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Retirement Redefined

G On Top Of T he World, Th e Villages, Oa k Run, Ston e Creek, Spru ce Creek, an d all of Ocala’s Retirement Communitie s!

The Man

Behind TheSong (betcha didn’t know he’s from Ocala!)

Holiday Recipes Make your table the focus of the festivities.

Sammy’s Italian

A SR200 icon you might want to visit again.

Finding Manatees The best local spots to see these gentle giants.

INSIDE: Palm Cay Craft Fair | Light Up Lake Weir | Walk For Alzheimers | Habitat For Humanity Bowl-A-Thon NOV/DEC 2019






AND FOR THEM LOW-DOSE COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (LDCT) “A quick LDCT scan can help our Board Certified radiology team identify abnormalities in the lung with exceptional speed, promoting faster treatment and better outcomes.” — John M. Cain, MD & John S. Scales, MD You matter to so many. That’s why if you are or were a heavy smoker, it’s important to ask your doctor if LDCT lung cancer screening is right for you. Just a few painless minutes of your time can help protect your life and the love others cherish.


For guidelines you can share with your doctor, visit It’s worth it. • (352) 671-4300 ACR Accredited Computed Tomography available at Medical Imaging Center and TimberRidge Imaging Center

We are proudly contracted with a variety of insurances and file all claims with the exception of non-contracted HMOs. Visit our website for a detailed list of contracted insurances. Contracted insurances are subject to change.


You can’t be prepared for a

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permanent disability.

health of our community.

Ocala Regional Medical Center is a certified

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comprehensive stroke center equipped with advanced minimally invasive neurointervention technology. This gives our physicians the power to halt and reverse an acute stroke in a timely fashion.

Ocala Regional Medical Center 1431 SW 1st Avenue, Ocala 34471 800.530.1188 |

Well within reach.

Merry TNEStoSall. .


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Trust the ER Experts Life is unpredictable. When an emergency happens, you can count on Marion County’s most trusted for Emergency Care. AdventHealth Ocala offers two convenient locations, including our newly renovated and expanded ER at our main Ocala campus that is NOW OPEN. Featuring 42 private treatment rooms, our new ER allows our specialists to better serve you, providing you and your family with fast, compassionate and expert-level emergency medical care that you know and trust. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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NOV/DEC 2019




Good Team


All In


The Editor’s Desk













Out & About


Light Up Lake Weir

Out & About



on the cover

The Alzheimer’s walk. By Steve Floethe

Just My Type

Time to begin again. By Mary Ellen Barchi

My Florida

A lesson in light. By Melody Murphy Bowling for a good cause. By Steve Floethe Manatee mania! By Visit Florida


It’s time again for those holiday favorites! By Family Features


Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Veterinarian Dr. Elmo Shropshire, who grew up in Ocala during its halcyon equestrian days, became part of a Christmas novelty song that has become one of the most-played every season. This is the truelife story of the holiday classic.

Good Eats

Checking out Sammy’s. By Rick Allen

Cuisine Queen

All the latest restaurant news. By Paula DiPaula

Dining Guide

Highlights of some of the area’s best restaurants.

Plan Ahead

Lots of reasons to get out of your easy chair. What are you waiting for?

Puzzle Page

Each December, Lake Weir Yacht Club hosts a merry boat parade that includes a water skiing Santa and a dazzling array of lights. Last year we sent Marci Sandler out to capture the evening through her camera lens, and the results didn’t disappoint.


GOOD LIFE Retirement Red


The Man

Behind Song


(betcha didn’t know he’s from Ocala!)

Holiday Recipes Make your table the focus of the festivities.

Spend a few minutes with the crossword or Sudoku.


IN G On Top Of The World Villages , The , Oa Creek, Sp k Run, Stone ru all of Oc ce Creek, and ala’s Re tir Commun ement ities!


A-Thon NOV /DEC 2019

Quick looks at our community. By Dean Blinkhorn

| Habitat For Huma nity Bowl-


Good Start

| Walk For Alzheimers

More than a novelty song. By Dean Blinkhorn

Oak Run couple Damian and Audrey Romano have left their fingerprints on just about every organization and event in their community.

| Light Up Lake Weir


Sammy’s Italian

A SR200 icon you migh want to visit again t .

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

Finding Manatees The best local spots see these gentle giantto s.


INSIDE: Palm Cay Craft Fair

The talented staff behind Ocala’s Good Life.




Confused about Medicare?



MAGAZINE NOV/DEC 2019 Publisher/Art Director Trevor Byrne

Let me explain the latest changes to Medicare and show you what it does and doesn’t cover.

Publisher/Editor Dean Blinkhorn

Project Manager Cynthia Brown


Rick Allen, Mary Ellen Barchi, James Blevins, Amanda Clark-Rudolph, Paula DiPaula, Melody Murphy

Photographers Steve Floethe John Jernigan Marci Sandler

Graphic Designers Mitch Carnes Wayne Smith

Proofreaders Karen Bradley Sally Tinkham

Advertising Sales & Marketing

Carol DeWitt

Gail Patel

Unit Sales Manager Insurance Agent

Kaye Schultz


Jammie Crawford • Heidi Justice

Florida License Number W094702


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


Published bi-monthly by Good Life Publishing Inc. • (877) 622-5210 TAGLINE & ARROW



Philadelphia, PA





©2019 Good Life Publishing Inc. AllFORWARD rights reserved. No part may be reMOVING printed in whole or in part without MOVINGwritten FORWARDpermission from the publisher. Unsolicited material will not be returned. Publisher is not responsible for MOVING FORWARD advertisers’ claims or content of advertisements. FONTS

Underwitten by Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company

(352) 427-4006

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Direct: 352-775-7093 Office: 352-205-7032 Cell: 352-216-1680

This is a Medicare Supplement Insurance solicitation. An Insurance agent/producer may contact you. Medicare supplement insurance policies are underwritten by Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company. Colonial Penn, Bankers Life and their licensed agents are not connected with or endorsed by the US Government or the federal Medicare program. This policy has exclusions and limitations. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your insurance agent. Policy forms CPL-GR-A80 Plans A, B, F, FH, G, K, L, M, N. Bankers Life is the marketing brand of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Medicare Supplement insurance policies sold by Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company and select policies sold in New York by Bankers Conseco Life Insurance Company (BLIC). BLIC is authorized to sell insurance in New York.

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(302) 377-9142














Call now for a FREE custom quote:


a good team

staff & contributors 4






7 3 14





10 11

When Paula DiPaula is not visiting new 1 restaurants in the area, she’s working off those calories with kayaking, boating, camping and exploring trails in her Jeep. Born in 1958, she fits right in with Ocala’s Good Life magazine’s demographics, showing our readers that she’s more of a sen-ager than a senior. She’s also the proud mom of an adventurous and beautiful daughter, a high school teacher. Paula believes that keeping active, positive and having an open mind leads to longevity.


and photography at his website,

Carol DeWitt is living happily ever 6 after in On Top of the World with her husband Bruce, having relocated from Wilmington, Delaware. They have many community interests and are always out and about trying every new restaurant and learning all about Florida. Carol brings her long career experiences in many areas of marketing and media to Ocala’s Good Life.

Dean Blinkhorn is a past Florida MagaKaye Schultz has been working in the 2 zine Association Editor of the Year who 7 publishing business for over 23 years. loves publishing. When he’s not working on She recently bought a new home that she is Ocala’s Good Life or the CEP annual directory, he’s probably catching up with his favorite subscriptions. Rolling Stone, Bicycling, Classic Rock, and Reader’s Digest are on his monthly must-read list because of the great storytelling. When the weather’s nice, he may even go outside for a long bike ride.

Steve Floethe has been Ocala’s Good 3 Life’s photographer/writer since it was first launched in 2010. In addition he is a

freelance videographer, covering breaking news and feature stories in Marion County for Orlando’s TV stations. Before semi-retiring to Ocala, Steve had a long and varied career in broadcast and print journalism — from newspaper, radio, and cable news to TV as a reporter/photographer, news producer, nightly news anchor and TV news director.

looking forward to remodeling and moving into later this year. Five of her six cats will not be joining her on this move, but they are now happily patrolling for mice at Grand View Clydesdale horse farm.

Trevor Byrne was recently a victim of 8 husband shaming when his wife, Dawn, thought she would embarrass him by sharing

his recent purchase to all her friends on Facebook. Little did she know that the “tactical spork” would receive such a postive reaction, with several mutual friends confessing that they, too, own a tactical spork (or two). Ha!

Native Floridian Melody Murphy has a 9 Bachelor’s in journalism from UF and is the marketing assistant at Ocala Civic The-

atre, where she also performs. She owns 13 kinds of hot sauce.

James Blevins is a recipient of the Louis 4 Chazal Journalism Award from the ColAs a child John Jernigan would often lege of Central Florida. When he isn’t writing 10 be found drawing and coloring with freelance feature stories, James is writing leftover prisma color pencils and supplies poetry. For James, writing is life—a good life, you might say—and he’s happy to do it for as long as there’s hot coffee to drink.


Wayne Smith is a designer and illustrator from Ocala. He spent some time urban sketching with ink and watercolor this past summer in Tokyo and near Mount Fuji. You can catch up on his travels, illustration


from his father’s photography studio and art supply store. It was only a natural progression to photography. Today, John stays busy shooting for various magazines and commercial clients all over the country.

Mary Ellen Barchi is a native New 11 Yorker residing in Ocala since 1990. As a columnist, she writes from personal experi-

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

ences and the good life around Ocala, peppered with her quirky sense of humor. But life happens, and Mary Ellen has entered a new chapter as she looks forward to happier adventures in the future.

Sally Tinkham and her husband, Alan, 12 have lived in Dunnellon more than 35 years after living in Connecticut and Rhode

Island. She loves her 5 cat-kids and hiking with her grandchildren on the local trails. She is researching the history and families of Gaiter, an early southwest Marion County community, for a potential book. She’s also an avid fan of Cote, the Elvis tribute artist, as seen in this photo!

Marci Sandler has been a professional 13 photographer in Ocala for decades, specializing in portraits with an artistic touch.

She also offers training courses for folks wanting to learn how to up their photography game from a real pro!

Cynthia Brown has 20 years of local 14 publishing experience and is a self-described “organizational nerd” and “spreadsheet queen.” She and her husband, Larry, have two crazy boys, a 100-pound Bulldog, and a cricket-eating Bearded Dragon. The whole family loves spending time in the water.

Rick Allen spent the final 16 years 15 of a 45-year journalism career as an award-winning feature writer while also covering the Marion County culinary landscape as dining editor for the Ocala Star-Banner. Currently he’s just mostly retired.

Amanda Clark-Rudolph ventured 16 from Vermont to Ocala with her husband to start a family and teach English. Af-

ter having her second son, Amanda left the classroom to work at home and pursue freelance writing for local and worldwide publications. She’s excited to bring her passion for interviewing and sharing other people’s stories to Ocala’s Good Life.


MONDAYS, THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS 3:45 TO 5:30 P.M. Bring $1.50 in quarters, nickels and dimes to play. Popcorn provided.

your ne s e o o D rtph sma you have rated? t frus

CONTRACT BRIDGE TUESDAYS 12:45 TO 4 P.M. This is a free event with complimentary coffee, cards, and score sheets.


WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS 9 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M. Enjoy a game of strategy in teams of two, three, or four. This event is free with complimentary coffee.

Ages Ages50+ 50+ Learn to navigate your phone, the internet and social media.

Call (352) 629-8545 for more information.

Smartphone 101 Every Thursday, 10 to 11 a.m. Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center 830 NE Eighth Ave. This is a FREE program sponsored by

Let us help !

KARAOKE & OPEN MIC FRIDAYS 2 TO 3 P.M. Come ready to sing, dance or spectate! Instruments welcome.

Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center 830 NE 8th Ave, Ocala

For more information call 352-368-5517

the editor’s desk More Than A Novelty Song by dean blinkhorn []


or nearly ten years in the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, my high school and college job was working at Camelot Music in the Paddock Mall. Back when people still purchased physical music (I guess with the resurgence of vinyl, they still do a little bit), you’d see all the regulars come in to purchase the new titles that would take a spot in their record or CD collection—or, if it was a cassette, maybe slotted into a CaseLogic carrier in the backseat of their car. It really was a golden time for collecting music. Much like video stores, there was a strong social connection to the whole experience. Customers learned my likes—which ran the gamut from prog rock and metal to Top 40 hits and classic jazz—and I quickly learned theirs. For 10 months out of the year, that was the norm. Stock the new releases that came out on Tuesday and watch as the people you knew came in by the end of the week. I did all the big window displays and ordered all the singles, so I always knew what was coming. It was great fun, the perfect, not-so-heavy job to contrast with a pretty heavy school schedule of readings and papers. For two months out of the year, from just before Halloween through Christmas, this group of regulars would expand exponentially. I’d see everyone from Ocala then and many of them, not exactly musical connoisseurs, would come in looking for the big hits for presents and some new Christmas music for their parties and decorating. Bing, Mannheim, Nat, Frank, and Mariah were all big sellers, but so was this one novelty recording by an odd-sounding duo: “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy. It would sell in droves, especially when we kept a watchful eye on the store’s makeup. If it included lots of kids or gray-haired customers—even better, both together—and we could tolerate listening to it just one more time, then the cash register would ring steadily with impulse purchases. Some of those customers would tell us stories of the singer, someone they went to school with or, for the younger customers, someone they heard had ties to Ocala. In those pre-Internet days, we couldn’t just look it up on our iPhones, and the massive Phonolog perched on the podium like Moses’ tomes from the mountainside would also be of no help unless we needed to know

If we could tolerate listening to it just one more time, the cash register would ring.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

the catalog number to order it. But there was no need for that. We literally had nearly a hundred copies of “Grandma” at any given time on 45, cassingle, LP, CD, or full-length cassette. Just take your pick and you’d soon be transported to a whimsical place where novelty and familiarity sat side by side. Fast forward 30 years and I again heard stories about the song’s connection to Ocala. This time, however, someone offered a way to get in touch with the now-retired singer, so our own James Blevins got Dr. Elmo Shropshire on the phone earlier in the year just after the holiday season. He tells a great story of perseverance for this little novelty song that could be a hit if only given the chance. Of course, he was right, so now the next time you hear “Grandma” on the radio or in the stores this holiday season, you’ll know, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story—and it’s a really cool one. Merry Christmas! All the best,

Everyone who knows me well is aware that I love music of all kinds, so...

