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JUL/AUG 2019

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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!

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OCALA’S

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Ocala’s

GOOD LIFE

TM

JUL/AUG 2019

28 PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

departments

features

6

Good Team

20

Under The Big Top

8

The Editor’s Desk

The livin’ is easy. By Dean Blinkhorn

BY RICK ALLEN

Good Start

28

A Far-Out Theme Park

BY DEAN BLINKHORN

32

Little Horses, Big Magic

BY JOANN GUIDRY

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26

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The talented staff behind Ocala’s Good Life.

Quick looks at our community. By Claudia O’Brien & Steve Floethe

Out & About

A symphony under the stars. By Dave Miller

My Turn

Combating news negativity. By Steve Floethe

Just My Type

My mockingbird. By Mary Ellen Barchi

Out & About

Palm Cay’s variety show. By Steve Floethe

Brian LaPalme has been an illusionist, a ringmaster, and a fire eater. His remarkable career has been lived under the lights.

Sure, you can go see a mouse with a funny voice, a giant whale, or a nearby film studio, but only one park in Central Florida can tout real-life thrills from the history books: Kennedy Space Center. And with a dedicated space shuttle attraction and private space flights cranking up, now’s the perfect time to go.

The tiny-hoofed wonders of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses bring joy and comfort wherever they go.

Out & About

Ocala goes over the edge. By Steve Floethe

Good Eats

Take a drive to the Iron Skillet. By Rick Allen

Cuisine Queen

on the cover

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All the latest restaurant news. By Paula DiPaula

Dining Guide

Highlights of some of the area’s best restaurants.

Out & About

The Buzzcatz Band. By Steve Floethe

Plan Ahead

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

Puzzle Page

Sweet Summer Snacks There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit—watermelon—are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.

RECIPES & PHOTOS COURTESY NATIONAL WATERMELON BOARD

Spend a few minutes with the crossword or Sudoku.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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“Rio”

Ocala’s

Confused about Medicare?

GOOD LIFE

TM

MAGAZINE

ocalasgoodlife.com JUL/AUG 2019 Publisher/Art Director Trevor Byrne

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

trevor@ocalasgoodlife.com

Publisher/Editor Dean Blinkhorn

dean@ocalasgoodlife.com

Project Manager Cynthia Brown

cynthia@ocalasgoodlife.com

Writers

Rick Allen, Amanda Clark-Rudolph, Mary Ellen Barchi, James Blevins, Paula DiPaula, Debi Lander, Claudia O’Brien

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

Direct: 352-775-7093 Office: 352-205-7032 Cell: 352-216-1680 gail.patel@bankerslife.com

Kaye Schultz

Distribution

Jammie Crawford • Heidi Justice

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

MC4

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

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Florida License Number W094702 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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a good team

staff & contributors 4

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3 10

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Welcome Cynthia!

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When Paula DiPaula is not visiting new Wayne Smith is a designer and illusMary Ellen Barchi is a native New 1 restaurants in the area, she’s working off 5 trator from Ocala. He’ll be spending 10 Yorker residing in Ocala since 1990. those calories with kayaking, boating, camp- some time urban sketching with ink and As a columnist, she writes from personal ing 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.

2

Dean Blinkhorn is a past Florida Magazine Association Editor of the Year who loves publishing. When he’s not working on 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.

3

Life, as they always say, is an adventure and a new adventure has begun for this pair. Steve Floethe is still as busy as ever as a photographer and writer for Ocala’s Good Life magazine and as a news videographer in the local area for Orlando TV stations. Claudia O’Brien, however, has decided to take a step back from all that fun. This issue is the last one in which she and Steve are putting together the Good Start section in OGL and she will no longer be writing her regular column, On Second Thought. She hopes “down the road” to be able to spend more time on her artwork (lightations.com) and perhaps get back to writing some longer features for OGL.

James Blevins is a recipient of the Louis 4 Chazal Journalism Award from the College of Central Florida. When he isn’t writing

freelance feature stories, James is writing 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.

6

watercolor this summer in Tokyo and near Mount Fuji. You can catch up on his travels, illustration and photography at his website, smithandfritzy.com.

experiences 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.

nity 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.

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!

Carol DeWitt is living happily ever 6 after in On Top of the World with her Sally Tinkham and her husband, Alan, husband Bruce, having relocated from Wilm- 11 have lived in Dunnellon more than 35 ington, Delaware. They have many commuyears after living in Connecticut and Rhode

Kaye Schultz has been working in the 7 publishing business for over 23 years. She recently bought a new home that she is

looking forward to remodeling and moving into later this summer. 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.

Marci Sandler has been a professional 12 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!

Trevor Byrne and his wife Dawn just Cynthia Brown has 20 years of local 8 hatched chickens for the first time. Out 13 publishing experience and is a self-deof the seven adorable chicks that hatched, scribed “organizational nerd” and “spreadfive turned out to be roosters. Needless to say, mornings have gotten a lot more lively in the Byrne backyard! Luckily, the little roosters haven’t developed strong crows yet and are all getting along... for now. Four of them will have to be re-homed, but they plan on keeping “Dash” to join their adult rooster, Alex, in keeping the hens in line.

As a child John Jernigan would often 9 be found drawing and coloring with leftover prisma color pencils and supplies 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.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

sheet 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 14 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.


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the editor’s desk Summer Fun

by dean blinkhorn [dean@ocalasgoodlife.com]

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” —George Gershwin

T

rue confession. I’m writing most of my notes for this column while stretched out in the comfort of a recent Father’s Day gift. The shade of a nearby tree, the refreshing chill of a cold craft beer, and the strains of the above Gershwin standard courtesy of John Coltrane (see sidebar), were the perfect accompaniments for a surprisingly cool summer afternoon spent in the backyard with the hammock. Yes, the livin’ is easy in the summer, at least relatively speaking. As a bi-monthly publication, the deadlines never really stop, but they do seem to ease a bit when the mercury tests the thermometer. Since our publication company also helms other products, mostly due in the cooler months, the summer certainly seems easier. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. It reminds me a bit of my The deadlines college experience. You see, I never really put myself through an undergraduate degree at the nearby stop, but they of Florida, so I aldo seem to ease University ways balanced work and school. Most days, I had both, which a bit when the an early start before mercury tests the meant sunrise to commute to Gainesville, walk across campus for my thermometer. full-time class load, and then commute back to Ocala for an afternoon shift at Camelot Music. Once I caught a late dinner and did my reading for the next day, I might be lucky if I had 30 minutes to catch part of ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” or “The Tonight Show” before catching some Z’s and starting over. The days when I only had one—either school or work—felt much lighter, and the days I truly had off were like gifts from above. Of course, I always took off during the summer terms, so the livin’ was definitely a little easier then. Kinda like now. Sort of. This summer, things are a little more complicated. The months ahead will bring a slew of additional assignments, a weeklong conference in California, and a birthday vacation on the beach. For that last one, we’ll be headed to a pristine spot north of the Clearwater area, which is a part of Florida my family hasn’t really ever explored to any great detail. New adventures and new experiences, especially with a close family, are always a tremendous amount of fun.

8

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

And then the deadlines will kick in again. Until then, my plan is to let the strains of that 1935 classic from “Porgy and Bess” last as long as possible, which is what I hope you’ll do this summer as well. Enjoy the slower pace—and the issue you hold in your hands— and take your time with the ideas our team has curated for you. For example, have you been to Kennedy Space Center lately? Do you like watermelon? Have you seen “Rocketman” yet? See? Your high season will be filling up fast. Just savor every moment of it. All the best,

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

What’s Dean Playing? “Elton John”—After catching the amazing “Rocketman” in theaters, this is the record I can’t get enough of, one that contains no less than seven Elton classics, including “Border Song,” “Sixty Years On,” and “Your Song.” Stray Cats, “40”—The rockabilly band’s tenth record and first in 26 years is a typically rip-roarin’ set, especially hard-charging tracks like “Cat Fight” and “Mean Pickin’ Mama.” Crank it up! “The Gentle Side Of John Coltrane”—After seeing the wonderful documentary “Chasing Trane” on Netflix, I pulled this killer anthology from 1975 off my shelves. Get lost in the sublime “Soul Eyes,” “Lush Life,” and “Alabama” and rediscover a true musical genius.


