is so “freeing,” to look at yourself & say this is me, & I am ok with that! We went to the pool many times, & I even went alone, well, me & my noodle ­čśë Golf cart rides, & the golf cart bridge, or, as I call it, the golf cart roller coaster! (By the way, do not ever attempt to cross that bridge on foot. Take your chances crossing the highway ­čśë I went on major walks (3-5 miles) at least three times a week! Netflix! Jim & I became addicted to The Mentalist. (I will not rest til Red John is caught!) The Mark Twain Library. I also went to many of Jim’s appointments, & saw what his day to day is like. Everyone just loves him, & so appreciates his help!

We celebrated Jim & Mom’s birthdays. We also celebrated his Aunt Laura’s birthday. We saw Uncle Roy, Cousins Rodd & Sara, Cindy, & Mike & Emily & Chris. Neighbors Anita & Tony for a night of pizza & cards!. Line dancing with my new best friend, Jan. (I am so quick to learn, & so quick to forget the steps;) We celebrated David’s birthday party, given by his wife, Suzanne, at the Nancy Lopez County Club. (David & Suzanne play a BIG part in our lives, as you will see!)

My 5 year old granddaughter, Addison, asked me to bring her little pony, Fluttershy, to The Villages, & take her everywhere! And I did! I held her in my purse, & photographed her at all the hot spots;) She had a great time! And Addie got such a kick out of the photos! She & her mama, my daughter, Kimmy, made me the cutest scrapbook of all my photos!

Jim & I saw films. I just love the movies! We saw Hysteria! Magic Mike, The Amazing Spiderman, & Snow White & the Huntsman. ( I am sure Jim will want to choose some of our films in the future! He is such a nice sport!)

Some of our memorable restaurants were Crispers (MY all-time favorite!), Red Sauce (the aglio olio was so perfect!), the oyster bar (just for the wow experience), Gator Joe’s (I had a salad & a glass of wine & enjoyed the “view!” Remember, I am vegetarian ;0 ), B.D. Beans(the coolest bistro ever!) & the Country Clubs (Arnold Palmer & Nancy Lopez, because I have NEVER in my life been to a country club!)

The end of my days came too soon. Jim & I had some heart-to-heart talks, & we talked about our future together. The day before I left, we stopped at the nursery. No, not to adopt a child & seal our love, but the tree nursery. Jim bought a tangerine tree, & we planted it. He said, “this is to remind you to come back”. ┬áLittle did we know how soon that would happen…

To be continued…




The Story of Us… her story, part 3

April 4, 2013 by Maureen Kenney

Now, we have decided to get married! Maybe I just did not believe it, maybe I was afraid to get too excited (and scare Jim!). So, I kinda “skirted” the subject. One night, I was looking at Facebook, and saw that Jim changed his relationship status to “engaged!”

Wow! Well, that sure brought the comments in! And I love him for doing that. Jim also says that in an email dated January 1, 2011, at 2:08am, I asked him, “will you marry me someday?” I do remember that.

My son and I took a trip to visit my sister, Jody, and her husband, Biff, in Harrisburg, IL. Suddenly, Todd says, “OK! Let’s set the wedding date right now. It can always change, but I need something to put on my calendar!”

Summer or Fall, 2013 has been my exit year for a long time. It would be time to leave my post as a stay-at-home-nana. I have been caring for Samuel (Sam, 11) and Addison (Addie, 5) since they were born. I wanted to see them both off to school, and in August, Addie will start kindergarten! So, I randomly picked September 28, 2013.

I checked with Jim, and he said ok, so that was the date. I started telling family and friends very slowly. At first, I got the super silly reactions. Are you crazy? Are you dying? Are you pregnant? Then came the I am so happy for you two! My family was so excited! My son, Todd, my daughter, Kimmy. My sister, Jody, and her husband, Biff, (And yes, his real given name is Biff), my niece, Kyleen and her husband, Marcus, my brother Michael, my cousin Karen. As you can see, I have a very small family.