What’s Dean Playing? Rick Wakeman, “Christmas Portraits”—Like his two previous “portraits” sets, this all-instrumental set is elegant and restrained, quite a different musical side from his prog rock detours with Yes. Chicago, “Chicago Christmas”—The group’s fourth holiday collection and 37th overall features eight originals and two Christmas classics, all done with the identifiable horn-infused style they’ve honed for more than five decades. Chet Atkins, “The Complete RCA Victor & Columbia Christmas Recordings”— The guitar virtuoso recorded three Christmas albums over a lengthy career and this set of nearly 50 yuletide cuts collects them all, along with a bunch of one-off singles and compilation contributions. Atkins’ effortless style is timeless, never more so on these familiar holiday standards.

1 OUT OF EVERY 4 ADULTS doesn’t know they have diabetes

Diabetes is a disease where your blood sugar levels are above normal. You may be at risk for diabetes if you have symptoms such as: » EXTREME thirstiness » INCREASED appetite » EXCESSIVE dry skin » SLOW healing wounds

» » »

EXCESSIVE urination BLURRY vision TINGLING pain or numbness in hands and feet.

It’s important for people with diabetes to make healthy lifestyle changes to avoid serious diabetes-related health complications. If you think you may have diabetes, please follow up with your health care provider for more information.

Take action today!

The most common form of the disease (type 2) doesn’t have to be permanent–it can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes. The Florida Department of Health in Marion County offers FREE diabetes self-management classes for individuals with diabetes and prediabetes. Join a class today to learn how to manage, prevent, or control diabetes!


Demi Danso at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2618 for more information.

good start

Written & Compiled By Dean Blinkhorn

Cook’s Book Is Back!


or decades, David Cook brought Marion County’s rich—and often entertaining— history to the present in his immensely popular Ocala Star-Banner column “The Way It Was.” The original 700-copy hardcover printing of this marvelous local history was sold out before many people had a chance to purchase it, so the Historic Ocala Preservation Society has authorized a 300-copy hard cover reprint, which is now available. “The Way It Was” is a treasured collection featuring more than 50 columns and many photographs exploring 175 years of Cook’s beloved hometown. The cost of the reprint has been underwritten again by HOPS and the cover is by noted Ocala artist Margaret Watts. The foreword was written by current Star-Banner managing editor Jim Ross. Purchase price is $25. An Ocala native, Cook started at the Ocala Star-Banner in 1953. He left to become the associate editor for the Tallahassee Democrat in 1967. He returned to the Star-Banner in 1979 as editor and later became the editorial page editor. He retired in 1997 but continued to write “The Way It Was” columns until 2014. His work and local knowledge continue to be invaluable reference points for news and personal research.


WANT TO BUY A COPY? “The Way It Was” is available for a limited time in the following stores: • Your Hearts Desire, 1915 E. Silver Springs Boulevard • Shannon Roth Collections, 22 South Magnolia • HOPS, 712 SE Fort King Street

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



That’s how many years the Philanthropic Educational Organization is celebrating this year. The international body, with a local voice in Ocala, has more than 105,000 women members and has given $321 million in educational financial assistance to high school graduates on their way to college. The local group also has helped young people realize their dream of going on to higher education. To learn more about becoming a part of this invitation-only group, please visit the website below.



The Big 5-0! The Lake Weir High School graduating class of 1969 (pictured here) is celebrating its 50th year reunion on November 1 and 2. Longtime LWHS band director John Leschak is at the far right of the second row. Lake Weir Middle School is currently where the high school used to be; the high school’s current site is in Candler past Lockheed Martin.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


good start This New Tech Is ‘Spot’On


cala Health recently announced the successful implementation of an automated, real-time system to more quickly identify patients with sepsis, allowing caregivers to intervene quickly to save lives. This technology so far has been used with 2.5 million patients and, in conjunction with the use of evidence-based clinical interventions, has helped save an estimated 8,000 lives in the last five years. Sepsis is an overwhelming infection that can lead to total body failure, and approximately 270,000 Americans die from it each year, making it more deadly than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined, according to Sepsis Alliance. “Sepsis is a medical emergency that must be treated just as aggressively as a heart attack or a stroke,” says Sabrina Braun with Ocala Regional Medical Center. “It is an overwhelming response to infection that turns the body’s immune system against itself.” SPOT, which uses the popular dog name because it sniffs out sepsis in a way humans cannot, is an algorithm and alert system for the early detection of sepsis. “The SPOT technology is like an additional set of eyes,” says Sepsis Coordinator Jennifer Counts at Ocala Regional Medical Center. “It speeds up the whole process and provides excellent patient outcomes.”


PET OF THE MONTH: Who: This petite Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix, almost 3 years old, is going to the groomer soon and isn’t expected to stick around the SPCA for very long. What: SPCA started as a club at On Top of the World in 1999 and transformed over the years into a service organization. Many of its members live in OTOW and the surrounding communities. They receive pets often when the owner goes into assisted living, hospice, or gets too sick to care for them. They stay in “foster care” until someone adopts them. More Info: spcaofmarioncounty. or 671-6797


Not-So-Classic Cinema

One of the worst films of all time debuted this month. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians tells the timeless tale of Martians who come to Earth to kidnap Saint Nick because their children have been watching too many yuletide TV shows beaming to their planet. Skip the Home Alone marathon on TBS this year and put this lump of coal in your Netflix queue instead. Who knows? It might make us feel better about Jingle All The Way. INSIDER’S TIP: If the stock Air Force footage looks familiar, it’s because the opening credits of Dr. Strangelove uses the same B-roll.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

• • • • • • • • • • • • •


• • • • • • • • • • • • •

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Specializing in the Treatment of: Skin Surgery | Mole & Blemish Removal General Dermatology | Skin Diseases & Skin Cancers ALWAYS ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Call today! 352-732-3501


Michael J. Freeman, M.D., P.A. Local Practice | Local Doctor | Over 40 Years

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Main Ocala Office: 2750 S.E. 17th St. Ocala, FL 34471

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Let us review your will. Final directive packages available. Please call for appointments.

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


good start BOOK NOOK:

How Far Would You Go to Save the World?

Do You Know What Happened?

On Friday, September 13, you might have had to stop while maintenance crews repaired the traffic light in front of Oak Run. Word has it that about 5:30am a huge dump truck forgot to put the bed down and snagged the line, snapping it. But that’s just rumor. Do you know what happened? If so, we’d like to know! Send an email to info@ and we’ll publish your answer in the next issue. Thanks!



ocal author Marian Rizzo is pleased to unveil “Muldovah,” her new romantic thriller, which was released by WordCrafts Press and is the latest novel from the Pulitzer Prize nominee. “Though it’s a work of fiction, I wrote this novel of suspense to address the real-life threat of nuclear war in the world today,” Marian says. “The underlying theme gives a glimpse at the limits some people might go to in order to preserve humanity.” While the terrifying effects of a nuclear detonation are mind-numbing, the additional trauma from radiation exposure makes the threat of such an attack beyond horrific. But what if a vaccine could be developed for radiation poisoning? Such a breakthrough could rival the discovery of penicillin as a lifesaving treatment in the event of a nuclear war. That’s the premise behind “Muldovah,” which explores a secret, quasi-government sanctioned program to create such a vaccine at all costs, including using human test subjects. Even those who didn’t volunteer for the job. “In the nuclear world that we live in, [this] book gives a factual account of the deadly, incomprehensible power of nuclear weapons,” offers Nick Rolston, a Stanford University research assistant and fellow author,” and gives us all a reminder of why we should never resort to them.” “[This is] a superbly written book,” adds Karl Grossman, a professor and author of “Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power,” “and a chilling exploration of the deadly dangers of radioactivity.” Marian worked as a journalist for 28 years with the Ocala Star-Banner and has won numerous awards in journalism. Her previous novels include “Angela’s Treasures” and “In Search of the Beloved,” both from WordCrafts Press. Marian lives in Ocala and enjoys five-days-a-week workouts, lots of reading, and lots of time spent with her grandchildren.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

omeThe H w Ne From

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We invite you to tour our new model homes. We can custom build to your specifications! Buy new or pre-owned—explore which option works best for you.

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ATLANTIC American Impressionism

Through the French Lens November 2–January 5, 2020

Exhibition Talk Saturday, November 2, 11 a.m.

Exhibition Sponsors

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



5 Tracy Emmons, Cody & Ernest Anderson and Cinnamon 5 Cheryl Tomlinson, Sandee Spencer, Fran Hall

Walk To End Alzheimer’s Nine hundred participants turned out in September for the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Ocala’s Tuscawilla Park. Organizers for the Central and North Florida Alzheimer’s Association say the event raised $36,000. So far, with monies from event sponsorships, along with other community support, the Association has raised a total of $139,150, just $8,850 short of their goal of $148,000.

5 Nancy Garrison, Becky Love

5 Linda Bobbitt, Phil Montague

Contributors who would like to donate can visit Photos By Steve Floethe


5 Fern Boyer, Joe Welling

3Sharon Baker, Terri Anderson, Kamden Nelson, Roger James with Rousey

5 Dr. Satyendra Raghaw, Linda Tarwacki, Jackie Alexander, Sonia Torres, R.N., Lisa Davis, L.P.M., Julie Roca


Expert Advice: Medicare

By Kristi Foret

Tips: Get the Most From Your Medicare


icking health plan coverage is important, but navigating your options is not easy. Plan choices vary by county; chronic medical conditions and your financial status affect your options; and spouses can enroll in different health plans. Medicare benefit plans change January 1. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your Medicare health plan: • Get free transportation to the grocery store. If your health plan offers transportation services, the benefit typically only covers trips to and from the doctor or pharmacy. By transferring your prescriptions to a grocery store you can use your transportation benefits to pick up some necessities. • Never pay for bandages again. Over-the-counter (OTC) products are covered by many health plans. Each month you are given an allowance to order products such as bandages, cough syrups, and blood pressure monitors at no cost to you. It’s a “use it or lose it” benefit so don’t forget to order monthly! • Get a monthly rebate. Enrollment in a health plan requires you to have both Part A and pay your monthly Part B premium ($135.50 in 2020). How does a $60 to $130 a month rebate sound? We can help you find options that will reduce your monthly payments. • Exercise for free. Fitness centers usually host classes specifically designed for seniors. Health plans may offer access to fitness centers and classes to encourage its members to be active and social. If you haven’t been to Zumba or yoga class, grab your sneakers and try it. All skill levels are welcomed and you’ll find yourself feeling better as you meet new friends. • Cut your prescription costs by a third. To encourage the use of mail order services, many health plans offer a three month supply for two month’s copay. Signing up is simple and we can help you with applying for assistance with your prescription drug costs.

• Lower copayments. Specialist copayments are generally higher to encourage patients to first seek medical attention from their primary care provider. To save money on copayments, consider a health plan with lower specialist copayments, go to a medical center offering an in-house specialist, or select an internist with a sub-specialty as your primary care physician. • Veterans have options. Veterans are not limited to healthcare coverage through the VA. Medicare plans can offer additional services such as vision and dental. Medicare benefit • Not all plans are advertised. But we can plans change schedule an appointment January 1. We where I can show you all of the plans, even those not can show you advertised. Enrolling over how this impacts the phone or internet is an option but you will not your coverage. have a personal agent you can call on for help. When I help you, I become your agent and can assist you every year and help you change plans if your needs change. • Give your health plan an annual checkup. It is important to review your benefits each year between October 1 and December 7. Unless there is a special exception, this is the time you can enroll, disenroll or change your plan. If you are turning 65 years old you can enroll three months before your birthday. Let us help you avoid Medicare penalties or obtain Medicaid assistance if you qualify. Now is the perfect time to review your current options. You may decide to save time and gas by skipping all the seminars this year and go with the more personal approach in finding the perfect plan. At your request, I’d be happy to schedule a FREE in-home personalized appointment to review multiple plans, to ensure you’re educated about the many options. Our company motto says it all, “Clients become friends and friends become clients.” I look forward to your call.

Kristi Foret is a licensed health insurance agent with Best Plan Choice. She specializes in Medicare policies and is a member of the equestrian community living in Ocala. Call her to schedule your in-home appointment for a FREE personalized review and see what Medicare benefits may not be in your mailbox.

Call Kristi today!