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good start

By Claudia O’Brien & Steve Floethe

THEN & NOW:

Ocala’s Gazebo

I

t’s kind of hard to imagine Ocala’s Downtown Square without its iconic gazebo, but there was quite a long period of time when it wasn’t there. The original gazebo that once graced the southeast corner of the old courthouse in the late 1800s disappeared sometime in the early 1900s. No one is quite sure exactly why or when. The historical significance of the iconic structure remained, however, because of its role in Ocala’s history. It had been the site of a 1908 speech given by former Democratic Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. After it disappeared though, it would take more than seven decades before the structure’s replacement materialized. According to local historian David Cook, in the 1960s and ‘70s Ocala’s city fathers, in some kind of effort to “modernize” the city, began tearing down historic buildings,

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including the old courthouse. They decided the void left by the old governmental structure would be filled by a memorial fountain dedicated to the late Wisdom O’Neil, a local car dealer, businessman, and banker. But the fountain, never a favorite of many locals, failed to live up to its esthetic (or mechanical) potential and was turned off in the mid-1980s. “The maintenance became a major problem,” says David. “And by then no one in downtown Ocala even knew who O’Neil was anymore.” It was time for a change. The Historic Ocala Preservation Society (HOPS) stepped in and spearheaded a campaign that led to a redesign of the town square. Its centerpiece would be a modernized replica of the original 1800s gazebo. The new gazebo was completed in 1986.

Ever Wonder? n Do married people

really live longer than unmarried people or does it just seem that way?

n Why do the “ABC

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n What is the speed of

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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good start

Up, Up & Away

Ocala’s new general aviation terminal at Ocala International Airport is quickly taking shape. The 17,500 square-foot singlestory terminal is on track for completion by the end of this year. “The building will be turned over to the city December 4th,” reports Airport Director Matt Grow. “We will have the grand opening around mid-January.” The $7.1-million facility will house Sheltair Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator, airport administration, a still-tobe-named restaurant (the lease for which is being currently negotiated), and three car rental services. Matt says that a larger parking area is being added, as well. “Everyone is excited,” he says. “It’s amazing how quickly it’s happening.”

Avoiding ‘Wrap Rage’

Finally! Here’s a solution of sorts for opening most blister packs to get to the product inside without resorting to a hedge trimmer or an axe. Until manufacturers, retailers, and packaging firms figure out a better way to make packages stealproof, just try using a hand-powered can opener. Consumer Reports says that companies spend $130 billion a year on boxes, bags, and the troublesome “blister” packs, also referred to as “oysters” or “clamshells.” Packaging accounts for roughly 7 percent of a product’s overall cost and, of course, it gets passed along to us, the consumers. Source: dumpaday.com

GOOD DEEDS:

Dentistry From The Heart

B

ack in 2009, Ocala dentist Dr. Stephen Dunn offered his first Dentistry From The Heart event to help take care of a need he saw in the community. The mission of the annual program is to provide a day of free dental services for anyone in the Ocala area that needs dental care but can’t afford to pay for it. In the spring, dentists and other specialists from Dr. Dunn’s practice, Dentistry at Bridlewood, along with other local dental professionals, took part in the 10th annual edition of the event. A total of 18 professionals donated their time and expertise to serve the patients who came for services at the Bridlewood office on SR 200. Students in the dental assistant program at the College of Central Florida also took part, as did University of

12

Florida dental students. Lisa Mitchell, office manager for Dentistry at Bridlewood, reports that 201 patients were seen during the day-long event and approximately 300 procedures were performed. Services included dental cleanings, fillings, extractions, and root canals. There was no charge to be treated that day and those that required follow-up visits because of the nature of their procedures were seen subsequently at the office at no charge. Mitchell says that Dr. Dunn and his associates believe that the annual event has contributed to the health community’s awareness of the need for free dental care. She notes that the Freedom Clinic in Ocala has been very supportive of the efforts and has also provided dental care for those local patients who can’t afford it.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

Doctor of Medical Dentistry Dr. Ann Kwok treats a patient during the Dentistry From The Heart event.


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good start

Rear: Pam Reed, JoAnn Hagen, and Elaine Wilson. In front: Dennis Gilkey and Bing Svensson.

GOOD GROUP:

Catching Up With The River Patrol

M

embers of the group are called The Silver Springs State Park River Patrol. Their mission is to protect the natural beauty of Silver Springs and its environment and to encourage visitors to use safe boating practices and to comply with park regulations. Pam Reed heads up the all-volunteer group. “We make sure everyone is safe and not disturbing our springs,” she explains. Pam and her husband Jerry moved to Ocala from Pennsylvania back in 1978. She retired back in 1985, after many years working as a teacher’s aide and subsequently with Florida’s Probation and Parole Services. These days, she devotes at least 16 hours a week to the volunteer river patrol. She estimates that she’s put in nearly 2,000 hours carrying out patrol duties over the years. She and her fellow patrol members provide their own kayaks, paddles, personal floatation devices, and uniforms. The only real problem Pam and

14

Keep your distance. Do not go under them. Do not stare them in the eyes.” Also, she warns people if they see an alligator lying along the bank to not paddle over to it. Keep their distance. Sometimes kayakers confuse the park’s natural wildlife with the animatronic ones found in some theme parks. “We’ve been asked, ‘Are those real alligators?’” says Pam, laughing. The patrol covers a broad area, starting from the kayak launching area located at the south end of the spring’s parking area, out to the main river, then downstream seven tenths of a mile, and then back to the launch area via the paddle trail. Pam says there is another group of volunteers called the AMP (Aquatic Motor Patrol) that monitors motorboats downriver all the way to Ray Wayside Park. The River Patrol is currently limited to 25 members. But during the summer, some members leave to go north for awhile, and the numbers drop down a bit. So, if you are interested in volunteering, you are asked to contact the park rangers and they in turn will contact Pam. Contacts are Ranger Kilmer or Ranger Craig Littauer at (352) 236-7148.

her patrol members have is when people decide to swim in the river. “That is a no-no,” she says. “Swimming is strictly prohibited because it damages the shoreline and invites litter. “Most of the people who come know how to kayak,” she continues. “There may be 20 to 30 percent who are totally new, so when we see them in the river and they are having trouble paddling, we show them how to paddle backward and turn their kayaks.” Aside from teaching kayakers how to maneuver their crafts, patrol members have to constantly warn them about the monkeys. “The monkeys Pam Reed are dangerous,” she stresses. “Do not feed them. Do not approach them.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


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OUT & ABOUT

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Featuring the music of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, a beautiful setting on the fairway of the Ocala Golf Club, and fireworks during the rousing finale, this has become a must-attend event for local art-lovers of all ages. Photos By Dave Miller

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

17


my turn

by Steve Floethe [steve@ocalasgoodlife.com]

Combating News Negativity

W

e are being bombarded by bad news like no other time in history. Social media, TV, the internet, and 24-hour cable news has us glued to our electronic devices. We are addicted out of the fear we might miss something important. We are habituated to anything that screams “Breaking News!” and in a perverse way, we seem to enjoy wallowing in a world distorted by negativity and fear. My mother, bless her soul, decided in her late 70s that when we went to visit or phone her, we were not to discuss anything remotely bad. “I don’t want to hear it,” she would say. “I only want to hear good news.” That was in 1976. Can you imagine if she came back now? She would want to live in a cave. My wife Claudia, now in her 70s, has adopted the same mindset. But unfortunately for her I’m still a news junkie, because I cover news for a living. I’m a stringer (a freelance videographer) that covers Marion County for the TV stations in Orlando. Much of what I cover is crime- or death-related. And I must admit I’m beginning to tire of it all. Nearly every local newscast starts with a shooting somewhere in Central Florida. For the viewer,

As older adults, we may hate the 24-hour news cycle, but we can choose to turn it off—or not turn it on at all.

18

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

such coverage, unless it’s in your own backyard, is just so much background noise, like a darksounding Muzak. As older adults, we may have come to hate the 24-hour news cycle, but we have the option of bringing an adult perspective to it. We can choose to turn it off—or not turn it on at all. Fortunately, surveys show teenagers rarely watch the news, but they are still faced with something equally if not more stressful: social media. And it might be more insidiously negative to their mental health then anyone thought. So I can understand and sympathize with why teens find the escapism of gaming and virtual reality as a way to insulate themselves from the world outside their bedrooms. There is now mounting proof that teenage addiction to social media seems to promote teenage depression and a host of other mental health problems. Most scarily, we are witnessing an ever-growing number of non-self-directed young people who say they see no future for themselves and no reason for living. My high school-aged grandson, in what I hope is an exaggeration, says everyone he knows is depressed about his or her future. So how do you answer a teenager who asks, “What’s the purpose of life? I have to go to school, then get a job, a car, maybe get married, a house, have kids, pay taxes, grow old, and then die. What’s the sense of it all? Why are we even going through the motions?” As parents, grandparents, teachers, or mentors, can we ever answer them honestly? Is there relevancy to life? I suppose the simplest and best answer is this—only if you give it purpose and only if you can find something to be passionate about. If achieved, both can be the steering force that drives away the demons of negativity while providing us with a positive sense of self-worth. Most importantly, both will sustain us along life’s uneven journey.


