After a trip to New York State for a family wedding and our own 50th Anniversary party, I have decided that life in The Villages is a bit like living in a protective bubble.  Nothing brings that perspective to bear more than time spent away in a state that is just emerging from the pandemic lockdown, has political scandals and crime rates through the roof,  and is economically challenged and still in a bit of a daze.  We had a wonderful time, but are glad to be back home.

Some of the differences we noted?  We stayed in five hotels since we drove up and moved around once we got there.  Our breakfasts were minimal; the first hotel handed us a bag with oranges, bottled water, and granola bars for the next morning to eat in our room.  The pool and hot tub were drained.  We went to Wal Mart to pick up a few essentials and they had no plastic bags.  In fact, we ended up carrying our items out without a bag because they had none to offer.  We soon learned to take a bag with us.  The base price for items we regularly get down here was quite a bit higher, and so was the sales tax.

There wasn’t much to do with our grandkids either, but we did take our grandsons bowling.  I kid you not; it cost us almost $100 for the four of us to bowl three games each, rent them shoes, and buy a couple orders of French fries and sodas.  I couldn’t help but compare that to all the entertainment options we have here for them when they visit, including renting a bowling lane for $10 an hour, plus other specials that are offered at both of our bowling alleys.

Every once in a while, I am tempted to find fault with things here.  Aren’t we all?  But honestly, nitpicking is a habit we can fall into gradually, and sometimes the cure is as easy as getting out of our bubble and seeing what others have to deal with.

On a less philosophical note, as we headed home on 466A we came across a car accident with first responders just arriving on the scene (see photo on front page).  No one seemed to be hurt, but we have noticed that we need to be more vigilant and practice defensive driving here more so than “up north”.  Watch out for each other on the roads, use your turn signals, stay focused on driving, take the AARP Safe Driver course, master those roundabouts, and don’t drink and drive.

Jan Palmer
Editor, The VHA Voice