Kristi Foret, Health Agent

(352) 389-9700

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


just my t y pe

by Mary Ellen Barchi []

Begin Again


t’s that time of year again and we are fast approaching another holiday season. Some of us are looking forward to it. Others—for various reasons—are just hoping to survive it. So what are we going to do with this new year? What modifications are we willing to incorporate into our lives? What will make a difference in the next 365 days rolled out before us, clean and smooth, like an untrodden path after an overnight snowfall? The most common promises made are for personal improvement, such as to exercise more, adopt a healthier diet, lose weight or quit smoking. But what about altering our outlook on life? Or how we treat people? Although made with good intentions, those resolutions could be the most difficult to keep. Some changes just happen beyond our control. And a new opportunity or relationship is seemingly handed to us on the proverbial silver platter. And some—if you are a person of faith—occur by design. Those of you who follow my column may remember I lost my husband three years ago. And I don’t have to tell anyone who has lost a spouse what that feels like, and how your life is transformed

Your life is transformed in the blink of an eye from having a husband or wife to becoming a widow or widower.


in the blink of an eye from having a husband or wife to becoming a widow or widower. Though well-meaning friends, coworkers, and neighbors are sincerely sympathetic as you grieve, eventually everyone gets on with their own lives. Then you’re left to figure out what you can make of your life as a single person. If you’re lucky like me, I had, and still have family in Ocala, South Florida, and a close circle of friends (see May/June 2019, “Girls Night Out”). They helped me over the rough spots to a time when I was finally able to say my late husband’s name without crying. But it was still a while before I could even think of meeting anyone. And when I did, I reluctantly dipped my toe into the online dating pool with disappointing results, and I gave up on dating altogether. So when a friend called and told me about a nice gentleman she wanted me to meet, also widowed, I reluctantly agreed. Long story short, that was 11 months ago, and I became engaged to this wonderful man in June, and we are planning a spring wedding. Believe me, I never expected to feel this way about another man again, but I guess God has other plans for us. We marvel at how perfect we are for each other, how very blessed we are to have met and to be together. And at our ages—let’s just say we both carry Medicare cards—we feel like teenagers in love. What have I learned from this newest chapter in my life? Never say never. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Seize that new opportunity. Do things that make you happy, just for yourself. Change your hairstyle, exercise, make new friends, join a club, attend church services, get a part-time job, or volunteer. And if a friend wants to introduce you to someone, even if you don’t feel like it, go anyway. I know it’s not easy, but what’s the alternative? If you’re looking down at the grass and not up at the roots, it’s never too late to begin again.

Follow Mary Ellen Barchi on her blog,, and on Twitter: @writer_mebarchi

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



All In Oak Run couple Damian and Audrey Romano have left their fingerprints on just about every organization and event in their community. BY JOANN GUIDRY • PHOTO BY STEVE FLOETHE


ome people just know how to live and enjoy life. And the best of them also know how to share their joie de vivre. Say hello to Damian and Audrey Romano. Visit their Oak Run home and Damian is going to give you an immediate welcome hug because, well, as he says, he’s Italian. And that hug is indicative of how the Romanos, who retired to Oak Run in 1999, have embraced their community. In the past 20 years, the Romanos are responsible for a whole slew of firsts in Oak Run, many that continue to this day. Separately or together, they established the first Super Bowl party, the first Red Hats chapter, the first Fourth of July and Christmas golf cart parades, as well


as the first thespian club. The couple also helps locate military veterans for the Oak Run chapter of the Quilt of Valor Foundation to honor. Damian founded the Romeos, a group of men who socialize without their wives. Numbering 17 to 20, including several widows, the Romeos go out monthly for breakfast or lunch, sometimes both. They also venture out on excursions from touring horse farms to attending College of Central Florida softball games. Audrey is a member of the Ambassadors Club, which organizes entertainment, including monthly dances, as well as white elephant sales to raise money for charities. Damian often lends his DJ tal-

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

ents to the dances while serving as master of ceremonies at other events. And most near and dear to the couple’s hearts is Hospice of Marion County’s Legacy House. In addition to Audrey volunteering at the facility, they organize the annual Hoofin’ It For Hospice, a dance and walk to raise money for Legacy House. “We’ve always been very active people. We lived in the Washington, D.C. area for 40 years and it was a busy, nonstop social life,” says Damian, 83. “When we moved to Ocala, it was like going from 100 miles an hour to five miles an hour. That just didn’t suit us at all and we decided to do something about it.” Audrey, 81, agrees, “We just couldn’t

Photo courtesy the Romanos

believe that Oak Run had basically no clubs and no events. We’re not people who just like to sit around and watch the world go by. Life is for living.” TRUE TO THAT PHILOSOPHY, Damian and Audrey jumped into living early on, both leaving home to explore the world at 18. Of course, they didn’t know each other at the time. Damian is originally from northeast Pennsylvania and Audrey hails from upstate New York. Separately they both joined the U. S. Air Force at 18 and both ended up at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, where they met. “What are the odds that two kids like us would meet like we did? We met on Flag Day and got married in 1958,” says Damian. “And 61 years later, Red and I are still each other’s best buddy.” Red? That’s Damian’s nickname for his red-headed wife. In fact, he notes, “I’ve always called her Red instead of Audrey from the first time I met her.” When asked if she has a nickname for Damian, Audrey answers wryly, “PITA. That’s short for pain in the ass. But I still love him.” In 1959, the couple moved back across the country to Washington, D.C. to work and raise their family. Damian went to work for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, managing one of the facility’s computer rooms. Established in 1959 and located in Greenbelt, Maryland, Goddard was NASA’s first space flight center. Audrey, who did some modeling in her 20s, became one of the first women to work for Sears in their appliance department. “We have great memories and mementos from our lives in D.C.,” says Damian, who proudly points out two framed original black-and-white prints from the 1969 moon landing, which occurred while he was at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “It was amazing to be part of that space travel history.” Audrey worked for Sears for 20 years and says, “It was a man’s world then in the appliance department. But that’s where the good commissions were and I was a good salesperson. And I was tough enough to work in a male-dominated environment.”

Damian adds, “Red and I always worked hard, but we’ve always liked to play hard too. I’m a lifelong golfer; we both love to dance and travel. We like taking cruises and going to casinos. We like parties. When we retired from work, it didn’t mean we were going to retire from life.” ONLY MONTHS INTO moving to Oak Run, more specifically the Fairway Oaks The Romanos dress as Santa and Mrs. Claus neighborhood, the first thing for the annual Christmas Parade party. the Romanos saw lacking was a With a nod, Audrey, who did a tanSuper Bowl party. dem sky dive for her 80th birthday, says, “We’re big football fans and “We’ve loved doing all these things, but couldn’t believe there wasn’t a Super there are still other things we want to do. Bowl party in Oak Run,” says Damian. Our family, including three grandsons “So we had to fix that and held our first Super Bowl party in 2000 at the Orchid and a great granddaughter, is spread out Club. We had a great turnout and still do every year.” Soon after came a Kentucky Derby party, then the Fourth of July- and Christmas-decorated golf cart parades, all which became annual events. And, oh, Damian and Audrey dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus for the Christmas party at the Palm Grove Center where the parade ends. With so much involvement in clubs and events, the Romanos decided to recruit some help, albeit a bit slyly. and we want to visit them more. There “We had quickly become friends are more adventures to be had.” with seven other couples and one day But the Romanos will continue to invited them over for a barbeque,” says organize the annual Hoofin’ It For HosDamian, grinning. “We told them to pice, set this year for November 8-9. On bring their calendars. Next thing they knew, we’re signing them up to help with Friday night, there is a dance at the Palm Grove Center followed by a one-mile all these events.” walk on Saturday morning. Audrey smiles and says, “Our group “Hoofin’ It For Hospice has raised is known as The Sweet 16. And people $186,000 for Legacy House over the still say to be careful about becoming past 12 years,” says Damian. “And we’ve friends with the Romanos, it will cost added a golf tournament, probably going you some time and money. But really it’s to call it Hackin’ It For Hospice, on April been wonderful working with such great people. We couldn’t have continued to do 11, 2020, at Candler Hills.” Yes, the Romanos are still all in. it all these years without our friends.” “And now it’s time for us to step back and let others continue on with WANT TO HELP? these events,” Damian adds. “This year The Legacy House at Hospice of Marion County has been about doing the last of each and handing them off. We’ll wrap up with the 873-7400 Christmas parade on December 18.”

“We’re not people who just like to sit around and watch the world go by. Life is for living.” —Audrey Romano

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


Light Up Lake Weir PHOTOS BY MARCI SANDLER Each December, Lake Weir Yacht Club hosts a merry boat parade that includes a water skiing Santa and a dazzling array of lights. Last year we sent Marci Sandler out to capture the evening through her camera lens, and the results didn’t disappoint. This year’s parade is scheduled for December 7th. The parade begins at Carney Island at 5:30pm and ends at Eaton’s Beach around 7:30pm, where there’s an awards party. Learn more at


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


My Florida

By Melody Murphy []

Measured In Light “Time is persistent. But light, its speed, is a constant, one of the few in the universe. Just so you know, I choose to measure you in light.” —Annie Jump Cannon, “Silent Sky” “Because wonder will always get us there... those of us who insist that there is much more beyond ourselves. And I do. And there’s a reason we measure it all in light.” —Henrietta Swan Leavitt, “Silent Sky”


he decade is drawing to a close. It’s strange to think we’ve always meant the Roaring Twenties when we’ve said “the ‘20s”—and soon it will mean the hereand-now, not a bygone era. (If there’s a second Jazz Age coming with Art Deco and bathtub gin, I’m all for it.) It’s also strange to think the decade in which my grandparents were born will soon be a century ago. Time is persistent. I spent some time a hundred years ago this winter playing Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky at Ocala Civic Theatre. Henrietta, along with her friends and colleagues Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming, were real women, Harvard astronomers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The play tells their stories and ends with Henrietta’s untimely death in 1921. I strongly encourage you to research these three fascinating women and all they achieved. I had the incredible good fortune to be cast with my dearest friends. As an actress, it’s wonderful to get to play a strong, intelligent woman with wit and humor and passion. It’s exceptionally rare to find a lovely, well-written play that features four such roles. (The fourth was Henrietta’s sister Margaret, an accomplished musician.) But it’s near-miraculous to share such an experience with some of the people you love most in this world. I won’t lie. Wishing on stars was involved. There may have been hoodoo. The power of a lunar eclipse may or may not have been harnessed. When four

When it is darkest is when we have the greatest need of light.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

women set their minds to something, they will more likely than not achieve it. And when you want to play stargazers as much as we did, you turn your eyes and efforts heavenward. Now is the darkest time of year. It is also when we sing carols about heavenly peace and stars of wonder, when we bring a tall tree into our home and set a star or an angel at the top. This is not coincidental. Now is the time to look up, to look heavenward. When it is darkest is when we have the greatest need of light. Light is a constant, one of the few in the universe. My dear friend Laura, the real-life Annie, and I were stargazers long before Silent Sky. We often go out on nightly adventures to seek full moons and meteor showers. In fact, we were looking up at the harvest moon, on top of a hill in an orange grove, when she suggested I write about stars. It seemed a brilliant way to end the year. I choose to measure you in light. The trick to stargazing is to find a really dark place out in the country. A pasture fence may require climbing. It hurts no one, and cows don’t tell. The Geminids meteor shower is December 13 and 14. Go out and look for a shooting star. Make a wish. And you don’t have to know all the constellations—you can just think they’re pretty. I do. And I don’t think Henrietta would be offended by that. (Annie might.) I think all three star-sisters would agree. It will do you good to go outside, sit quietly, and look up at the light in the darkness. If only to wonder at the vast beauty of it. Because wonder will always get us there… those of us who insist that there is much more beyond ourselves. And I do. Looking ahead, we’re all wondering what’s written in the stars, what’s beyond ourselves. I only know we need all the light we can find, so at the end of the next decade, we can look back and measure our years in more light than darkness. And there’s a reason we measure it all in light.

Driving theSanta WRONG Even needsSleigh? a break once in a while.

Thank you to all of our clients. Wishing you all the hope, wonder, and joy that the season can bring!

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



5 Joseph Jackson, Moe Williams, Brandon Taylo r, Lawanda High, Valerie Wilson

5 Angie Negron, Meredith Lieberman

Habitat for Humanity Bowl-A-thon It was an afternoon of family fun at the 9 th Annual Habitat Bowl-2-Build Bowl-a-Thon at AMF West Galaxy Lanes in September. With more than 200 people attending, this year’s event was a success. Funds raised will go for Habitat’s Homeownership Program that gives low-income families the opportunity of home ownership with affordable monthly mortgage payments.

5 Tiffany Solomon, Tyeesha Atkins, Carey Hamilton

5 Chela Mills, Amber Russell, Tina Bonnefond, Kristina Denis

5 Larry Lima, Ramona Burrell, Richard Gilsinger


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

5 Dwight Wilson, Sheryll Goedert

Photos By Steve Floethe

5 Jeff Ruttenber, Joe Martone, Dave Layman

5 Nicole Sherman, Justin & Tammy Bellcase, Kayla Muzzy

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Your Old Car!” “ you Right now I’m willing to pay crazy money for your trade to stock my lot. That means

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Not a creature was stirring… Not even the termites, roaches, ants or chinch bugs. With over 30 years experience, Brick City Pest Control serves Ocala and Marion County, and we’ll protect your holidays, home and family from unwanted guests… guaranteed. Call (352) 732-4244 for your free inspection, and you'll hear Santa exclaim, “Now dash away, dash away, dash away bugs!”

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



Manatee Mania By Carlton Ward Jr., Kevin Mims, Jill Martin & Lauren Tjaden • Text Courtesy Visit Florida



efore we dive into the water, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re going to see. The West Indian manatees are very large aquatic mammals, weighing in around 1,000 pounds and measuring about 10 feet in length. They are docile, slow-moving swimmers that eat 10 to 15 percent of their body weight daily in aquatic plants. They often surface for air every 30 seconds while active and every 20 minutes while sleeping. Manatees have no natural enemies and the biggest threats to their survival are interactions with watercraft and loss of habitat. They were placed on the endangered species list in 1966 and have since

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

been under close watch in order to ensure the survival of the species. Are you ready?