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Photo: Steve Floethe

GOOD NEIGHBOR: BRIAN LAPALME

Under The Big Top

Brian LaPalme has been an illusionist, a ringmaster, and a fire eater. His remarkable career has been lived under the lights. BY RICK ALLEN

O

nce, a common childhood dream was to run away to join the circus. Most of us outgrew that desire. ​Not Brian LaPalme. ​“Even at seven years old,” he admits, “I knew I wanted to be the center of attention.” ​Not only did he sign with the Royal Ranch Wild West Circus at 17, he convinced his school superintendent in Willimantic, Connecticut, to let him graduate a month early so he could join up. But the superintendent had a condition—maintain a B-plus average and he could go. His mother, Carol Maine, wasn’t

happy about it. “I’d been accepted by the Culinary Institute of America,” he says. “My mother said, ‘As an entertainer, you’ll always be looking for your next job. As a chef you’ll always have one.’” Brian got the grades and left home in May 1976 for the circus. ​Of the job, Brian recalls, “I could be the guy who cleans up after the elephants or be a clown. I taught myself to clown.” ​It was a start. IN A CAREER SPANNING four decades and 20 different circus production companies, Brian rose from a common clown to a two-time gold medal-win-

ning ringmaster of the George Carden Circus, the largest in the U.S. after Ringling wrapped in 2017. A tent was named for him by the Circus Fans Association of America. ​“My hat is off to this young artist,” wrote James Roller, general manager of the Allan C. Hill Great American Circus, in 1994. “He has fast become one of the top performers in our business and is a personal and professional credit to the circus world.” ​Brian was with the Great American Circus from 1990 to mid-season 1994 as illusionist, fire eater, and ringmaster. That span included a 1991

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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stop here. “That’s when I discovered Ocala,” he says. “I have seen many performers come and go,” adds owner Allan Hill, “but none could compare to the impact that [his] presence produced in my tent.” ​But it wasn’t always easy. THERE ARE FEW SCHOOLS teaching the skills needed. Florida State University’s Flying High Circus claims to be one of two collegiate circuses in the U.S. Most circus folk are born into it. ​Maybe he innately knew, but Brian studied magic and makeup through high school. Other skills he taught himself. ​Two years after he joined Royal Ranch, it closed in Valdosta. Brian, still not 20, had a week to leave the compound. In town then was Norman Brooks’ Strange People Circus Sideshow. Brooks’ only need was a fire eater. ​“I lied,” Brian admits. “I told him I could, but I wasn’t very good.” Still, he needed the job and had the offseason to learn. He recalled that he couldn’t practice in his tiny 13-foot trailer at a campground on the Georgia-Florida line. “I had to practice outside,” sometimes in windy conditions that made

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self-learning a challenge in an era before YouTube videos. “I burned my face, burned my nose, but by March the burns were healed and I could do a fourminute show.” Among his concerns were making sure his head was tilted back correctly and that there wasn’t too much fuel on the wands. And the skeptics. “That’s just cold fire,” he recalls one scoffing. “Cold fire!” Brian exclaims. “After all these years I still don’t know what ‘cold fire’ is.” Brian considers his time with Brooks “my four years of college. He taught me to be a front talker, to target my words to the region, how to make people want to buy a ticket. “I learned how to be a performer.” ​ WHAT FOLLOWED WAS A STRING of shows big and small. His travels took him to every state and Canada, with long days and little time off. Typically there was a “six pack of shows”—three on Saturday, three on Sunday—on weekends in larger cities, with stops in smaller towns during the week. Though “on” from 10am to 11:30pm, there was always time to meet fans. One of the joys was when celebrities—big names on television and movies—showed up. “They just want to have a good time with their kids,” Brian says. One memorable encounter was “when Gary Burghoff (Radar on “M*A*S*H”) stopped by,” he says. “He went out of his way to be nice.” Brian adds that as they talked, he noticed the actor’s hand looked unusual. “‘Oh, that,’ he said, ‘it’s not a big

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

deal.’ It’s been that way a long time.” Actually, all his life. Burghoff ’s listing in the Internet Movie Database notes the actor was born with a deformed left hand. During the run of “M*A*S*H,” the crew positioned his hand behind a clipboard, Radar’s teddy bear, or under a desk. Other delightful encounters, Brian says, included Meryl Streep and David Canary of “All My Children.” But not all of them were so delightful. One movie star he prefers not to identify showed up in Connecticut. “This actor was the hero of young Samson Zerbini in our show, who was about 8 at the time.” Brian says he took the child into the stands to get an autograph, but was told no. “We’re not here to sign autographs,” he says the actor told the heartbroken child. “We’re here to see the show. And don’t tell them [the audience] I’m here, either.” ​ OWN ON THE FLOOR, Brian explains, D the ringmaster is in charge of running a 2-1/2 hour show as a defacto onstage stage manager. “He has to know what to do and what to cut at need.” Moreover, he’s a cheerleader and guide, holding our experience in his hands. “We want people to laugh, to yell and scream.” Brian often took on other tasks: chef, magician, fire eater. He even perfected the “Human Volcano,” a 30-foot blast of flame, much like the dragons in “Game of Thrones.” He taught the trick to professional wrestler Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat. The act earned him a bronze medal at the 1992 Sarasota International Circus Festival, where in 1993 and 1995 he earned gold as Ringmaster—the only person to win twice. As a magician, Brian is a companion of the “Order of Merlin,” an elite recognition of his 25 years as a Master Magician with the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He also is a member of the Society of American Magicians, a fraternity of professional magicians. In 1991, he published “The Circus Magician’s Handbook.” And


from his cooking days—including five months with the Big Apple Circus in New York City—he published the circus cookbook, “Cookhouse Favorites.” But he’s never had roots. “You know, I’ve never owned my own home or apartment,” he says, “never had a checkbook. My point of pride was my job.” Ocala is about as close to home as he’s had. He now works at Publix, but still performs magic acts here and in The Villages. In 1999 he helped with makeup for Ocala Civic Theatre’s “South Pacific,” where he met Jean-Pierre Leemans. They immediately bonded over magic. “When I was a teenager, my father bought me a set of magic rings, which I could never use because there were no instructions,” Leemans says. “Brian taught me step-by-step the routine. We remained friends since then.” ​Leemans even joined Brian on tour for two months. “This will remain one of my best memories.” Brian also connected with Janet Shelley, the theater instructor at West Port High School, and from time to time offers makeup clinics for her students. ​Earlier this year, he assisted with their “old-age” make-up for their “The Red Velvet Cake War” dinner theater. “He shares his knowledge with my students,” Shelley says. “Brian is one of my most favorite people in the world.” Both his sisters have asked him to come live with them, but he’s decided to stay in Ocala. IN JANUARY, circuses set out on the road as they’ve done for decades. But for the first time in 42 years, Brian stayed behind. Two years ago he had a pacemaker installed. “My doctor told me to stop,” he says, “but it took me two years to listen.” He’s sure he’s doing right thing. In Chicago during his final season, he says, a couple brought their young son to meet him. The child was decked out as a ringmaster. “I want to be the ringmaster of a circus when I grow up,”

he says the child told him. Brian says he was torn, pleased by the boy’s enthusiasm, but... “I didn’t want to crush his spirit,” he says. “Inside I wondered if there’d even be circuses when he’s old enough.” Circuses themselves, he continues, are evolving into more of the Cirque du Soleil model, one act after another without a ringmaster. “I thank God I got to do what I loved,” Brian says. Meanwhile, he’s at peace remaining

behind. “It was time,” Brian adds. “The circus is a lifestyle,” one lived 24/7, year in, year out. “It’s the greatest job. Not only can you see the greatest country in the world, but little towns, big towns. Every night you’re in front of a different audience,” he told circus journalist Lane Talburt in a 2017 YouTube interview. “And if you can make someone smile for a couple of minutes, you’ve done your job.”