Oh, and my mom is so tickled to see this happening from her front row seat in Heaven. She really loved Jim.

And…my friends! Shari, Beth, Patricia and Don, Judie. Eileen, Pat, and Tina. Sue, Pam, Tricia, Barb, Jeanne, Donna and Kevin, Rita Mae. Bob and Linda, Frank, Kathy, Tom, Irma and Mark, Janet and Gene… and all my Facebook friends.

And Jim’s friends from so many years ago. Tim and Rayette, Teresa, Jan and Marty, David, Dan and Terry. And Jim’s family and Florida friends… well, maybe we can encourage him to tell HIS story?

Now, let’s fast forward to Summer, 2012. Jim sent me plane tickets for a visit to The Villages, for the WHOLE MONTH OF JULY!

…to be continued


The Story of Us…her story, part 2

March 26, 2013 by Maureen Kenney

As I looked at that email…& I must have read it 20 times, my heart was beating so hard, I could SEE it! Ok, Ok, this is ok, make it early evening, no alcohol, & do not get your hopes up. That’s what I told myself. So we met at one of our old favorites, Gong Ho.

Since am not a “girlie girl,” clothes, hair, make-up, did not even cross my mind. I was going to see Jim, after 5+ years!

Chinese food, tea, that’s safe, right? I confess I got there 1/2 hour early, so I could already be seated when he walked in. And I waited, with tea. And suddenly, there he was, at the door, searching the room. Oh boy! I was in such trouble. I wanted to run to him, but I played safe. We hugged, sat down, & started talking right away. I knew if he mentioned his girlfriend, how happy he was, well, I would have to get up & leave. Run to my car & drive to the farthest corner of the parking lot & have a good cry.

But, what happened was so amazing! He & his girlfriend were having troubles, were planning to separate, & he still had feelings for ME! Even though he was still in Florida, we would stay in touch. As we walked to our cars, Jim reached into his truck & pulled out a scrapbook that I had made of our trip to Miami/Bahamas. I took it, said I would take care of it. We kissed, & it was all I could do to not jump into that truck & go home with him!

So, on February 15, 2009, Jim & I re-connected. In the following 2 years, we emailed & talked on the phone a lot. He sent me a laptop with Skype, & we were able to “see” each other! Then, on April 27, 2011, on Skype,

Jim asked if I would like to come to Florida, to be with him. I stumbled over that, I mean, making a move like that, it was a big decision for me. Then Jim said, “I thought we could get married.” I was speechless. I said, “I didn’t know that was an option.” He said, “Didn’t Carrie say that to Big on Sex & the City?” I asked, “You watch Sex & the City?” (I do have a story about that show, if anyone is interested ­čśë I was still speechless, & Jim asked if he needed to get down on his knee? Do I want a ring? No, no. And…YES! I said yes to getting married!


I just know you are all dying to know the SATC story, so here it is: I was watching the show one evening when Jim came home. I flipped the station very quickly on the remote, & Jim, who misses nothing, said, “it’s ok. Watch what you were watching.” I stammered a bit, I was really quite embarrassed to be caught watching a show about sex, specifically about women talking about sex. So, He sat down, bone weary, & said, “really, take it back to what you were watching.” I did, & he sat up, his face melted into a half smile. I watched him carefully, & said “this is what we think about, what we talk about.” All he said was “Ohhhhh…”

To be continued…

The Story of Us… her story

March 26, 2013 by Maureen Kenney

Jim and I met face to face for the first time on December 17, 1995.

I had come off a bad relationship and was not looking to meet anyone. (Haven’t we all, more times than we would like to admit?)

My friend, Pat, turned around and asked me if I would like to go out with a friend of her boyfriend’s. She asked, “You remember Jimmy from the race team?” I said “Sure, ok.”