SNORKEL WITH THE MANATEES The water in the Three Sisters area of the Crystal River was so clear that I might as well have been gazing through air. I could see as many as 20 manatees at one time. Some rested like giant blimps on the river’s bottom, but many were close to snorkelers. I shivered inside my black wetsuit, listening to the quiet sounds of my breathing and the motion of my arms as they pulled me through the water.

Photo by Neel Adsul for Shutterstock

We are fortunate to live in an area surrounded by habitats that manatees love to frequent in the winter. Want to see them for yourself? Here are three easy ways to enjoy these gentle giants in Crystal River and other places nearby.

Photo by Shane Gross for Shutterstock

One of the manatees seemed smitten with an underwater photographer. The photographer sported a large belly that gave him roughly the same profile as the manatee, so perhaps the manatee felt some kinship on that basis. Whatever the reason, the creature’s affection was obvious. The manatee lay on the bottom of the river, wrapping his flippers around the photographer’s leg. Another manatee was fascinated by his camera, poking his soft, grey muzzle toward the lens. A calf was the first manatee to approach me. I guess he approved of the way I scratched his back—softly using my nails to rub the algae off of him, as I had been instructed— because he flipped over to reveal his pale stomach to me, which I also scratched. While he was on his back, I could see the little toenails on his flippers, reminiscent of an elephant’s, which made sense, because the elephant is the manatees’ closest living relative. Some of the manatees rested in their sanctuary, clearly aware of where people were allowed and where they were not. The sanctuary is an area marked off by rope and buoys, so that if a manatee wants to breed, eat, nurse a calf, or just take a snooze, it won’t be bothered. I never ran out of manatees to play with or watch. I could have stayed there forever, because it was such an incredible, unbelievable thing I was getting to do, but eventually I was frozen enough I could barely bend my fingers or speak, so I paddled over to our boat to swig hot coffee and swaddle myself in towels. But I couldn’t stand to miss out on the fun for long, so I glided out into the water for one last goodbye scratch before we headed back to the dock.

My trip only lasted for four hours, yet I still remember it—and I’m sure I’ll always remember it. I even dream about it sometimes, gazing into the eyes of a gentle giant who swam across the river to greet me. If you go, here a few tips. When you first enter the water, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the size of these gentle giants. Don’t panic—they won’t hurt you. Relax, float on the surface, and enjoy the experience. The calmer you are the more likely a manatee might swim over. Bring lots of warm clothes. The water is a constant 72 degrees, and you’ll be wearing a wetsuit, so it’s not bad when you are in the water. However, when you get out you’ll probably feel chilled. If your tour doesn’t include warm drinks, bring a thermos with your own. (The colder it is, the more active the manatees will be, so you don’t want balmy weather). Ask what equipment your tour includes and what you will need to rent. A mask, snorkel, and wetsuit are necessary, but fins are not. You’ll mainly only need to float, not swim, and if you are unfamiliar with using fins you can stir up the water and frighten the manatees. My trip with Sunshine River Tours included all of the necessary equipment. This is mainly a winter-time activity, since that’s when the manatees migrate into the warm water to feed. A few small groups of manatees live in the river year round, so it may be possible for you to have a quality experience at other times of the year. Ask your guide service for advice. Tipping the boat crew is customary. Consider spending the night before your trip in the area. The manatees are most active in the morning, so some tours begin at the crack of dawn. The state parks here don’t offer camping, but they can provide a list of 20 places in or close to Crystal River that do. I opted for a comfy bed at the Best Western in Crystal River. Follow the rules for manatee interaction. The tour guides tend to be staunch conservationists that take

the welfare of these endangered animals seriously. You can only touch manatees with one hand at a time, so that there is never any doubt that you are trying to ride them or hold them. You are not allowed to chase

Crystal River is the only place in Florida where you can swim with the manatees in winter. them, and all interaction has to be on their terms. Feeding them is prohibited. Stay out of the sanctuaries, even with your arms.


VISIT THE FLORIDA MANATEE FESTIVAL If you’re looking for a cool event in January, then you need to take part in the fun at the Florida Manatee Festival January 18-19. The fun happens in downtown Crystal River and celebrates the area’s most famous resident. Thousands of folks make their way to Crystal River for the event, full of food vendors, live music, and lots more. Visitors can tour Three Sisters Springs during an open house event, where staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


and provide information on the CrysONLY IN FLORIDA tal River National Wildlife Refuge and everything related The slow-moving shadow ahead is as long as your paddleboard to the protection of or kayak — and twice as wide. You’ve just seen a local celebrity: Florida manatees. the Florida manatee, one of the rarest marine mammals in the Now in its 33rd world. Look, but don’t touch. year, the Florida Manatee Festival is presented by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce. Over 20,000 people each year flock to Historic Downtown Crystal River, making this festival one of the “Best of the Best Festivals” PRECIOUS by the readers of the TREASURE Citrus County Chronicle. Festival-goers can "It is unlawful for any person, BY THE NUMBERS at any time, intentionally or board free bus tours to negligently, to annoy, molest, Manatees, aka sea cows, Three Sisters Springs. harass, or disturb any These tours are run manatee." continuously during eat up to the festival weekend 150 lbs of plants each day. and are conducted in “MANATEE cooperation with the An adult Can weigh Can FOOTPRINTS” City of Crystal River can be live 800A circular wave pattern on the + and the Friends of the 10 ft. 1,200 lbs. 60 surface of the water created by the Crystal River National yrs. in length manatee’s tail as it surfaces from below Wildlife Refuge, allowing visitors to MANATEE MANNERS Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission guidelines see manatees in their than 40 injured Homosassa of VIEWING the Big Bend Power Station. Viewing natural settings. Catch the tour bus LOOK or, BUT DON'T: WHEN Springs BOATING: FIVE AREAS: manatees. A separation fence installed platforms, tidal walkways, and an envibetter yet, check out a manatee boat • touch or pet manatees • keep in mind manatees move 1. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River slowly and may not detect within the spring allows staff to keep ronmental education center are located tour for a trip into Kings Bay •and other feed or give manatees water 2. Blue Spring State Park, Orange City approaching boats the injured marine mammals segregated at this 50-acre facility. favorite manatee hangouts. • chase or disturb a manatee 3. TECO Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach • try not to pass directly over their healthier brethren. In the LeeManatee County Back on land, the sound of music • crowd or restrict afrom manatee Lee County Park,Manatee Fort Myers Park in Fort 4. manatees to avoid injuring spring when the wild manatees leave Myers is another wintertime haven fills the air with live entertainment • splash on or make excessive noise 5. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville the park, the gate is closed and the where large concentrations of Florida three different stages, while visitors • separate a manatee from its group, especially a cow from her calf injured manatees are allowed to roam manatees can be seen. Several viewing enjoy the offerings of fine arts and craft the entire spring bowl. areas, a butterfly garden, and picnic artisans. There’s a beer and wine garden Blue Spring State Park in Orange shelters are available. and two food courts serving up a wide City is an ideal “no boat needed” manaThe Merritt Island National menu of delights, from fresh seafood to tee-viewing location. During manatee Wildlife Refuge in Titusville is a authentically local barbecue and everyseason, the spring run is closed, but haven for all kinds of wildlife, includthing in between. Also, International there are several overlooks and boarding manatees. The Haulover Canal Alley features food trucks, food trailwalks along the way. Make a day of connects Mosquito Lagoon and the ers, and booths filled with epicurean exploring the park and watching the Indian River, and on the east side of the delights from around the world. manatees. Bring your camera because bridge is a manatee observation area. there are great pictures to be taken and Viewing platforms, interpretive signs, GO TO OTHER NEARBY memories to be made. a boat ramp, and a polarized viewer are PLACES The TECO Manatee Viewing located at the observation area. Homosassa Springs Wildlife Center in Apollo Beach is a designated Park participates in the U.S. Fish and Go to and type manatee sanctuary to which large Wildlife’s manatee rescue and rehabili“manatee” in the search box for numbers of manatees in Florida return tation program. In 30-plus years, the these great suggestions and more. annually to the warm discharge waters park staff has helped rehabilitate more



2 5



3 32

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

Source: Visit Florida

The endangered Florida or West Indian manatee is protected under federal law and Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978

Changing People’s Lives For Over 30 Years


By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten

Cheers to Southern Sass and Sisterhood!

October 31 – November 24 Sponsored By: Clear Channel Outdoor Tickets $27 adults / $13 students


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Veterinarian Dr. Elmo Shropshire, who grew up in Ocala during its halcyon equestrian days, became part of a Christmas novelty song that has become one of the most-played every season. This is the true-life story of the holiday classic... BY JAMES BLEVINS • PHOTOS BY PAM WENDELL

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


he year is 1979. Ronald Reagan is gearing up for his third presidential campaign (it would turn out to be the charm). The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (or ESPN) is launching its first cable news channel. The sci-fi horror masterpiece “Alien” is scaring up big box-office returns on silver screens all across the country. And a twisted little Christmas song about a grandmother’s ill-fated collision with a reindeer in the snow is just beginning to make the rounds among San Francisco’s elite group of disc jockeys, building up some rather unexpected momentum. Twelve million copies later, “Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer” has

fast become one of the few, relatively new songs to enter the touted Christmas musical canon in recent memory, a song as equally clever and concise in concept as it is bizarre and irreverent in content. Love it or loathe it, it’s a song with the legs to stick around, as it has proven time and time again over the last 40 years. But despite all the success with “Grandma” being a household song around the holidays, very few people seem to know the name of the song’s recording artist (pssst it’s Dr. Elmo Shropshire), or even less well-known, that this very same recording artist once called Ocala his home.

THE YEAR IS 1952. Elmo Shropshire is 14. He has just moved to Ocala from

Kentucky with his parents. His father, and namesake, who had once been a famous jockey and horse trainer in his own right, took a job as farm manager at Dickey Stables. Elmo works at the stables with his dad as an exercise boy, walking and riding the horses and helping to oversee their foaling. “This was back when Ocala was in its thoroughbred infancy,” remembers Elmo, now 83, during a phone interview recorded earlier this year, “back before people realized how great a place Ocala was for breeding and training horses. They thought it was only Kentucky!” Before graduating from Ocala High School in 1955, Elmo crossed paths with another famous former

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


Ocala resident: Needles, the first Florida-bred racehorse to win the Kentucky Derby in 1956. “When he was a yearling,” says Elmo, “I used to walk and ride Needles.” After a few years of riding horses and soaking up the Florida vibe, Elmo quickly grew to love his new hometown, and Ocala was ready to love him back.

the bereaved Elmo in and gave him a new home. “They told me I was welcome to stay for as long as I needed,” says Elmo. “They were kind of my family and a wonderful influence on my life.” The Curry family encouraged Elmo to go to college, and he did, graduating from the University of Florida in 1960. “None of my folks ever went to college,” explains Elmo. “And when I graduated, I expected to go back to Ocala and be an exercise boy on a horse ranch and live a life like that. But I did really love to see the veterinarians work with the horses.” So off he went to study veterinary medicine at Auburn University, graduating in 1964. He would go on to work for a short time in Miami, then in New York at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga racetracks as a staff veterinarian in 1966 and 1967. But Elmo came to find that little about this specific work satisfied him. He wanted a change, so he moved to San Francisco in 1968 and opened up his own veterinary hospital. Also around this same time, he started learning to play the banjo. Before long he was playing in bluegrass bands and fast becoming a key member of the

“My memories of Ocala are full of the most welcoming, warm, loving group of people I’ve ever been around.” —Dr. Elmo Shropshire “It is an absolutely wonderful, beautiful place,” reminisces Elmo of Ocala. “Throughout my life, my memories of Ocala are full of the most welcoming, warm, and loving group of people I’ve ever been around.” In 1958, Elmo would face personal tragedy, losing both of his parents in an automobile accident, leaving him alone to support himself. In stepped two of his best friends, brothers Lanny and Craig Curry, along with their family, who took