The Wonderful World Of The Wild & Wacky Brian has seen everything in a four-decade career. WORKING WITH MOM: Probably the strangest sight of all for a young man early in his career was seeing his mother, decked out as a showgirl, helping entice carnival goers in for the show. “It was my last year with Brooks,” Brian says. “My mother and her friend came to visit me. One of the girls in the sideshow quit suddenly.” Brooks asked the women if they’d like to try, and to Brian’s astonishment they agreed. They put on the double eyelashes, the makeup, the fishnet tights and came out to work the crowds. “My mom was always shy,” Brian says. “I couldn’t believe it.” HELPING THE POLICE: In November 1984, while heading to a show in Holyoke, Massachusetts, he stopped at a Cumberland Farms store where he found police in the parking lot. The store had been robbed, and the clerk was wearing handcuffs the thief had put on her. “But these weren’t regulation cuffs, so they didn’t have a key,” he says. Brian told the police he was an “escape artist” with a circus, and asked to give it a try. “I pulled out a pick I carried in my wallet, and in about six minutes I had the lady freed.” Brian says he asked if he could have the cuffs, but was told no, they would probably be needed for evidence. MAKING “PARTS”: While with the Brooks’ Sideshow Circus, one character was billed as a hermaphrodite, a half-man, half-woman. “One day she came to me and asked if I could make for her a tiny [male sex organ],” Brian says. “I did, but it wasn’t small enough.” Two more tries and it was finally small enough. “She would wear it to quick flash the audience.” GOOD ADVICE: One of his prize possessions is the red sequined tailcoat given him by legendary Ringling Brothers ringmaster Harold Ronk. One performance Ronk was in the audience. “He had some advice for me, but he wouldn’t say until after the show,” Brian says. Anxious, he got through the second act. Finally, the words of wisdom: “‘wear your cummerbund higher,’ he said. ‘Everything else was fine,’” Brian adds. As Ronk told him, on shorter ringmasters, wearing the cummerbund higher “gives your legs a longer line, and you look taller.”

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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just my t y pe

by Mary Ellen Barchi [maryellen@ocalasgoodlife.com]

I Wanted To Kill A Mockingbird

T

o Kill a Mockingbird is the title of the beloved classic by Harper Lee, published in 1960, about racial injustice in the south during the great depression of 1929. Later immortalizing the main character, Atticus Finch with an Oscar-winning performance by Gregory Peck for best actor in the movie adaptation of 1963. If I close my eyes I can still envision that tender scene when Atticus—sitting on a porch swing with his daughter, Scout—tells her that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. In another scene, Miss Maudie explains to Scout that it is a sin because mockingbirds don’t hurt anyone. All they do is sing. What does this have to do with me? I wanted to kill one several nights ago because it wouldn’t stop singing. Of course, I would never actually do such a thing, but the thought did enter my mind to do bodily harm to the bird because I just wanted to get some sleep. What makes mockingbirds unique in the ornithology world is that they don’t chirp a solitary song. They copy or mock other birds, tweeting one melody after another in joyful abandon like flipping the channels on a TV. Or for the millennials who may be reading this, like surfing websites on the internet. You don’t need binoculars to confirm a mockingbird sighting. All you need to do is listen. New songs are added to its repertoire throughout its life, including unusual ones like frogs croaking, a person whistling, and a doorbell ringing. I guess I should be thankful my noisy friend didn’t serenade me that night by imitating my neighbor’s barking dogs. Now I enjoy the delightful lilting peeps of our

The thought did enter my mind because I just wanted to get some sleep.

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feathered friends like anyone else, and most species only sing their little hearts out during the light of day. But this bird—perched in a tree just outside my bedroom window—belted out one song after another in the dead of night as if it was auditioning for American Idol. On and on it trilled until, out of exhaustion, I finally fell asleep. At least if it had some show tunes on its playlist, I could have sung along. While researching this strange behavior the next day, I discovered it wasn’t so strange after all. Like the females, all adult male mockingbirds sing during the day. Only a bachelor sings at night. With the males and females looking alike, that makes it a lot less confusing for the single females looking for a mate. The only consolation for me is that any single female mockingbird within hearing range didn’t get any rest either. I also learned that the mockingbird is the state bird of Florida. And like Atticus so poignantly explained to Scout, that not only is it a sin to kill a Mockingbird, it’s also a crime. According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it’s illegal to kill, harm, or harass the mockingbird or any other migratory bird. So what’s a girl to do when the incessant melodies of a lovesick mockingbird keep her awake? Absolutely nothing until he attracts a mate. Then everyone can finally get some sleep.

Follow Mary Ellen Barchi on her blog, fromawriterspov.blogspot.com, and on Twitter: @writer_mebarchi OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


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OUT & ABOUT

5 Russ & Lin Warner

5 John Bianchi, Judy Madore 5 Cheryl Peden, president of the Palm Cay HOA, and Joan Milby, variety show coordinator

Palm Cay Flamingo Club Variety Show It was a full house at the community’s clubhouse that evening, with 180 residents on hand to enjoy 22 musical numbers and comedy skits. The theme was a tribute to the old Ed Sullivan Show featuring simulated TV transmissions, commercials, and popular acts from the 1960s. With proceeds from ticket sales, the Flamingo Club was able to contribute $300 to the Palm Cay Homeowners Association.

5 Karen Tieman

By Steve Floethe

5 Judy Quinlan

5 Angela & Larry Champagne

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DAYCATION—KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

‘Man’s Quest To Reach The Heavens’ By Dean Blinkhorn

Sure, you can go see a mouse with a funny voice, a giant whale, or a nearby film studio, but only one park in Central Florida can tout real-life thrills from the history books: Kennedy Space Center. And with a dedicated space shuttle attraction and private space flights cranking up, now’s the perfect time to go. 28

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

WHY GO? Having an active space program so close to us in Central Florida is one of the coolest things about living in the Sunshine State. Think of all the history made at the Kennedy Space Center—the Mercury rockets that explored space, the Apollo missions that touched the Moon, and the shuttle launches that made space travel efficient and routine— and we’re just a couple of hours away from reliving it all. Pretty awesome!

WHAT TO DO: There’s actually quite a bit to pack into the nine hours the park is open from 9am6pm daily. You’ll need to prioritize your must-see list to even attempt to get in a bus tour, the “Shuttle Launch Experience,” the three IMAX films, the astronaut museum, one of the astronaut Q&A sessions, and to fully tour the grounds. I’d recommend getting there at 9am sharp and take one of the first tours, since that takes about two hours round trip, then


the rest of your day will be contained within the visitors complex. The Saturn V tour is the absolute coolest part of the experience. The sheer size of the Saturn rocket is impressive enough, but you’ll also get to touch an actual moon rock and read up on the various aspects of America’s quest to reach the lunar surface. Don’t rush this part. Take pictures of the massive booster rocket, linger over the displays, and imagine what all this must have been like for these brave men. Back at the complex, the “Shuttle Launch Experience” is a simulator that puts you in the cockpit for a ride into outer space. Certainly not as intense as Disney’s “Mission: Space” ride, NASA’s version amps up the educational component and downplays the weightlessness factor. It’s a fun half hour, even if the storage lockers you have to use beforehand are a bit cumbersome. The relatively new shuttle exhibit, which opened after the shuttle fleet had been decommissioned, is as impressive as the Saturn experience, but doesn’t benefit from the extra viewing

Photos courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

The sheer size of the Saturn rocket is impressive enough, but you’ll also get to touch an actual moon rock. time of the bus ride. Still, the second you enter the massive hangar, almost completely dwarfed by the Atlantis, which was relocated to its new home at KSC in 2012, you’re reminded just how important those three decades of shuttle missions were to mankind. We may not fully understand their impact on our technology and health knowledge for decades to come. While spending your time looking at all the

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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Above: Every man who stepped foot on the Moon launched from Kennedy Space Center atop a Saturn V rocket. Learn about the power of this rocket and imagine if you were Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon. What would it have been like to launch into space on this very first Moonlanding mission? Right: Visit the memorial honoring the astronauts who lost their lives during space shuttle missions STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia.

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


the center just as a trail of smoke shot into the sky and swooped overhead. While not as large as a shuttle, this military rocket was still impressive as it lifted into orbit to deploy a prototype space plane called the Orbital Test Vehicle, the perfect way to end nine hours of learning about man’s quest to reach the heavens.

artifacts, be sure to pay your respects in the tasteful tribute area for the astronauts who gave everything—their lives—for the program. The simple glass cases of memorabilia and debris retrieved from the wreckages are understated, but the overall effect is powerfully moving. Lastly, because KSC is a working complex, you may get to witness the ultimate thrill of all, an actual rocket or shuttle launch, so check the calendar online to plan your trip accordingly. That was the case when we visited the time before last. As our day was winding down, the launch window for the Atlas V rocket was pushed to 5:45pm, just before the complex closed. The crowd gathered on the north side of