(I kind of remembered him, but not getting a real visual. It had been such a long time since I had been on a date…)

Jim called back almost immediately and asked me to go see Mannheim Steamroller. I had no idea who they were, but I loved music. I guess I heard Manhattan Transfer and that was ok. My daughter, Kimmy, 17 at the time, was very excited for me. She and I watched from our 3rd floor apartment window as Jim pulled up. He looked so nice and he had flowers! We were on our way! On the drive, we were both kind of quiet, small talk, but I kept stealing sideways glances at him. He was very cute.

We sat in the first row, justified left, near the speakers. It was hard to talk, impossible to listen… but just as Steamroller hit a long chord, I smiled so big, turned to Jim, he turned to me… and we kissed. It just happened and it was the best first kiss ever!

Now, girls, and guys, too, I guess, you all know that “afternoon dates” are kind of tests, in a way. No commitment to stay out, easy to say bye bye, that was fun…whew! It’s over!

Not for Us. We went to an early dinner and stayed out ’til after midnight. We talked, we laughed, we gave up all our information in one night. I loved his eyes, his mouth… shoot, I was in love and I was not ready for this. And I know he loved me, too.

We were so alike and so different. And we still are today. When I ask people to describe me, this is what I get: chatty (my nickname has been Motor since I was young), happy, fun, loving, vegetarian (officially since November 25, 1974, unofficially since I was about 9, according to my dad.), hardworking, people pleaser, helicopter parent (and now grandparent, too), loves to walk and dance, worrier, caregiver, short attention span. I am the original I Won’t Grow Up!

When I ask people to describe Jim: Serious, hardworking, quiet, kind, caregiver. Through our years together, Jim and I have cared for our parents. My dad had already passed in 1977. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 1994. She had a 10 year fight ahead of her. During this time, my daughter, Kimmy, had a baby, Sam! Sam was born right after 9/11, and he was a special angel. (He still is!) As Jim was caring for his parents, I decided to change my work schedule so I could care for Sam and my mom. I brought Sam to my mom’s everyday, and I know because of him, she wanted “one more day.”

So, Jim and I had a lot happening. He was working from home, and quite honestly, we were both pretty exhausted. We wanted some more time together and it was just not happening. We kind of crashed and burned In November, 2003. I moved to a small condo nearby. I was secretly hoping we could still see each other, but that was not to be.

I called and left Jim a message that my mom passed in July 2004. She had always loved him, and had continued to send him Birthday and Christmas cards. I wanted to let him know that the cards would stop.

One evening, Jim called me to say he was moving to Florida. He was taking his mom to be near family. (He was also taking his new girlfriend, who I knew about, because I was still in touch with a friend from his building.) He said…he and I never had a lot in common. That is when I lost hope.

Years went by. Seriously, I had one boyfriend since Jim. We dated about 2 months. He was younger than me, very much into clothes and going out. That is so not me. It was so easy to say bye.

Now, here comes the part where I contact Jim. And I had good reason! My son, Todd, is a runner. He ran in so many marathons. When Todd ran in Chicago, Jim would come with me, and he tracked him for me. We ran back and forth, all through the city, just to see him run by! At the finish line, Jim said, “I have him in sight! Stand there, and you can see him cross the finish line!” And I did!

So, in 2008, Todd qualified for the New York Marathon! Qualified! How exciting! I was jumping out of my skin, who can I call? I thought of Jim, I knew he would be excited for Todd, too. So, I did email him. Jim responded, and he was very happy for Todd! A few months later, Jim emailed me. He was to be in Chicago for a meeting, could I meet him for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, wine…anything, anytime?

To be continued…

Recreation Centers

March 10, 2013 by Jim

A link to The Villages Recreation section.

┬áHere’s an interactive page showing many of the recreation centers.

Recreation Centers:

100+ Interesting Facts About The Villages FL

March 10, 2013 by Jim

Some known and not well know things about The Villages. It is interesting reading…

100+ Interesting Facts About The Villages FL ┬ź VillagesHomes4Rent.Com/Blog:

Brownwood Paddock Square Information

March 6, 2013 by Jim

Sunday, July 7, 2013

March 5, 2013 by Jim