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

burgeoning San Francisco bluegrass musical movement of the early 1970s. “I just did it as a hobby,” claims Elmo. “I knew I could never make a living at it.” Despite improving as a banjo player, Elmo noticed something about his singing that needed to be reconciled with. “I was such a terrible singer,” admits Elmo. “But when I sang funny songs, nobody cared. If you sing funny songs, it’s not like you’re going to be compared to Frank Sinatra!” Then one night in 1978 came a fortuitous storm and a fortuitous meeting with a man who would introduce Elmo to the song that would change his life. “I got a job playing at the Hyatt Hotel in Lake Tahoe at the casino,” recalls Elmo. “And the same day, there was a huge blizzard. The other band that was there was Randy Brooks’ band. They couldn’t leave because of the blizzard, so they came to see our show.” Brooks, a songwriter, performer, and fellow former-Kentuckian, recognized something kindred in Elmo’s performance immediately. “Afterwards,” says Elmo, “Randy was like, ‘You sure write a lot of funny songs. I have a song that I think would be perfect for you.’ He said, ‘My band never wants to play it.’ He gets his guitar and plays me ‘Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer,’ and I thought, ‘Wow! That’s a fantastic song, cleverly written.’” Soon after leaving Lake Tahoe, Elmo had it in his mind to record Brooks’ song. He admits that most people close to him at the time didn’t seem to understand his feelings on the song, but he just believed there was something there. “I recorded it the following spring,” says Elmo, “and in the fall of 1979, I made 500 vinyl 45s—that was the smallest we could make—to sell at shows. I gave some copies of the song to some of my friends. I guess my thought process was that maybe something would happen.” Totally unbeknownst to Elmo, one of the friends he gave a copy of the “Grandma” vinyl to was friends with legendary San Francisco disc jockey Gene Nelson. “One day I was at work at my

hospital,” remembers Elmo, “and Gene Nelson is on the radio and he says, ‘We played this song a little while ago and everyone said they didn’t like it, but if we get 50 requests for it, we’ll play it again.’ Then a little later on he goes, ‘Okay. We got 50 requests for it. We’ll play it.’ And there was my song on the radio. I couldn’t believe it! My favorite guy in the world is playing my song. And the first thing I could think of was, ‘Oh my God! I sound terrible!’” Over the next four years, the song continued to gain traction. More and more DJs up and down the California coast were clamoring for a copy to play on their airwaves around the holidays. Then, in 1983, Elmo sold his hospital. He used the $30,000 from the sale to shoot a music video for the “Grandma” song. “We completely gutted my house making room for film equipment and lights,” says Elmo. “We spent an entire week setting up for it, and then we spent two 16-hour days shooting for that three-minute video. “When it was over,” continues Elmo, “I was kind of devastated. Because I was thinking, ‘Have I gone crazy?’ We weren’t selling anything yet. We weren’t making any money. There were no records in the stores. I was wondering what I had done.” At first, it had seemed like Elmo had gone crazy. December was fast approaching and nothing had happened yet. “But then,” says Elmo, “there was this man-and-wife team based out of Nashville who said they wanted to distribute the song and pressed 250,000 copies.” After that, everything happened at once. MTV picked up the video and started playing it around the clock during December 1983. The song started selling. “All the radio stations got wind of it and we sold that whole pressing,” says Elmo. “This all happened in two to three weeks. Not long after, the song went to number one, beating out Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas.’” The following year, Epic Records, a division of Sony, approached Elmo to distribute the song even wider. “Grand-

ma” would soon after become one of the (with, it would be fair to say, mostly top-selling records of 1984, peaking at mixed results). And that very same Number 92 on the Billboard Hot Coun- twisted little Christmas song about a try Singles chart. grandmother and her run-in with a rein“Mind you,” reminds Elmo, “we deer is improbably celebrating its 40th had Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ to conanniversary this December as the holiday tend with at that time.” earworm that just won’t quit. The rest is Christmas music history. Every once in a while, Elmo—the “I’m very proud of that song,” states song’s original, equally-as-improbable Elmo. “We worked really hard to make recording artist—returns to visit his that song work. And it’s palpable. That hometown of Ocala (the one very few song has a life of its own.” people know he’s from) and visits the Nowadays, Elmo, and his wife, Currys. And he visits his childhood Pamela Wendell, split their time between memories of the “warm, loving people” New York City, where he plays shows who accepted him at a time when he with his band Holiday Express, and needed it most. Novato, California, where he works on It sounds like a story good enough his publishing business and runs comfor a song, which begs an interesting petitively as a nationally ranked long-dis- question: What would be the title of a tance runner. Dr. Elmo Shropshire song about Ocala? As far as retirement goes, Elmo “I haven’t thought about that too claims to have a rather funny take on the much,” admits Elmo after a lengthy subject. He doesn’t exactly plan on doing laugh, “but I guess I’d have to call that it so much as redefining what it means song ‘Ocala: The Land of Sunshine and to him to be retired in the first place. Good Juju.’ Because that’s what it was “I absolutely can’t wait to go out for for me.” a run. I can’t wait to go to competitions and get ready for them,” asserts Elmo. “And I love playing music. I feel like if you stop doing stuff, it’s not a healthy thing at all. “Nobody makes you retire,” continues Elmo with a smile in his voice. “You have to find something that you love to do and make that your retirement. Then it won’t feel like retirement.” • In the music video, Grandma survives the accident—

Grandma Lives—Literally!

THE YEAR IS 2019. Another presidential election is on the horizon. ESPN is broadcasting on smart phones in a multitude of different channels. Ridley Scott has made two (count ‘em, two) different prequels to his original “Alien” film

unlike in the actual song—and reappears toward the end of the video alive and well but somewhat disoriented by the trampling. • The 2000 animated TV special (pictured above) is obviously made for children, so Grandma survives. Moreover, Santa is innocent of the crime, which was instead masterminded by Cousin Mel, mentioned briefly in the song. Elmo Shropshire narrates the special and voices Grandpa. The special is a staple of Cartoon Network’s holiday programming.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



Protect Your Family From Holiday Mishaps T he holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, reflect on the past year and get swept up in the spirit of the season. The last place you want to spend a holiday is the emergency room; yet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggests that many Americans do just that. They estimate that, from November to January, emergency physicians treat 18,000+ injuries. That breaks down to roughly 200 holiday-related visits to the ER every day of the season. Keep the season bright by protecting your home and family.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


Dressing your home for the holidays is a great way to bond with your family and create a welcoming, relaxing space for visitors. Taking just a few simple steps – like making sure someone is with you while you’re on a ladder and securing your tree if you have an inquisitive grandchild or pet — can go a long way in keeping accidents at bay.

TRAVEL SAFELY Millions of families will hit the open road over the holidays. Even if you don’t have to go over the river and through the woods, practice road safety as you attend parties, enjoy special events and connect with loved ones.

KEEP FIRE SAFETY TOP-OF-MIND Fires are a serious threat every holiday season, as many of us decorate with lights on live plants. Here are a few suggestions for protecting your family and home: • Avoid burning wrapping paper in a fireplace. • Buy a “fire resistant” artificial tree. • Check all cords for fraying or damage, and light strands for missing bulbs.

• Appoint a designated driver if you plan on drinking.

• Have a fire drill so your family knows what to do if the worst happens.

• Have someone take over if you get tired behind the wheel.

• Keep trees away from heat sources, including vents, radiators and fireplaces.

• Keep an emergency roadside kit with you that includes warm blankets, water, snacks, flashlight and a phone charger.

• Plug outdoor lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle.

• Make sure everyone buckles up. • Put your cell phone away.

• Keep a fire extinguisher close by.

• Never leave candles unattended.

• Test all smoke detectors. • Unplug decorations at night. • Water live trees and plants generously.

FIND TRUSTED EMERGENCY CARE When an emergency happens, you can feel confident knowing that Marion County’s most trusted emergency care is just around the corner. With a newly renovated, state-of-the-art facility in Ocala, we’re able to treat more patients, more quickly than ever before. Whether it’s an unexpected fall or serious burn, we’re at-the-ready to help you heal what hurts and get you back to your holiday celebration.

Recently Renovated Emergency Department to Better Serve Our Community AdventHealth Ocala ER features: • 42 private patient rooms equipped with medicine’s most advanced tools, and designed to keep your health matter a private matter • All-new nurse’s station built to ensure our team of specialists is available to care for all your needs, at a moment’s notice • Expert-level emergency medical care from a team with a proven reputation • Specially designed waiting room with amenities to make your wait as comfortable as possible

To learn more, visit

RENEW HOME SHOWCASE: Mike and MJ Armstrong

BEFORE 5After 30 years of living in their home, it was clearly time for some updates.

3From floor to ceiling, everything in the guest bathroom was replaced at a surprisingly affordable cost.


‘Very Quality-Conscious’

ReNew in Ocala is the place to go to fix outdated floors, bathrooms, and kitchens on a budget. Satisfied clients Mike and MJ Armstrong love their beautifully updated Ocala home.


ike and MJ Armstrong love their tranquil home that they’ve lived in for over 30 years. They’ve been in Ocala since 1981 and Mike says he “used to golf ” and likes yard work, college football (“I’m a big-time Gator fan”), and collects some vintage MJ & Mike Armstrong lures. “Basi-


cally,” he adds, “that’s about it.” Knowing they plan to remain in the house they’ve loved for over three decades, the Armstrongs knew they needed to get started on some renovatations in order to update the look of the somewhat-dated portions of the home. “We figured it was time,” Mike concedes. “It was time to just do it.” They decided to start with the bathrooms, obviously one of the mostused rooms in any given house. The guest bathroom was pretty boring. Lots of white everywhere—white tile floors, a white shower, white countertops. The light wood cabinets anchored it all

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

squarely in the ‘80s. The master bathroom shared many of the same issues. So the Armstrongs called several companies and received varying offers and costs. “I got some quotes and Jim LaValle with ReNew was the most reasonable, price-wise,” Mike recalls. “I liked the quality of their work and we dealt with him directly, which we liked a lot.” Once they selected ReNew, Jim immediately came out to show them lots of examples of previous work and many physical samples they’d want to consider while remodeling these two spaces, a daunting task for anyone unfamiliar




a nice touch that will keep them in their home for a long time to come. For Jim LaValle, it’s another job well done, something that never gets old for him or his crew. They take pride in every single assignment, and he’s more than happy to guide his clients every step of the way. “You have to have that vision of what the final product is going to look like,” Jim explains, “and the product BEFORE knowledge to get the job done.” The Armstrongs would definitely recommend ReNew for anyone looking 3The all new glass-enclosed walkto remodel their kitchen or bathrooms. in shower made for a much more They’ve had a couple of friends take a comfortable, spacious master look at the guest bathroom and “they bath. Touches like this will keep liked it very much,” Mike shares. Mike the Armstrongs happy with their AFTER home for years to come. liked that the company’s work was superb and that Jim kept everything well within budget. with the myriad choices for each part of modern glass enclosure opens up the So would they use ReNew again? the process. space and adds volume. For the master “Yes,” Mike answers emphatically. Recognizing that they were going bathroom, the new countertop and “As a matter of fact, we’re going to to have a lot of work done on their solid white cabinets make for a spa-like take a little break, but then we’re going house, they let Jim and his crew come feel. Another glass-enclosed walk-in to do the kitchen and the rest of the and go as needed. ReNew worked efshower means no uncomfortable move- house next. We like how everything ficiently, and the couple liked the work ments to get in and out of the space. It’s turned out.” they were doing. The Armstrongs noticed From This… that Jim’s subcontractors took Rethink pride in their work and tried to ensure that the couple’s Remodel usual home life was not Reface disrupted by their tasks. The couple enjoyed their interacRefinish tions and the care they took in making sure everything was Renew. done to their satisfaction. E F I S L P ECIA OOD L “Jim knew his business, ’S G To This and the contractors he has 6000 $ r are very quality-conscious. e v ff job o ,000 He was easy to work with $500 O ff job over $11 ,000 O 16 and he supplied some good $1,000 Off job over $ 1,000 2 0 ideas. We really liked his $1,50 Off job over $ 2501 SW 57th Ave, #805, Ocala 0 personality,” Mike says. “MJ $2,00 d when on this a tment. Call to schedule your free consultation ti n e m Must ling appoin and I had a vision of what schedu Call Jim (352) 857-9604 we wanted going in, so Jim showed us some samples and some options, helped us pick some things out, and then we chose from there.” Now the couple loves the FINANCING AVAILABLE results. The guest bathroom has a more organic-looking Professionally managed projects from design to completion floor and countertop, with an updated walk-in shower Cabinets • Countertops • Flooring • Showers Jim LaValle —“The Design Guy” replacing the dated tub. The

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

e d a omem s y a d oli





Servings: 4 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon pepper 4 salmon steaks or fillets (6 ounces each) 2 teaspoons honey 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided 1 large bunch spinach, washed and stemmed 1 clove garlic, minced 2 cups red California seedless grapes, halved 1/2 cup dry red wine Heat oven to 325 F. In small bowl, combine salt, mustard, thyme and pepper. Drizzle salmon fillets with honey and sprinkle with seasoning. Reserve any remaining seasoning. In nonstick skillet or saute pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brown both sides of salmon fillets over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side. In baking dish, toss spinach and garlic with remaining olive oil. Place browned salmon on bed of spinach, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 8-10 minutes, or until salmon is just cooked through. In skillet used to brown salmon, over mediumhigh heat saute grapes 1 minute. Add wine, bring to boil and reduce quantity by half. Season sauce to taste with remaining herb mixture. Serve salmon on wilted spinach topped with grape and wine sauce. Nutritional information per serving: 449 calories; 36 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 23 g fat; 45% calories from fat; 4.3 g saturated fat; 9% calories from saturated fat; 100 mg cholesterol; 730 mg sodium; 1,120 mg potassium; 1.6 g fiber.

y incorporating versatile ingredients into your holiday cooking, you can make a vast array of tasty seasonal goodies. For example, California grapes are abundant throughout the holiday season and add taste and visual appeal to dishes of all kinds, such as Seared Salmon with Spinach and Grapes, Grape Caprese Salad Hors d’ Oeuvres, Grapes in Rosé Wine Sauce and Wild Rice Stuffing with Grapes and Hazelnuts. Plus, they’re an easy, fresh, healthy snack to keep on-hand for hungry guests waiting for the meal. With their natural beauty, grapes can also be used to create tablescapes and centerpieces for festive holiday settings. Find more holiday recipe inspiration at


Servings: 4 1 1/2 cups rosé wine 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 vanilla bean, split 1 pinch salt 3 cups halved red, green or black California grapes In large skillet, bring wine, sugar, vanilla bean and salt to boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in grapes and let cool. Serving suggestion: Pour warm grapes over creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. Nutritional information per serving: 250 calories; 0 g protein; 49 g carbohydrates; 0 g fat (0% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat (0% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 55 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



Servings: 24 Extra-virgin olive oil high-quality, aged balsamic vinegar freshly ground black pepper 24 decorative bamboo skewers 24 red seedless California grapes 24 fresh basil leaves 24 small, fresh mozzarella balls sea salt On serving plate or platter, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired. Sprinkle with pepper. To assemble skewers: On each skewer, add one red grape, one small basil leaf and one ball fresh mozzarella. Lay skewers on serving platter and sprinkle with dash of sea salt. Nutritional information per serving: 44 calories; 2.5 g protein; 1 g carbohydrates; 3 g fat; 64% calories from fat; 11 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; .07 g fiber.