WHERE TO EAT: Well, the offerings at KFC are there if you’re hungry and, yes, it certainly is cool to eat under the impressive shade of a Saturn V rocket, but we’re not exactly talking gourmet fare here. In fact, barely cafeteria-level. My cheeseburger was a mess and my daughter’s chicken nuggets were edible, but not by much. I’d recommend going for the items that have to be prepared in front of you, like the wraps and the Cuban sandwiches. The soup looked pretty good, too. Better yet, eat a hearty breakfast, take some snacks, and stop at the Moon-Light Drive-In on US Hwy. 1 on your way home. Family owned since 1964, we enjoyed everything from the onion rings and milkshakes to the burgers and fries. The service was quick and friendly and we reveled in the nostalgia before hopping back into the car for the two-hour drive home. WHERE TO SHOP: We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity and the relatively inexpensive prices at the KSC gift shops. They had some really cool coffee mugs, lots of unique t-shirts,

and loads of educational materials with a space theme. Now my friends and relatives will know why they’re getting so many things with the NASA logo on them for birthdays and Christmas. A LITTLE HISTORY: President Dwight D. Eisenhower created NASA on July 29, 1958, when he signed Public Law 85-568, and the agency promptly created its launch center on Florida’s east coast four years later. It was renamed in honor of John F. Kennedy in 1963 because of his commitment to manned space flight and his dedication to exploring frontiers beyond our planet. NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Of course, KSC is itself an attraction, so I’m not sure what else you’d need to do. However, Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are just a few miles away from the KSC Visitors Complex. The refuge is home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals including an impressive number of birds. Both outdoor wonderlands are well worth your time, but you’d definitely need to make this daytrip an overnighter to not feel rushed to do it all. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see a manatee or a bald eagle in their natural habitat. HOW TO GET THERE: The fastest way, but not by much, is via I-75 to the Florida Turnpike, following the signs through Orlando to Titusville. However, skip the tolls and have a much more pleasant drive by taking the scenic route: SR40 east, US Hwy 17 south, SR44 east, US Hwy. 1 south, and then SR405 east till you see the KSC complex on the right. This route will go through the Ocala National Forest, charming Deland, and down the coast. This way added only 15-20 minutes to our trip, but was well worth every extra second!

KNOW A GOOD DRIVE?

Send your favorite daycation destination to dean@ocalasgoodlife.com and maybe it’ll be featured in an upcoming issue. Or if you want to keep your getaway all to yourself, that’s okay too.

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BIG magic L I T T L E

The tiny-hoofed wonders of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses bring joy and comfort wherever they go. By JoAnn Guidry

Photos By John Jernigan

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H O R S E S

O

h, my! What a cutie! Oh, she’s so soft! You just made my day! If a room could smile, it would look like the lobby of Brookdale Chambrel Pinecastle’s independent/assisted living facility. As Moonshadow, the youngest member of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, goes from resident to resident, she is gleefully greeted. And there’s a reason she elicits such genuine delight—she’s just so darned cuddly cute. Moonshadow was given her name because she was born during this year’s supermoon on the first day of Spring. Only two months old during her recent Brookdale visit, she was already in therapy horse training. The smoky gray paint filly with impossibly teeny tiny hooves then stood 18.5 inches high and weighed not quite 30 pounds. And her striking blue eyes are definitely attention-getters. Not that Moonshadow or any of the other Gentle Carousel mini-horses ever have any trouble drawing attention. No one can resist wanting to pet their soft, teddy-bear coats and that’s when the magic happens.

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“Our residents always look forward to a visit from Gentle Carousel,” says Tim Smith, executive director of Brookdale Chambrel Pinecastle. “It’s as if these little horses have the ability to communicate through telepathy. They intuitively know how to share and show love to those who need it the most. I call them our little visiting angels.”

GENTLE CAROUSEL MINIATURE Thera-

py Horses, a 501(c)(3) charity, was founded 20 years ago by Jorge and Debbie GarciaBengochea. The couple then lived in Palm Beach County and their fledgling organization initially focused on working with foster and at-risk children. “I was a school principal with experience working with children with special needs,” says Debbie, who serves as the organization’s Right: Jorge Garcia-Bengochea and Moonshadow


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education director. “And I saw a need to connect with these kids in a special way that only animals can. There were therapy dog and therapy horseback riding programs, but we wanted something different. We’ve always believed there’s something magical about horses and that led us to miniature therapy horses.” Over the ensuing two decades, Gentle Carousel’s mission has expanded exponentially. According to Debbie, their miniature therapy horses now work with more than 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals; with hospice, veterans and assisted living programs; as well as with inner-city at-risk kids. They also provide comfort to those who have experienced traumatic events. “We brought the horses to comfort the survivors and first responders of mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary

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School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,” says Debbie. “We also sent horses to comfort tornado survivors in Moore, Oklahoma; fire victims in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and families in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath.” The little horses also work with medical professionals in oncology and intensive care units, as well as with occupational, speech and physical therapists. Additionally, as part of treatment teams, the therapy mini-horses give TLC to patients who have suffered traumatic burns, brain, or spinal cord injuries. “The minute a patient sees one of our horses, they just smile and feel better,” says Debbie. “It’s just amazing to watch this happen over and over. They

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

truly carry out our mission to bring comfort to those in need.”

FOR THE PAST 13 YEARS, Gentle

Carousel has been based on a farm in Gainesville. The Garcia-Bengocheas now breed their own miniature horses that mature to 26-27 inches, weigh 100-120 pounds and generally live to 30. They currently have 20 mini-horses, make that 21 with the arrival of Moonshadow. In addition to Wakanda, Moonshadow’s mother, the roster includes Aladdin, Amazing Grace, Anthem, Catherine, Circus, Cloudburst, Dream, Magic, Misty, Prince, Rainbow, Scout, Snow Angel, Sparkle, Sundance, Sunshine, Sweetheart, Takoda, and Toby. On the farm, the mini-horses are watched over 24/7 by Maremma sheepdogs, a guardian breed originally from Italy.


“These little horses intuitively know how to show love to those who need it the most. I call them our little visiting angels.” — TIM SMITH And while all the Gentle Carousel mini-horses are special in their own right, there is no denying that Magic is the superstar. The 26.5 inches tall black mare with the white bald face and bright blue eyes has a stall full of accolades: 10 Most Heroic Animals (2010 Newsweek/The Daily Beast); American Towns Power of One Hero (2011 Reader’s Digest); History’s 10 Most Courageous Animals (2011 TIME magazine); 7 Most Notable Animal Heroes In The World (2014 The Daily Mirror); 2014 E.T. York Distinguished Service Award; Inducted into the U.S. Equestrian Federation/Equus Foundation Horse Stars Hall of Fame (2015); Pet Hero of the Year/Florida Veterinary Medical Association Hall of Fame (2016); A Hero Among Us Service Award (2016/American Red Cross); Ronald McDonald House Caring and Sharing Award (2017). Magic was featured in National Geographic’s A Book of Heroes, a 2017 children’s book. And she has her own children’s book, The Power of Magic, is a Breyer’s model, and an honorary deputy with the Alachua County

Sheriff ’s Office. “We bought Magic as a foal and she is now 11 years old. She really gained recognition for her work following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting,” says Debbie. “We took Magic, Aladdin, and Wakanda to Newtown and worked for two weeks in the community wherever we were needed. Magic is particularly good at sensing who needs her the most, who to approach and when. She’ll let people pet her

Photo courtesy Gentle Carousel

and sometimes she’ll lay her head in someone’s lap. She’s a very loving little horse.”

FOR ALL THEIR CUTENESS,

miniature horses are not born therapy horses. That takes specialized training, lots of it. “Our horses go through a two-year training program that begins when they’re only a few months old like Moonshadow,” says Debbie. “They work a lot indoors, which is a challenge even

Photo courtesy Gentle Carousel

Mercury and Sirius

Opposite page: Moonshadow spreads joy to residents of Brookdale Chambrel Pinecastle Above: Magic pays a visit to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Left: Mercury meets Sirius for the first time. Sirius (a puppy in this photo, but now full grown) is one of the Maremma sheepdogs that watch over the horses.

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A Miniature Horse Is Not A Pony HISTORY: The modern miniature horse is the result of selective breeding for that small size throughout history, dating to the Renaissance in Europe before moving on to North America. Reportedly King Louis XIV of France had a minihorse at his palace at Versailles. According to theminiaturehorse.com, the first recorded miniature in America was Yum Yum, who stood 31 inches and had been imported with a herd of Shetland ponies in 1888.

for little horses. They learn to walk up and down stairs, ride in elevators, and walk on unusual floor surfaces. Hospital rooms can have lots of equipment, so we teach them to carefully maneuver around it. They learn how to be around wheelchairs and scooters. And they learn to stay calm around the noises of hospitals, like alarms and ambulance sirens.” And included in their training is being house-broken, just like a dog. Debbie and Jorge handle the training and both

LOOKS MATTER: Miniature horses display typical horse physical characteristics with more defined heads and longer, thinner legs and bodies than short-legged, round-bodied ponies. SMALLEST RECORD: According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the smallest dwarf miniature horse is Thumbelina, a 17-inch, 57-pound mare who was born in 2001 and lives in St. Louis.

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Photo courtesy Gentle Carousel

SIZE MATTERS: The American Miniature Horse Association size requirement for a mini-horse is no more than 34 inches. The American Miniature Horse Registry has two height divisions: 34 inches and under and over 34 inches to 38 inches. Anything taller than 38 inches is considered a Shetland pony, although one at exactly 38 inches can be registered with both the AMHR and the American Shetland Pony Club.

Catherine

work with a team of volunteers. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our dedicated volunteers,” says Debbie. “We operate as a charity and depend on our volunteers, as well as support from individuals, businesses, and fundraising events to do our work.” During the summer that work, in addition to Gentle Carousel’s ongoing endeavors, includes a literacy program. “We call it Reading Is Magic and our horses help make reading fun and bring books to life for young readers,” says Debbie. “We go to schools, libraries, literacy events, education resource centers, especially in at-risk neighborhoods.” While the Gentle Carousel horses have a busy work load throughout the year, including traveling around the country, they are managed carefully. “The health of our horses is a top priority with us,” says Debbie. “We rotate them, so that no one horse or team is overworked. They get vacation breaks and when not traveling, each horse only works two days a week. The rest of the time, they’re out in our pastures living like any other horses.” Albeit very small ones who make people smile.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com facebook.com/therapyhorses 352-226-9009


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OUT & ABOUT

5 The Moore family: Jordan, Patrice, 5 Jana & Shane Alexander

Winter & Jimmy

Over The Edge The Marion Cultural Alliance and the local arts community went to new fundraising heights recently by offering thrill-seekers a chance to go literally over the edge and rappel seven stories down the north side of the SpringHill Suites by Marriot located on SW 40th Street. Participants had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to participate. The daylong event brought in $65,700 which will help support the MCA and nonprofit arts organizations through its numerous grants.

5 Joe Micilcavage, Valerie Dailey

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Photos By Steve Floethe

3 Kevin Sheilley

4 Katie & Amy Schlenker

5David & Grace Nolan OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

5 Tammy Hoff, Michelle Stone

5 T.J. & Ann Cottongim


5 Keyauna Gordon, Zackary Wright

5 Elizabeth & Annbelle Goodspeed

5 Daniel & Melissa Peterson

5 Jaye Baillie

5 David Sheilley gets last-minute adjustments.

5 Lisa Lombardo, Kevin Sheilley

5 Wyatt Padgett, Luke Lombardo 5 Cody Mansfield, Cherie McTiernan

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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RENEW HOME SHOWCASE: Scott & Sky Wheeler

BEFORE 5The old kitchen was stuck in the ‘90s 3“If we had to use one word for our favorite part of the kitchen it would be everything. The backsplash, the counters, the sink, the floor, the exposed shelf over the bar area—literally everything.” —Sky Wheeler

AFTER

‘We Have So Much More Space Now’

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

S

The Wheelers

ky and Scott Wheeler love their quiet home of almost six years. Sky was “born and raised in Ocala” and moved back in 2007 after graduating college. Since they’ve been nesting in her hometown, the young couple has welcomed two adorable little girls, ages two and four. “Marion County as a whole is such an awesome place to build a life and raise a family,” Sky says. “We actually host a lot of parties and gatherings at our house.”

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With two young kids, the Wheelers want family to be the center of their life and little kids definitely have a lot of little friends! This goal meant some much-needed upgrades to some of the most important rooms of the house: the kitchen and the bathrooms. They had wanted to switch to a gas stove for a while and had a smallbut-growing list of other upgrades they really wanted for the kitchen and the bathrooms that seemed to get longer by the month.

By the time they added it all up, they decided the best approach was to do it all at once—and to hire a professional to get exactly what they wanted. “We were really happy with our home, as far as the neighborhood and the general layout,” Sky explains, “but we just felt like it was lacking in the rooms that people actually see most often and that we weren’t making the most of the available space. We figured if things were going to be chaotic, what better time


come home and see what was done. And Jim was literally available all the time. I can recall a specific time when I was in Lowe’s looking at a faucet and sent him pictures at 7:30 at night to make sure he thought it would work in the master bathroom.” Recognizing that they were going to have a lot of work done on their house, they let Jim and his crew come and go as needed. In all, the three

BEFORE 3 The master bath shower was converted to a Roman-style one, with floor-to-ceiling tile and a knee wall.

AFTER

“We’re definitely planners and liked having a schedule that we could expect.” —Sky Wheeler

than all at once?” space without blowing our budget.” rooms took about two months, with a Being professionals themselves, the Jim immediately gave the couple solid three weeks going to just the mascouple started doing the research and a schedule of how the multi-faceted ter bathroom. Jim and his crew worked reached out “to a lot of companies in project would roll out. efficiently, doing demolition on the this process,” but most of them never “That was one of the really nice followed up or if they did, didn’t show parts,” Sky says. “We’re definitely plan- next space while the tile was being laid in the previous one, for example. up at the designated time. They kept ners and liked having a schedule that “With two small children,” she looking. we could expect. It was always fun to “It blew my mind that people would do that, so I really started looking into From This… the online reviews,” says Sky. “Communication was a big thing that we noticed people liked about ReNew and Jim [LaValle] in particular. “He got back to us immediately to review what we were thinking about and scheduled some time to come out and look at the project,” she conOD LIFE SPEC To This S GO IAL ’ tinues. “He even came out on A AL New Year’s Eve to do one last walk-through before we signed Job on for the job.” Your ReNew Additional customers only. Once they did, Jim imme10% off for new t customers! Mention this ea rep we’ve 5% Off for e of pricing (after diately came out to show them discount at the timour best price). given you lots of examples of previous work and many physical samples they’d want to consider while remodeling these three 2501 SW 57th Ave, #805, Ocala key spaces, a daunting task for Call to schedule your free consultation anyone unfamiliar with the myriad choices for each part Jim (352) 857-9604 FINANCING AVAILABLE Call RenewKandB.com of the process. “With Jim,” Sky says, “we Professionally managed projects from design to completion weren’t on our own. He was Cabinets • Countertops • Flooring • Showers able to show us cool upgrades Jim LaValle —“The Design Guy” that would really elevate the

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says, “ that timing was immensely important to us, so it was really nice to see how hard everyone worked to stay on schedule and how good the communication was so we knew who and what to expect each day.” They really enjoyed Jim’s subcontractors who took pride in their work and tried to ensure that the couGuest Bath ple’s usual home life was not disrupted by their tasks. The Wheelers enjoyed their interactions and the care they took in making sure everything was done to their satisfaction. Now the couple loves the finished product in all of the rooms. The master bath shower was converted to a Roman-style one, with floor-to-ceiling tile that’s easy to dry in case of overspray. ReNew also built a knee wall into the design and relocated the faucet handle for the shower there, which now means they can turn on the shower without having to step into a deluge of cold water. Next up, the guest bathroom received an unexpected upgrade. Utilizing some of the extra designer tile, they finished the linen closet floor as well. Their daughters use this as their main bathroom and love how “fancy” it looks now. And the kitchen, well... “If we had to use one word for our favorite part of the kitchen it would be everything,” Sky gushes. “The backsplash, the counters, the sink, the floor, the exposed shelf over the bar area—literally everything. The old kitchen was stuck in the ‘90s and while everything was functional, that’s about all that can be said that was positive. We have so much more space now. It’s brighter and feels like a place our family can gather and spend time together.” 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 knowledge to get the job done.” The Wheeler family would definitely recommend ReNew for anyone looking to remodel their kitchen or bathrooms. The company’s work was superb and Jim kept everything well within budget. “Everyone loves it and these upgrades have really made a tremendous impact,” Sky says. “It was hard to realize how needed these upgrades were until they were done. The change is so impactful and ReNew saved us so much stress. A lot of times we just hear, ‘Wow!’

WANT TO KNOW MORE? ReNew Kitchen & Bath (352) 857-9604


refreshi n g & s we e t

SUMMER SNACKS

T

FAMILY FEATURES • RECIPES & PHOTOS COURTESY NATIONAL WATERMELON BOARD

here’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration. Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages. From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in

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the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people. Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as: n A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits. n A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking. n Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts. n A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table. Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

RED, WHITE AND BLUE WATERMELON PARFAIT

1 cup blueberries 1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut) 1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon whipped cream, for serving In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.


PATRIOTIC CHARCUTERIE BOARD

1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges 1/2 cup fresh raspberries 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired) 5 ounces fresh goat cheese 1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews 2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced lemon juice fresh basil leaves On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.

PATRIOTIC FRUIT SALAD

1 watermelon honeydew blueberries Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base. Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind. Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares. Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/23-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters. Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine. Cut out white stripes from honeydew.

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SIDEBAR Sidebar text...

FLAG KEBAB CAKE

1 pint fresh, washed blackberries 12 wooden skewers 1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only) dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional) Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes. On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly. Serve with dips, if desired.

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

WATERMELONINFUSED WATER 2 cups watermelon balls or cubes 1 cup other fruit, such as berries herbs, such as basil or mint Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.