WILD RICE STUFFING WITH GRAPES AND HAZELNUTS Servings: 12 2 cans (28 fluid ounces total) low-sodium chicken broth 1 cup wild rice 4 slices bacon, diced 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted 1 large onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, sliced 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped 2 cups California seedless grapes, picked from stem and rinsed


In heavy saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil. Add wild rice and stir. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Let simmer 1 hour until rice is tender and has popped open. In frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon until almost crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Add butter to bacon pan then add onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and fold in parsley, hazelnuts and grapes. Add rice with any remaining liquid to frying pan and toss well to combine. Nutritional information per serving: 166 calories; 5.4 g protein; 21 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat; 40% calories from fat; 1.4 g saturated fat; 8% calories from saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 126 mg sodium; 2.6 g fiber.

5 Healthier TIPS FOR


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

With filling meals and tempting desserts at every corner, it can be difficult to keep nutrition in mind during the holidays. However, these simple tricks can help keep you stay on track, while still enjoying the best that the season has to offer. •

Eat a healthy snack, like grapes with hummus and crackers, before parties to avoid arriving hungry.

• Bring •

fresh fruit to potlucks and holiday parties for a crowdpleasing, healthy offering.

Alternate high-calorie beverages with water.

Create a party platter that assembles an array of healthy nibbles, such as fresh grapes, nuts, sliced veggies with a healthy dip, seasoned popcorn and olives.

• Practice

portion control to avoid over­indulging despite the bounty of home­made dishes from loved ones.


Recipe courtesy of Liz Della Croce of “The Lemon Bowl” on behalf of Milk Means More Servings: 16 1 bulb garlic (about 12 cloves) 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon salt, divided 1 teaspoon pepper, divided 32 slices baguette 8 ounces feta cheese 1/2 cup whole milk 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 1/4 cup parsley, minced

Heat oven to 400 F.

Slice garlic bulb in half, exposing garlic heads; place in center of large piece of foil.


Recipe courtesy of Lori Yates of “Foxes Love Lemons” on behalf of Milk Means More Servings: 8 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced kosher salt ground black pepper 1 brie round (8 ounces) 3 tablespoons honey 1/4 cup pomegranate arils 1/4 cup shelled pistachios crackers or toasted bread, for serving

Drizzle each half with 1 table­ spoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Wrap foil tightly around garlic and roast until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Place baguette slices on large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on middle rack until golden brown, about 10 minutes; set aside. Place feta cheese, milk, lemon juice, remaining salt and remaining pepper in high-speed food processor. Once garlic finishes roasting, add garlic cloves to food processor. Pulse until whipped and creamy, adding more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Adjust seasonings, to taste, if necessary. To serve, spread each crostini with whipped feta and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and minced parsley.

Heat oven to 350 F. In large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 8-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat. Place brie on parchment-lined rimmed baking pan; drizzle with honey. Transfer to oven and bake 5-7 minutes, or until inside of cheese is softened but outside remains intact. Transfer brie to serving platter; top with pomegranate arils, pistachios and mushrooms. Serve with crackers or bread.


Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of “Rachel Cooks” on behalf of Milk Means More Servings: 40 2-2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup peppermint crunch baking chips In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Gradually add flour and mix on low until combined. Add baking chips and continue mixing on low until fully combined. On wax paper or parchment paper, form dough into 12-14-inch log and freeze at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Heat oven to 350 F. Cut shortbread dough into 1/4-inch slices; bake 13-15 minutes on parchment-lined baking sheets.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



‘The Price Is Right & You Don’t Go Home Hungry’ By Rick Allen • Photos By John Jernigan

This SR 200 favorite is easy to take for granted because of its location and decades-long familiarity. But once you taste Sammy Dedovic’s authentic recipes, you’ll know exactly why his namesake restaurant has built such a devoted following.



he history of Sammy’s Italian is right there on the front of every menu: how as a boy Sammy Dedovic picked olives in Italy, that his family emigrated to the U.S. and started a family restaurant in New York in 1975 and that he discovered Ocala while here visiting cousins. “I decided I wanted to open a restaurant here,” Sammy says of falling in love with the area. “I called my wife and said, ‘Sell everything! We’re moving here.’” Sammy’s marked its 23rd year here in

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

September. What the history doesn’t say is that Sammy actually was born in Albania. His family moved to Naples and its olive groves in Italy when he was quite young. And some 40 years ago in New York he married Coleen. “So you have an Albanian and an Irish running an Italian restaurant,” Sammy says, almost like setting up a long-told joke. “I’ve been Italian from 9am to 9pm

every day for the past 40 years.” I’ve been aware of Sammy’s for years—not from dining there, but from columns written by Emory Schley, a colleague at the Star-Banner. Sammy’s was one of Emory and Dearly Beloved’s (his pet name for his wife) favorite places. In one column Emory may have touched on why: “I think Sammy must sprinkle some kind of magic fairy dust or something over his spaghetti!” After finally dining there, I’m not so sure about the fairy dust—I doubt health officials would allow it!—but there just might be something else magical about this place. WHERE: Sammy’s Italian Restaurant and Pizza is on SR 200 in Jasmine Square. A spinoff opened nearly two years ago by their son Paul is at 9668 North Hwy. 301 in Wildwood. WHY GO: “In my place,” Sammy says, “the price is right and you don’t go home hungry.” In fact, it’s likely you’ll

take home with you a carton of what you couldn’t finish here. For instance, my wife and I shared an order of lasagna, a pizza, and salads. We took half of the lasagna and the pizza home for a second delicious meal the next day. BEST TIME TO GO: If you’re looking for a deal, Sammy’s has a long-standing spaghetti-and-meatballs special on Monday—the entree, salad, and bread for $6.99. “You can’t eat at McDonald’s for that!” he says. He also offers a large cheese pizza for $8.99 all day Tuesday. Wednesday is Sammy’s quietest day, he says, while the busiest times most other days are noon to 3:30pm and again from 4:30 to 6:30pm. This is an early-dine spot. My wife and I visited just before 6 o’clock on a Tuesday and found the place abuzz with guests. Half an hour later, nearly everyone was gone. YOU MUST TRY: Sammy’s is probably better known for its Brooklyn-style pizza. Ours was dripping with pepperoni, way more even than the amount I use when I make pizza at home. “And they didn’t skimp on the cheese,” my wife says, “not like places where you have to ask for double cheese.” But Sammy is especially proud of his Italian house entrees, particularly the Chicken Francese and the Chicken Marsala. “These are my signature dishes,” he says. “When they try that, they’ll be in heaven.” But his personal favorite on the menu is the Frutti Di Mare (literally “fruits of the sea”), a cornucopia of mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamari, and clams served over linguini in a fradiavlo sauce. It’s certainly on my “must try” list.

FRIENDLY STAFF: Nearly everyone on staff here is in Sammy’s family—his wife, sons, daughters, a niece. All of them seemed to be scurrying about getting orders in or out. Our server probably could have been a tad more personable, but she was efficient and obviously quite busy. INSIDER: Sammy says many of his first-time patrons are surprised that beer and wine are available. Frankly, I’m not surprised by this. It’s a New York-style Italian eatery we’re talkin’ about here! Didn’t Billy Joel sing

If you’re looking for a deal, Sammy’s has a long-standing spaghettiand-meatballs special on Monday for $6.99. about this? “A bottle of red, a bottle of white...” The wine, by the way, is from a distributor who sells only to Italian restaurants. Sammy says he’s had customers who’ve wanted to buy a bottle for themselves, but the distributor wouldn’t sell. And every now and then during the season from late September through May, the meatballs special is a bit more singular, as in one, baseball-sized, halfpound meatball roughly the size of my fist. Emory once encountered one of these and later wrote: “How am I going to be able to eat all this?” FINAL WORD: Sammy seems to live for his customers. Maybe that’s the “something else magical” mentioned earlier. “I think I have the best customers in the world,” he says. “They make me want to get up in the morning and do it again, day after day.”

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Sammy’s Italian 6106 SW SR 200 in Jasmine Square (352) 861-2828

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


cuisine queen

by Paula DiPaula []

Back Issues, A Bubble Bar, And A Lot More!


elcome back, snowbirds. You may or may not take offense to being labeled a snowbird, but to make it a bit more palatable, you belong to the largest, most-awaited group of citizens in the Florida restaurant industry. While you are gone, many restaurants cut back on hours and employees. Just before you leave the North, there is a frenzy of job openings to accommodate your arrival. And by the way, there really is a snowbird, a nickname for the Dark-Eyed Junco. Many changes have happened since you’ve been gone and you can catch up by going to our website at and then check out our back issues for what you missed. Choose Welcome back, an issue, click on the magnifying glass, and snowbirds! You type in “Cuisine Queen.” belong to the Thanks. most-awaited Now the new stuff... The Bubble Bar, group of citizens 509-3006, opened just as in the Florida you were probably packrestaurant industry. ing your things to head North. It’s not the kind of bubbly you may think it is. Located in Ocala on the corner of Pine Avenue and SR 40, this unique café serves a Taiwanese tea-based drink. You can enjoy drinks made from teas, fruit, coffee and chewy Boba (flavored tapioca balls) that rest at the bottom of the cup. Slurp up the Boba as you drink or savor them when the liquid is gone. See their Facebook page for hours and more. Very close by on Pine Avenue in the plaza adjacent to the Ocala Police Department is Time Out Billiards and Grill, 444-7665. The owner, Mo, is a professional pool tournament player and says it was his dream to open a pool hall. With 10 pool tables, 24 flat screens, and a separate


dining room and dance floor, this is a new and great place for your game watching as well as private events. On Friday nights, Time Out moves the dining tables to the side to open up a dance floor with a DJ featuring Top 40 and Latin music and draws a pretty good crowd. Saturdays are reserved for private events including yours if you call ahead and reserve. There are two bars and a very reasonably priced menu. Happy Hour is daily from 3 to 7pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays, one free drink for ladies and 15 wings and fries for $12. Much to say about this sports bar but please visit their website at An area is being organized for dart lovers, as well. Kal is a young entrepreneur who moved here from Orlando and opened two restaurants. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (an international chain of over 500 stores) and Tuva Kitchen, 304-6044, are both located inside a Chevron convenience store. Much of the space is dedicated to the two restaurants with full-sized tables. Located on SR 40 just west of I-75, you can enjoy real smoked meats slow cooked with wood or a delicious pizza baked in a brick fire oven. “We use 100 percent real mozzarella, not a blend,” Sal offers, “otherwise the cheese would burn.” The oven bakes a pizza in 90 seconds! Kal and his team will build the pizza for you with many toppings to choose from including tofu and paneer for vegetarians and Dickey’s smoked meats for the meat lovers, as well as the normal toppings of pepperoni, salami, and more. Kal invites anyone to tour his kitchen during the slower hours. Third-party delivery is offered and meals can be ordered on their website. Call Kal for more information until his Facebook and website is complete. Tidbits: Open Haus, where Carmichael’s and Cody’s used to be, has closed and rumor of Locos Pub and Grill should be opening. The Egg & I has changed names and now focuses more on lunch. It has the same owner and is now called Taylor’s Breakfast & Lunch, 236-7094. Carmine’s Cafe is under new ownership and has a new name: Marcelina’s, 509-7721. Last up, ANF Gyros & Grill, 2377376, is a new gyro option on Easy Street with a lot more than gyros. Happy holidays. See you in 2020!

Got A Hot Tip For The Cuisine Queen? E-mail me at

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

NOT Your Typical Travel Show! Have some fun planning your dream vacation!

Featuring numerous cruise lines & tour companies including: Norwegian Cruise Line, Collette, Avanti, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Shore Trips, Scenic & Emerald River Cruises, Yampu Tours, Ker & Downey, Viking Cruises, Globus Tours, Avalon Waterways, Cosmos, Monograms, Virgin Cruises, Trafalgar Tours, Brendan Vacations, Insight Vacations and Contiki and many more!

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WHERE: Trilogy at Ocala Preserve Oak House (Grand Living Room) 4021 NW 53rd Ave Rd. Ocala, FL

6124-1 SW Hwy 200 (Jasmine Square)

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DINING GUIDE Sautéed Sea Scallops and Celery Root with a Cognac cream sauce

48 SW 1st Avenue, Ocala (352) 433-2570 • Owner-operated since 2009, La Cuisine in Ocala has all the Old World charm of any romantic hideaway in Paris. Ideal for a quick bite at lunch time or a leisurely meal, the menu is filled with classics such as French onion soup, escargots and Boeuf Bourguignon. Located in the heart of Ocala’s beautiful and vibrant historic downtown, come indulge yourself with our award-winning menu and dedicated service in a unique French bistro atmosphere. Patrice and Elodie are here to welcome you! Don’t miss our blissful live music every Friday. Specialties: Escargots, Frog Legs, Organic Half Roast

Chicken, Beef Bourguignon, Ratatouille, Creme Brulee, Parmesan Truffle French Fries

Dinner Hours: Tues.-Sun. starting at 5:30pm.

Lunch Hours: Tues.-Fri. 11:30am-2pm Brunch: Sunday


Miranda Madison

CLOSED MONDAYS Open Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. Reservations required for these holidays.