SWEET WATERMELON PIZZA Greek yogurt

Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice Shredded coconut Mint Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries Slivered almonds Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.

WATERMELON SANDWICH WRAPS

1 wheat, flour, corn, spinach or sun-dried tomato tortilla 2-4 teaspoons chive cream cheese, hummus, guacamole or Greek yogurt 5-8 slices turkey, ham, chicken breast, roast beef or pepperoni 1 watermelon spear, about 1/2-inch thick, 1-inch wide 2-4 teaspoons barbecue sauce, ranch, pesto, Thai peanut sauce, teriyaki, salsa or sweet chili and ginger 2-4 slices feta, pepper jack, swiss or mozzarella cheese

Toppings:

watercress olives scallions cilantro romaine lettuce Bibb lettuce jalapenos fresh mint basil shredded carrots Brussels sprouts cucumber slices bacon pine nuts English Tea Sandwich Wrap: Flour tortilla, chive cream cheese, ham, watermelon, watercress Greek Wrap: Tortilla, plain Greek yogurt, feta cheese, watermelon, black olives Latin Watermelon Wrap: Flour tortilla, guacamole, ham, watermelon, pepper jack cheese, cilantro, scallions, jalapeno

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Photos courtesy Iron Skillet

GOOD EATS: IRON SKILLET

‘A Sumptuous Buffet Feast Every Day’ By Rick Allen

When was the last time you ate at a truck stop? Especially one as good as the Iron Skillet on the far north side of the county? It’s well worth the drive, even if you only have four wheels and not the usual 18 that park in their oversized lots.

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F

or years, I assembled a list of restaurants in Marion County that were open and serving on Thanksgiving and Christmas. One year, an odd suggestion showed up. “You need to include the Iron Skillet,” the message said. What? You mean that truck stop in Reddick? It’s open? Absolutely it’s open—and puts on one terrific holiday buffet. Last Christmas I opted not to cook and instead took my family there. It could become our new holiday tradition! The buffets may be extraspecial for holidays, but the Iron Skillet puts on a sumptuous buf-

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

fet feast every day of the year—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or if you’d rather, there’s also a menu chock full of home-style comfort foods from the kitchen, 24/7/365, from burgers and hand-cut steaks to liver and onions, chicken tender melts, French toast, and no-sugar-added apple pie. “When you come into this restaurant,” says Scott Goldstein, the general manager for nearly 20 years, “you don’t realize you’re in a


truck stop.” Goldstein, one-time food and beverage director at George Steinbrenner’s Ramada Inn and Holiday Inn in Jacksonville, has been with this Iron Skillet unit since 2005. He likes to greet every guest—knows many by name—making sure they are welcome in his home. There’s a focus on drivers of big rigs, who pull in hungry, tired, and looking for a slice of home, and they usually find it here. Yet, as many locals—if you consider coming from The Villages “local”—discover, the door is open to them, too. Service is the thing, Goldstein says. “If you have good service, you’ll have customers.” WHERE? In the TA-Petro truck stop/ service plaza at CR 318 and I-75 in Reddick. WHY GO? Though hardly hidden, this is an unexpected gem. Buffets are mostly unheard of nowadays except on special occasions. Here, it’s every day from 6am for breakfast through lunch and dinner till 10pm. And most days, the evening buffet features something special—seafood on Friday, barbecue on Saturday, prime rib on Sunday, steak on Wednesday, Asian on Thursday. The food is hot, fresh, tasty, and quickly brought to your table (if you order from the menu; otherwise, you’re

eak

Country Fried St

on your own) with a big ol’ smile. Better than that, it’s literally always available. WHERE ARE THE PLATES? Rather than plates, everything is served on varying-sized skillets. “What else would you use at a place called Iron Skillet?” Goldstein suggests. Skillet Cookie Sundae

I DON’T NEED A BUFFET—No problem. In addition to the daily buffets, the Iron Skillet offers an extensive menu of home-style delights. On one visit, for instance, my wife selected the French toast breakfast entree while my son opted for a tasty and not-easilyfinished chicken tender melt. “Everything on the menu is made from scratch right here,” Goldstein emphasizes.

serving sizes, and calorie counts. There are also measuring cups that show the exact size of a quarter-cup, half-cup, and full cup for self-serve guidance. Above the hot bar is a TV monitor listing every item and suggested portion sizes. Now, whether diners heed the information is irrelevant. It’s there

BEST TIME TO GO? There really is no best time. Iron Skillet is open 24/7, every day of the year. If you don’t like crowds, try dropping in at odd hours— mid-morning, mid-afternoon, late night. They’re there, waiting for you. On the other hand, for the full-on Iron Skillet experience, go on a foodcentric holiday such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Mother’s Day when the buffet is beefed up. (There’s a carving station for a succulent beef roast.) We went last Christmas and to our surprise we were seated immediately. Furthermore, the options seemed endless. And the price was very wallet-friendly. YOU’LL BE IMPRESSED BY—It’s probably not something you’d expect at a truck stop, but the Iron Skillet makes a great effort to ensure patrons have thorough nutritional information available. One is the tri-fold brochure “On the Road to Healthier Eating,” which is full of suggestions for healthy alternatives. Above the salad bar is a placard listing every item,

“Everything on the menu is made from scratch right here.” —Scott Goldstein nonetheless. Maybe a restaurant concerned about healthier dining options for its patrons doesn’t impress you, but it sure did me! YOU MUST TRY—The country fried steak (also known as the chicken fried steak). “This is our signature item,” Goldstein says, “and our number-one seller.” This is a tender cut of steak, battered, deep-fried, and served smothered with a country gravy. Hey, there’s room in every healthy diet for an occasional indulgence! Besides, it’s high on the list of comfort foods. Once a year, Goldstein says, the Iron Skillet hosts a country fried steak day where, you guessed it, it is the star. Oh, and the skillet cookie sundae. Just because... AWARD-WINNING FACILITY— The reigning “Best Chef ” in the Iron

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Turn Your Old Records & CDs Into Cash!

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Skillet chain happens to work in the Ocala unit kitchen, Darius Morgan. “It was a great honor for this young man,” Goldstein says, considering the accolade is determined by patron voting nationwide. “There were a lot of votes out there, but he has a knack for food.” Goldstein himself was selected “General Manager of the Year” two years ago. And in 2011 this unit was named “Best Restaurant” in the company. “But I didn’t make any of this happen,” Goldstein counters. “It’s all the staff that did it.” FRIENDLY STAFF—For people who work round the clock, round the calendar—even on holidays—they are a cheerful, friendly, and helpful bunch. On our visit, Trina Gomez was our server. She was helpful and attentive but did not try to rush us. Even when my wife requested a modification to her breakfast meal from the menu, it didn’t throw her. There’s a special zing in the personality he looks for, Goldstein says. “I can train you how to carry a plate from the kitchen, but I can’t teach you how to connect with your customers.” Most of his serving staff is long-term, with several having been here about as long as Goldstein. INSIDER—Beginning in July, the Iron Skillet changes its menu to lighter summer fare. Most of the favorites will still be there, but heavier, cold-weather cuisine goes away for a while. “For instance, what do you eat in winter you don’t eat in summer?” he asks. “Why, chili,” he answers. Three items on the new menu, a few zesty Southwest options—a chicken fajita breakfast skillet, chicken fajita burrito, and a chicken quesadilla—were given a preview in June.

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

Call: (352) 208-4242

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

THE FINAL WORD—According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there are just under 1,500 interstate miles in Florida, a number that includes eight auxiliary spurs and bypass loops. There are hundreds of interchanges, most with multiple dining options. Yet, this is the only Iron Skillet in the Sunshine State. There are, though, four sister Country Pride eateries in Florida, the closest in Wildwood. “We have about 650 quick-serve and full-service restaurants across the country,” notes Patricia Steen, TA Restaurants marketing manager. “Our primary audience is the professional truck driver and we try to offer them a variety of dining options.” Fortunately, that includes us, too.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Iron Skillet at the TA-Petro service plaza 7401 West CR 318 at Interstate 75 (352) 591-4842 ta-petro.com


Ocala’s

GOOD LIFE

TM

MAGAZINE

ing Din s ion t a c Day vents E tos o h al P i c ews So N s nity u file m o r m Co or P nt b e h m g i e Ne rov es p p i m I c Re me Ho zles z u P

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cuisine queen

by Paula DiPaula [paula@ocalasgoodlife.com]

Be Nice To Your Server!