HapWishing py H You olida ys

Eating at Tony’s Sushi isn’t just dining—it’s entertainment! Grab a seat at the tableside grill and watch as the expert chefs flip knives, crack jokes, and flare up the flames as they prepare your chicken, steak, or seafood just the way you like it. Of 3405 SW College Road, Ocala course, the real star of the show is (352) 237-3151 • the sushi—easily the best in town. Using only the freshest of ingredients, Tony’s boast an impressive Specialties: Inventive sushi menu of sushi rolls. Ask your server rolls; grilled steak, chicken for suggestions because many of and seafood. FUN! the best rolls aren’t on the menu. In fact, there are over 100 off-menu Hours: sushi rolls! With plenty of seating Mon.-Thurs. 11am-10pm and a lively, festive atmosphere, Fri.-Sat 11am-11pm Tony’s is the perfect place for large Sun Noon-10pm groups and birthdays.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



A Culinary Tour of Downtown Ocala


8810 SW Hwy 200, Ocala (across from Pine Run) (352) 509-7721

ormerly Carmine’s, Marcelina continues the tradition, serving your favorite Italian dishes in a friendly, comfortable environment. Little details make the difference, like fresh hand-grated cheese over your salad and warm, crusty bread to dip in the dish of olive oil loaded with fresh garlic. As one online reviewer says, the sauce is just like his Sicilian grandmother made. Another reviewer says the pizza (available only at lunchtime) is the best she’s had since moving to Ocala! See for yourself why Marcelina’s earns a 4.5 star rating on Yelp. Serving beer and wine.

d : Foo ils. NEW r Key r deta a fo Cedks! Call l Wa

Can’t decide where to eat downtown? Try five restaurants in three hours with a Local Foodie!

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11am-9pm Sat. Noon-9pm Sun. 2pm-8pm • (352) 462-5737

Make your reservations early for all your holiday dining with Blackwater Inn overlooking the beautiful St Johns River.

Make a full day of it! Start out with a river boat tour and end with a delicious dinner—all from one scenic location!

ST. JOHNS RIVER TOURS Departs from Blackwater Inn (866) 349-0674 Before dining at Blackwater

Inn, take a leisurely boat tour to the many tributaries of the St. Johns River. Discover exotic plant and wildlife steeped in history dating back to ancient Indian and Spanish civilizations. Call 866-349-0674 to book your boat tour with Capt. Bob. Accomodating groups of up to 21 people. It’s the perfect daycation!

55716 Front St, Astor, FL 32102 • (352) 759-2802 Info: Combine the picturesque view of the beautiful

St. Johns River with a lavish salad bar and tasty, fresh seafood (or USDA Choice beef) for a true culinary experience. Save room for one of the elegant desserts! Fun, food & spirits will greet you as you enjoy the balmy breezes and panoramic view of William’s Landing atop Blackwater Inn. Whether it’s for dinner or for a lighter fare, you can be assured of a pleasurable occasion.

Specialties: Unique Casual Dining, Unlimited Salad

Bar, Petite Dinners For The Light Appetite, Fingerling Catfish, Frog Legs, Alligator Tail, Grilled Quail, USDA Choice Beef & Fresh Seafood.

Blackwater Inn Hours:

Tues.-Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun. Mon.

4:30pm-9pm 4:30pm-10pm 11:30am-10pm 11:30am-9pm CLOSED

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


! e it t e p p a r u o y g in r B


Great American food in a warm, friendly atmosphere! For breakfast, you can’t beat Red’s–fluffy pancakes,

perfect eggs, hot coffee. And there’s a reason why folks will wait for a table during lunch! Homemade hamburgers so big you can barely get your mouth around ‘em, delicious soups and salads. Don’t be fooled by the address–Red’s is just past Stumpknockers on SR 200. Come see what so many have already discovered about Red’s! Menu Items Include: Eggs, Pancakes, French Toast,

Bacon, Homemade Burgers & Fries, Country Fried Steak, Meatloaf, Soup, Salads, Wraps, Sandwiches


Tues.-Sun. 7am-2pm Closed Mon. 52


Breakfast & Lunch

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

(352) 344-4322 8411 North Carl G Rose Hwy, Hernando Directions: Take SR 200 west. Located 1/4 mile past the Withlacoochee river

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



Catering • Holiday Parties Special Events

on The


Call Today toP lan Your Holidays! GIFT CARDS Specials AVAILABLE

Taking Thanksgiving Reservations

have bbq. will celebrate. It’s never to early to start planning for the holidays!



OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined





Salmon Oscar

Harry’s Holiday Trio

This seasonal favorite features grilled, marinated Salmon, steamed asparagus, fresh blue Crab meat and a classic Hollandaise sauce. Served with Nola Rice.

Tender grilled Filet medallions topped with delicately fried Lobster and Shrimp, accented with our New Orleans sherry cream sauce. Accompanied by our classic smashed potatoes and green beans.

Shrimp and Scallops Evangeline


Shrimp and Scallops sautéed with garlic, grape tomatoes and fresh basil. Tossed with linguine and a sun-dried tomato scampi sauce then finished with crumbled Goat cheese. *Promotion is valid from Nov1-Dec 24

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



5 Bonnie Tierney, Rachel Perreault

5 Kay Gramling

5 Linda Dansbury, Christine LaBua

Palm Cay Craft Fair Arts and crafts enthusiasts flocked to Palm Cay’s annual Craft Fair in October. This year’s event featured a variety of handmade crafts, including jewelry, wreaths, quilts, throws and decorative pillows and wood items. Photos By Steve Floethe

5 Al Supplee

5 Ann Thompson, Sherry Fast

4 Susan Rabidue, Patricia Binder

5 Rosemarie Griffin, Tina Lipshaw


3 Diana Gillespie, Doris Tereau, Judy Miller, Lin Hendricks, Kitty Ratchford 4 Jane Bauder OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

The true meaning of



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Do you have an event that you’d like to include in our calendar? Email your submissions to



Bring $1.50 in quarters, nickels, and dimes to play, popcorn provided. 3:45pm. Every Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center, 830 NE 8th Ave. or 368-5517. CONTRACT BRIDGE—

This is a free event with complimentary coffee, cards, and score sheets. 12:45pm. Every Tuesday. Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center, 830 NE 8th Ave. or 3685517. PINOCHLE— Enjoy a game of


Come ready to sing, dance, or spectate! Instruments welcome. 2pm. Every Friday. Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center, 830 NE 8th Ave. or 3685517.

Through Nov. 23


An autumn special event that transforms Epcot into a foodand wine-lover’s paradise.

Through Nov. 24


Southern women are drawn together by fate in their quest for happiness... through happy hour! Matinees at 2pm, evening at 8pm. JOCKEY Ocala CivicCLUB Theatre. $27. OCALA or 236$100,000 International 3-Day Event 2274. November 16-19, 2017

strategy in teams of two, three, FAMILY FALLDec. FESTIVAL Through 21 or four. This event is free with OCKLAWAHA CONCERT complimentary coffee. 9am. CIC3*, CCI1*/2*. and Includes $25,000 Thoroughbred Eventing Champion Division! SERIES— Concerts return Every Wednesday Friday. to Silver Springs State Park. Eighth Avenue Adult Activity December Center, 830 NE 8th Ave. 8720ocalafl. W. Highway 318, Reddick, FL 32686. 21, Brian Smalley. Tel: (352) 591-1212, Email: Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 org/recpark or 368-5517. ocke ala J y Club Oc

ocke ala J y Club Oc





3 Day Event

3 Day Event

World-Class Competition, Family Fun in Florida’s Horse Capital

Shannon Brinkman Photo

Photo: Shannon Brinkman


Katie Ruppel and her OTTB Houdini at 2016 OJC Event CIC3*

November 14-17 Free admission for seniors! Spend a day on the rolling acres of one of Ocala’s most beautiful farms viewing incredible acts of horsemanship. The competition features a horse and rider triathlon with dressage, show jumping and cross-country jumps. Ocala Jockey Club. or 591-1212.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

at the gate. Silver Springs State Park. or 261-5840.

second floor. ocalahealthsystem. com or 800-530-1188.

Through Jan. 5



November 7

exhibition—drawn mostly from the collection of the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania—examines the sometimes complex relationship between French Impressionism of the 1870s and 1880s and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed. Appleton Museum. or 291-4455.

provide real-life examples of hospice patients’ stories and will discuss medical and nonmedical comfort measures that are used to help patients and families feel safe, connected. She will be joined by Jessica McCune, director of bereavement services. $5. 2-4pm. Presented by Senior Learners, Inc. at the University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at or call 239-8780.

Through Jan. 12

November 8


vanishing wilderness, from the Everglades to Okefenokee Swamp, has become a big source of inspiration for this ardent environmentalist and naturalist’s work. Appleton Museum. or 291-4455.

November 2 & 16


American One-Armed Golfer Association, a non-profit organization, is having two benefit golf scrambles this fall in Ocala. They promote the game of golf to individuals who play one-handed because of illness, accident, or birth defects. Nov. 2 at Stone Creek Golf Club; Nov. 16 at Candler Hills Golf Club. $75. Registration starts at 8am. or (616)293-7785.

November 6


meeting that provides support, encouragement, and information to people with diabetes and their friends and families. 10:30am11:30pm. Ozark Bank building,


Performs Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” note for note, cut for cut, and features the songs “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Welcome To the Machine.” After intermission, the band plays from the catalog of Pink Floyd’s extensive greatest hits collection. Tickets from $15. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. JAZZ BAND—The CF

Patriot Blues Jazz Band and Jazz Combo is back for its fall concert under the direction of Greg Snider. $12. 7:30pm. The Dassance Fine Arts Center, CF Ocala Campus. or 873-5810.

November 8-10


Welcome the season with hot mulled wine, lots of specials in the wine shop, and live music on the outdoor stage. $10. 10am5pm Friday and Saturday, 11am5pm Sunday. Lakeridge Winery. or (800) 768-9463.

November 9


the city of Ocala, this event will feature two stages of live music, a food truck court, beer garden and artisan vendors. Canned food donations are collected by Project Hope and are distributed to families in the community for the upcoming holiday. General admission is $20. VIP admission is $50 and includes premium, up-close access to the main stage, one free beverage, access to the VIP pavilion and restrooms, and a commemorative Harvest Fest 2019 t-shirt. 1-10pm. Tuscawilla Park. or 629-2489. 73RD ANNUAL BAZAAR—A

variety of hand-crafted items, holiday decorations, jewelry, and homemade food items. Proceeds from the event will benefit women and children’s organizations in Ocala. 8am4pm. Lunch will be served from 11:30am-1:00pm. Parish Hall, Grace Episcopal Church. 3472549.


event features a free craft drawing every 20 minutes, a bake sale, a handmade quilt raffle, and food. 9am-1pm. 8610159.

November 9-10


time music, storytellers, and historical re-enactors portraying North Central Florida during the 1800s. $7. Silver River Museum. 8am-3pm. 236-5401.

Nov. 9-Jan. 5


Along with the popular Dickens Village, see several of the Urban family’s beloved themed trees throughout the museum. Appleton Museum. or 2914455.

November 10


EXPERIENCE—Since 2016,

Join us for our holiday services!

brothers Zachary and Dylan Zmed have celebrated the pivotal music and history of the duo’s legacy. Tickets from $15. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 3511606.

Thanksgiving Eve 11/27 at 7:00pm

Midweek Advent


Chorale community chorus will sing traditional patriotic favorites as well as present inspirational pieces to honor veterans. Free. 3pm. Countryside Presbyterian Church. VETERANS LIGHT THE STARS—Come for a special

evening of music, fireworks, and American spirit to remember the brave men and women who have served, and continue to serve, our nation. Bring a lawn chair and blanket, or make use of the bleacher seating. 6:30pm. Ocala/ Marion County Veterans’ Park. or 624-9291.


12/4, 12/11, 12/18 at 11:00am

Christmas Eve

12/24 at 4:00pm & 7:00pm

Christmas Day 12/25 at 10:00am

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church 5200 SW College Road • Ocala, FL 34474 (352) 237-2233 •

Turn Your Old Records & CDs Into Cash!

November 12

VA BENEFITS—There have

been many recent changes to VA healthcare, presumptive service connected conditions for veterans, and state laws that affect veterans. Come learn about these changes. 2-3pm. Senior Wellness Community Center. or 800-530-1188. VETERANS RECEPTION AND RECOGNITION—Ocala

Health is proud to support our veterans and honor their contributions and sacrifices to our great nation. Please allow us to recognize you at this reception. Friends and family welcome. Refreshments provided. 3:15-4:30pm. Senior Wellness Community Center. or 800530-1188.

We're looking for: Classic Rock • Jazz Mobile Fidelity Half-Speed Masters 24K Gold CDs

A BRONX TALE—Broadway’s

hit crowd-pleaser goes back to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s, where a young man is caught between the father he

Call: (352) 208-4242

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


LIGHT UP OCALA November 23 Kick off the holiday season at this annual downtown tradition. The streets come alive with food vendors, crafts, and entertainment for the whole family including the lighting of the tree. Downtown Ocala. 4-9pm. 629-2489.

loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. $45-70. 7:30pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

triathlon with dressage, show jumping, and cross-country jumps. Various times. Ocala Jockey Club. or 591-1212.

November 13

Nov. 14-Dec. 12


something a little more healthful than sweet potato casserole? Tired of the same green bean dish? In this cooking demonstration, explore new recipes that focus on real food. No marshmallows or condensed soup here! 10:30-11:30am. Senior Wellness Community Center. or 800-530-1188.

November 14


storytelling at one of the finest venues in north central Florida. Who knew lying could be so much fun! $5-$10. 6-8:30pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751 FUSED TUTU—Careening in

on a motorcycle with a ballerina in full tutu regalia, this full-length repertory program presented by the Dance Alive National Ballet pulls out all the stops! Tickets from $15. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606.

November 14-17


features a horse and rider



Presented by the Visual Artists’ Society, this exhibit shows the best works of the season. Free. 10am-4pm. Monday-Thursday. The Dassance Fine Arts Center, CF Ocala Campus. or 873-5810.

November 15


popularity is fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks, including “Sister Christian,” “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” and the anthemic “(You Can Still) Rock In America.” Tickets from $40. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. LIVERPOOL LIVE—A tribute

act featuring the hits of The Beatles, presented by 49th Place Productions. Rainbow Springs Country Club. 19330 SW 8th Place Road, Dunnellon. 7pm. $25-$37.

November 16


back in time to the world of the Impressionists at this one-ofa-kind fine dining experience under a starry night sky at the Appleton. Indulge your senses in the elegance of the scents, flavors, and music of the 1890s

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

in this authentically crafted multi-course formal fundraiser dinner, complete with wine pairings and décor of the era. Black tie or era-inspired dress is encouraged. $150. 6-9pm. Appleton Museum. or 2914455. VILLAGES CRAFT FAIR—

Come to this craft fair and experience the beautiful autumn weather. 8am-1pm. Saint Timothy’s Catholic Church, The Villages. CRITTER TRAIL 5K WALK/ RUN—The race will begin at

the Silver Springs Boardwalk and run through trails within the park. All proceeds benefit Silver Springs State Park. 9:30am. For race details and to register online, please go to runsignup. com/race/fl/silversprings/ crittertrail5k.

November 16-17


100,000 people are expected to join in the festivities, a juried fine arts festival, produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. Exquisite artwork by 240 of the finest artists and craftspeople in the country will decorate the streets from City Hall to the Hippodrome State Theatre. 10am-5pm. or 393-8536.

November 17



program “rich with energy” and “unusually adventurous,” this orchestra is considered one of the finest in Eastern Europe. $45-65. 7:30pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

November 19


The captivating sound of nine voices coming together to make extraordinary music that moves people in a fundamental sense—and with a sense of humor. $30-55. 7:30pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

November 20


for classes scheduled January through June of 2020 at Master the Possibilities. Pick up a copy of the new catalog and learn about what exciting new offerings await you! Meet the faculty members and enter for your chance to win a free seat in a class! Free. 1-3pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751

November 22


the William Goldman novel, this American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film was

directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner and stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and Christopher Guest and is presented by the Insomniac Theatre Company. $20. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. THE CIA MUSEUM: A PRIVATE TOUR—While not

open to the public, CIA retiree Dr. Wyman was recently given exclusive permission to create this unique program, which includes many espionage artifacts never before made public and details of declassified intelligence operations and the brave people who carried them out. $10-$15. 10-11:30am. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751 BRIA SKONBERG—An

undeniable force in the new generation of jazz, Skonberg brilliantly blends respect for tradition with passion for the future. $35-50. 7pm and 9pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

Nov. 22-Dec. 22


quick-witted, cross-dressing version of the Charles Dickens classic done in style of the British Music Hall abounds in bad puns, bawdy humor, and witty songs. The Hippodrome Theatre, Gainesville. or 375-HIPP.

November 23


kick-off of the holiday season and lighting of the tree. Includes food, crafts, and entertainment for the whole family. Downtown Ocala. 4-9pm. 629-2489. HANDEL’S MESSIAH AND MORE!— Hear the Ocala

Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Orchestra, under the direction of Joshua Mazur, in an everinspiring performance to usher in the heart of the holiday season!

Tickets from $15. 3pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. THE HIT MEN: LEGENDARY ROCK SUPERGROUP—This show

stars legendary musicians and singers who performed with Elton John, Cat Stevens, Journey, Jim Croce, Three Dog Night, The Rascals, The Turtles, and Carly Simon. $30-34. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter. com or 854-3670.

November 23-24


Over 180 national artists will display and sell their artwork in the historic downtown shopping district, just in time for holiday gift-giving. 10am-5pm. or 738-5705.

Nov. 25-Dec. 1


Contestants will be flying in from over the world to compete in very fast relay races on welltrained ponies. The sport is high energy and loud cheering is encouraged! or 307-6699.

November 26


presence. $24-28. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter. com or 854-3670. MTRA HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS MARKET—Featuring

arts-and-crafts vendors, music, a vintage car show, animals from Ambassadors of Nature, and games for kids and adults of all sizes. There will also be a holiday photo booth area. Marion Therapeutic Riding Association. 10am-5pm. 732-7300.

Nov. 30-Dec. 1


In order to qualify, competitors had to show in three out of the five shows prior to this competition. The action will kick off at 8am on Saturday, November 30 and will run all day Saturday and Sunday. Florida Horse Park. or 307-6699.

Nov. 30-Dec. 22


We join a troupe of veritable Victorian actors as they weave the web of this cherished holiday tale. Times and prices vary. The Hippodrome Theatre, Gainesville. or 375-HIPP.

December 1, 13, 15


by popular demand, the groundbreaking banjoist, composer, and bandleader has reconvened the original lineup of his Grammy award-winning quartet. $30-55. 7:30pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

SERIES—Under the direction

of Dr. Harold W. McSwain and accompanied by GayLyn Capitano and The New Moon String Ensemble. Free, donations welcomed. Dec. 1: 3pm at Countryside Presbyterian Church. Dec. 13: 7pm at Reilly Arts Center. Dec. 15: 3pm at Dunnellon Presbyterian Church. or 237-3035.

December 3

TRAVEL, CULTURE & BEYOND—The mainland of

Greece has so much to offer. Go to the Acropolis, Athens, Delphi, Meteora, Olympia, and many other sites. $5. 10am-12pm. University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at or call 239-8780.

December 4


Warren Caterson to learn how to enjoy the holidays without spending all of your time in the kitchen. This special event is limited to the first 30 participants and includes small samples of some of the items prepared. $20-$25. 2-3pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751

DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL & ART SHOW November 16 & 17 More than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend this nationally recognized event featuring 240 talented artists who showcase their work. Ranked as the 16th best fine art show in the nation! Downtown Gainesville. 10am-5pm. or 352-334-ARTS.

November 29


Zatylny has been captivating audiences by carrying on the musical tradition of Freddie Mercury since 2000. His amazing likeness with the original matches his performance of Queen songs both through his voice and his unmistakable stage

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined



meeting that provides support, encouragement, and information to people with diabetes and their friends and families. 10:30am11:30pm. Ozark Bank building, second floor. ocalahealthsystem. com or 800-530-1188.

December 6


evening with the family in Tuscawilla Park featuring the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and the Ocala Youth Symphony. Jenkins Open Air Theatre. 7:30pm. or 369-1500. CF PRISM CONCERT—A

fast paced showcase concert featuring the best of Visual and Performing Arts band and vocal ensembles in the Dassance Fine Arts Center. Free. 7-9pm. The Dassance Fine Arts Center, CF Ocala Campus. or 873-5810. BRING THE HARVEST HOME—Annual food drive held

by the Marion County Board of

County Commissioners on behalf of Brother’s Keeper, Interfaith Emergency Services and Salvation Army. 7:30am-1:30pm. Downtown Ocala Square.

December 7


Weir Yacht Club, this popular holiday event starts at Carney Island and heads along the north shore wrapping up at Eaton’s Beach for a party and awards ceremony. There are multiple locations to view the parade, including Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grille and Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill. 5:30pm. THE URBAN FAMILY HOLIDAY—Sponsored by

the Urban family, enjoy free admission all day. From 10am to 5pm, enjoy the holiday displays and exhibitions and make holiday-inspired art. Take carriage rides, have photos taken with Santa, and enjoy light refreshments. 1-3pm. Appleton Museum. or 291-4455. MAVIS STAPLES—Get Off The

Bus Concerts and Visit Mount Dora are pleased to present Mavis Staples with special guest Charlie Musselwhite. Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Mavis Staples is the kind of once-in-ageneration artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. $83-95. 7pm. Mount Dora Plaza Live. or 234-3755.

December 7-8



leads the Ocala Symphony Orchestra on its annual trip through favorite holiday music. Anything can happen—and usually does—at this annual concert! $15-35. 7:30pm on Saturday, 3:00pm on Sunday. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 369-1500. KINGDOM OF THE SUN BAND—Come see the band

Photo: Myriam Santos

December 7 Get Off The Bus Concerts and Visit Mount Dora are pleased to present Mavis Staples with special guest Charlie Musselwhite. Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Mavis Staples is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. $83-95. 7pm. Mount Dora Plaza Live. or 234-3755.


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


Take a look at each continent’s savanna and prairie ecosystems and the unique animals that call these areas home. This class will include a special animal guest. $12-$17. 11am-12:30pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751

December 10

Women’s Connection invites ladies to attend their luncheon at the Hilton of Ocala. Items will be available for purchase for last-minute Christmas shopping and Fran Kashchy will be sharing her story, “Fairy Tales Can Come True.” $22. Call Eve at 7327053 or Claudia at 288-2126 for reservations by Monday, December 2nd.

December 10-11

perform their Christmas set, including timeless songs such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” as well as other selections. 2pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Marion Technical Institute. or 624-9291.


December 8




December 9

Celebrate the spirit of the holidays with Metropolitan Opera star Sherrill Milnes and soprano Maria Zouves as they present beautiful artists in a concert that will bring back memories and make new ones. Free admission with ticket from box office. 1pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. or 854-3670. HOLIDAY CONCERT—The

Marion Civic Chorale community chorus will sing traditional holiday favorites. Free. 3pm. St. George Anglican Cathedral.

all-time family favorite is filled with joyous dancing from the professionals at the Dance Alive National Ballet. A holiday tradition! $15-35. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 369-1500.

December 11

ready for a Celtic Christmas! This engaging and successful ensemble has shared timeless Irish traditions with audiences worldwide for over 30 years. $25-45. 7:30pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. or 800905-2787.

Dec. 11- Mar. 22


HITS returns to Post Time Farm for the 38th Edition of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Join us in the sun for 10 weeks of USEFRated show jumping competition. HITS Post Time Farm. hitsshows. com or 620-2275.

December 12



presentation will highlight the story of the automobile’s earliest innovations and conflicts and will peer into the future. $7-$12. 3-4pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751.

December 14 Includes three of the original members, including Glenn Leonard who was their lead tenor from 1975-83 and recorded 10 albums with the group. His signature version of “Silent Night” is one of the most played songs at Christmas. $30-34. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. or 854-3670.


vaudeville-esque revue that focuses on the crazy antics that happen at a full-service retirement community during the holidays. Tickets from $15. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. AFTER HOURS CONCERT—

Enjoy music, food, and fun with a virtuoso string quartet made up of members of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra playing waltzes and other selections from the 1800s. $15. 5-8pm. Appleton Museum. or 2914455.

December 13-15

WINE & CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL—Enjoy live music by

incredible bands on the outdoor stage throughout the entire weekend. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks, and a variety of food will be available for purchase, along with complimentary winery tours and tastings. $10. 10am5pm Friday and Saturday, 11am5pm Sunday. lakeridgewinery. com or (800) 768-9463.

December 14

OCALA CHRISTMAS PARADE—Attracts over 60,000

spectators who line up along more than two miles of East Silver Springs Blvd. 5:30pm. or 840-1857.


of “Phantasmagoria,” Christmas may be considered a festive time of year, but through the many

centuries of literature, folklore, and legend, it is also a time filled with quiet (or not-so-quiet) terrors lurking in the night! NOTE: Recommended for children 8 and up. Tickets from $15. 10pm (doors open at 9pm). Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606. GLENN LEONARD’S TEMPTATIONS REVUE—

Includes three of the original members, including Glenn Leonard who was their lead tenor from 1975-83 and recorded 10 albums with the group. His signature version of “Silent Night” is one of the most played songs at Christmas. $30-34. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. or 8543670.

December 15


Marion Civic Chorale community chorus will sing traditional holiday favorites. Free. 3pm. First Presbyterian Church. FINDING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS—A festive, one-

hour, one-man show for all ages presented by author and speaker Jason Korsiak. Free. 3pm. Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. 237-2233.

December 17


some great fun and terrific food.

$5. 1:30-3:30pm. University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at or call 2398780.

December 18


Jerry Snyder for an evening candlelight session in Master the Possibilities’ Living Room, featuring some of the most engaging storytellers in Marion County and beyond. Free-$5. 5-7pm. 8415 SW 80th St. Suite 2. or 861-9751. ANCIENT TEXTS IN CONTEXT—This discussion

will consider one of the most famous people of all time, Jesus of Nazareth, and look at what ancient texts—scriptural and secular—really say (and do not say) about him. $5. 1:30-3:30pm. University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at or call 239-8780.

December 20


returns to the stage with its own uniquely dark adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale. Tickets from $15. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606.

December 21


Chicago native has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. He’ll play his chart-topping “Hold on to the Nights” and other big hits like “Don’t Mean Nothing” in an allacoustic format. Tickets from $25. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. or 351-1606.

December 21-22


Celebrate the holiday season with the Dance Alive National Ballet in this all-time family favorite with beautiful dancing, sets, and costumes. $30-45. Saturday, 2:00pm and 7:30pm. Sunday 2pm. The Phillips Center, Gainesville. performingarts.ufl. edu or 800-905-2787.

December 21-30

TRAINS AT THE HOLIDAYS—Built and operated

by local members of the Ocala Model Railroaders, the exhibit features modular train layouts inspired by historical local area landmarks, such as the Six-Gun Territory. Webber Center Gallery. 11am-5pm. Free. 873-5809.

January 2


With superlative vocals and musicianship, dynamic enthusiasm, and a genuine love of the music they perform, this group strives to recreate the magic of an era. $30-67. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. or 854-3670.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


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Nov/Dec 2019