W

e’ve all heard the expression, “You don’t know someone until you’ve lived with them.” Take it from me. I can save you a lot because I know of a much cheaper and quicker way of determining whether you want to spend the rest of your life with someone—or not. Dine out with them. If you really want to get to know someone on a deeper level, share a meal with them. By the end of the first course, you’ll either be discussing your next dining venture or you’ll excuse yourself, find your server, and shove your credit card into their hand while telling them to go take a well-deserved vacation after putting up with your guest. Years ago at the Hops microbrewery, my friend put up such a fit because people that were seated after us received their food before us. She took it out on the server who then asked the manager to come to her rescue. He came to our table and as my friend bellowed and blabbed about how unjust it was, he calmly listened. When she was done, he said, “I’m terribly sorry to hear this. May I get you some crayons and coloring sheets while you wait for your food?” She blinked back disbelief as I desperately tried to hide my grin. He clearly was letting her know she was acting childish. These mothers, fathers, and students are servers, not our servants. When they ask us how our day is, answer them. Don’t ignore the question and continue with your order. Leaving your empty glass on the edge of the table is usually sufficient rather than holding it way up and rattling the ice. If your request

These mothers, fathers, and students are servers, not our servants.

52

was forgotten, it’s understandable that maybe several people had some before you. A nice reminder will go further than a sneering one. I’m patient to a fault. Sometimes I don’t want to bother an overworked or under-experienced server. I know how tough it is on the feet, legs, and back. I know how rude people can be and how servers deal with every kind of personality imaginable, from pleasant to downright rude that sometimes veers into flatout harassment. I also know the difference between a server’s honest mistake and laziness or arrogance. One night a server asked my friend a question. His wife answered and the server said, “What, he can’t speak for himself?” His wife replied, “He has a hearing problem and didn’t hear you.” The server came back later and apologized profusely. Had she not apologized, I would’ve gone to management about it. There is no room for arrogance in my book of life. However, when I do get a good server, I circle their name on my receipt, draw an arrow from their name all the way down to the total (because that’s what they focus on at the end of the night) and write a comment about the excellent service. Some servers would rather have that than the tip, but I give both. Again, they are servers not servants. So if your guest is rude, pushy, or short with a server, in time your guest just might be the same with you as well. And that’s when you say, “Next!” Quick Bites: Ocala Food Walks, 462-5737, deserves a second mention because it’s not a restaurant but a wonderful business that supports downtown restaurants. Karen Grimes, founder of Farm Tours of Ocala, has been showing off the horse community for eight years and saw the need to do the same for the growing number of eateries that are slowly encompassing the downtown square. For $49 you will dine at a mix of five restaurants, microbreweries, and wine shops in three hours, along with learning about the history of Ocala. There’s also time to shop the many stores or stop in at the Marion Cultural Alliance on Broadway. Visit ocalafoodwalks.com to make a reservation. Look for Cedar Key Food Walks in the future!

Got A Hot Tip For The Cuisine Queen? E-mail me at paula@ocalasgoodlife.com

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


DINING GUIDE Pan-fried frog legs with lemon, garlic and parsley

48 SW 1st Avenue, Ocala (352) 433-2570 • lacuisineocala.com 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

11am-2pm

CLOSED MONDAYS

NEW OUTDOOR SEATING!

Birt A Grea hda t Ch y Ce oice lebra For tions !

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 • tonysushi.com 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.

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

FULL BAR!


DINING GUIDE

Paradisse Awae cirtowds!)

J dri ust a ve tw fro o h m Oc our ala !

(without th

Indian Rocks Beach

A Culinary Tour of Downtown Ocala EAT K ! IN DR IALIZE SOC

on Florida’s beautiful gulf coast, just south of Clearwater Beach.

All the comforts of home for the price of a hotel room. Affordable beachfront condo rentals with fully loaded kitchens.

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

Check Rates & Availability 24/7 Online:

PlumleeGulfBeachRealty.com • (800) 926-9489

ocalafoodwalks.com • (352) 462-5737

Good Eats· Good Times

352.622.5550 53 S. Magnolia Ave, Downtown Ocala

Ivy Restaurant House & Catering

352.528.5410 106 NW Main St, Williston, Fl WWW

@Ivyhousefl

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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

DINING GUIDE

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

Hours:

Tues.-Sun. 7am-2pm Closed Mon. 56

Red’s

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

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DINING GUIDE 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 www.stjohnsrivertours.com 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 www.blackwaterinn.com 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

Have BBQ. Will Travel.

catering@infiregroup.com · 877-766-6971

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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58

OUT & ABOUT

5 Annelle Rubly, Sue Francisco, Paul Rubly, Rosemarie Moherek 5 Mike & Melinda Rice

Buzzcatz Concert

5 Paul & Clare Pardee

It was a true dance party at the Circle Square Cultural Center in June. The Buzzcatz from Orlando, a powerhouse nine-piece band with an amazing Central Florida following, brought many a couple out of their seats and onto the dance floor with their non-stop mix of songs from the past 60 years. Even for those who just came to listen, the wide range of musical fare—from Sinatra to the golden oldies of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s—proved just as entertaining.

5 Phil Meyer, Karen Petrowski

Photos By Steve Floethe

3 Laurie Winters, Frances Simpson, Harlie Tinder, Hermann Winters

5 Bill & Charlene Heller

3 Barry & Anne Burczyk

5 The Buzzcatz OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined


The illness of a loved one can be daunting. Now you don’t have to handle it alone.

W

hen my mother became critically ill, I saw what my father went through. Scared, confused, and overwhelmed with information, he didn’t know which direction to go. Being an RN, I was able to sit and hold his hand and explain—in “regular people talk”— what was happening. It helped him to understand mother’s condition and make the appropriate medical decisions best for her. This personal experience and seeing so many others struggle with the “maze” of illness and healthcare, inspired me to create Nurse Advocate Solutions.

With 30 years RN experience, Linda Barrett, RN, will intercede on your behalf with physicians, case managers, attorneys, insurance companies, and anyone involved in the care of your loved ones.

Here’s what her happy clients say: “Linda has truly been an angel

of mercy for me. We have bonded over our elderly dads, both of whom are tormented with advancing dementia, so she understands my situation completely. I am so happy to be handing him over to Linda, who is so experienced, as I am exhausted fighting this fight right now”.

“Very reliable service.

Linda has an innate ability to sort through the decision maze and come up with the most affordable and best solution for her clients.

5 stars in my book!”

— Gerry D., Lady Lake

— Nancy J., Oregon

nurseadvocatesolutions.com email: linda@nurseadvocatesolutions.com

“Let me be your voice to help you be heard by your family and medical providers. I’ll give you all the information you need to make the healthcare decisions that are right for YOU!”

(352) 354-9841

–Linda Barrett, RN

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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PLAN AHEAD Do you have an event that you’d like to include in our calendar? Email your submissions to dean@ocalasgoodlife.com

Center. concerts.levittamp.org/ ocala or 629-8447.

appletonmuseum.org or (352) 291-4455.

Through Oct. 20

Jul. 2-Sep. 22

Through July 19

Through a series of mixed media installations, Do Not Bleach expresses and encourages melanin love, whether one is dark-skinned, light-skinned, or somewhere in-between. Appleton Museum. appletonmuseum.org or (352) 291-4455.

collected during the 2019 Mobile Photography contest, covering three categories: Landscapes, In the Museum, and My Kid Took That, with a special display for the top photo in each category. Appleton Museum. appletonmuseum.org or 291-4455.

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT XXII—The spotlight is on

talent in this annual judged and juried exhibit from the members of the Visual Artists’ Society. Webber Center Gallery. 10am4pm. Free admission. 873-5809.

Through Aug. 2

LEVITT AMP OCALA MUSIC SERIES—Enjoy

free family-friendly concerts outdoors, featuring craft and non-profit booths, food trucks, novelty food vendors, beer, and wine. The public is invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts, which will have an open lawn setting. Fridays from 7:30pm. Webb Field at Martin Luther King Recreational

DO NOT BLEACH: STEPHANIE BROWN—

URBAN CHATTER: SHARON KERRYHARLAN—Using thread and

sun-baked cloth, “the density of contemporary city living,” provides the inspiration for Kerry-Harlan’s Urban Chatter series. The figures and faces seem to meld contemporary cartooning, abstraction, African sculptures and ritual masks among mid-century urban music references. Appleton Museum.

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION—Photos

July 4

RED, WHITE & OSO BLUE—Join the Ocala

Symphony Orchestra in a celebration of our country and those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our freedom. 3pm. $17-23. Reilly Arts Center, Downtown. reillyartscenter.com or (352) 351-1606.

July 5

EAGLES TRIBUTE—The

Ultimate Eagles Experience is a stunningly accurate tribute to the music of the Eagles. Using no backing tracks or harmonizers, 7 Bridges faithfully recreates the experience of an Eagles concert from the band’s most prolific period. Doors open at 6pm. $2328. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter.com or 854-3670. SISTER HAZEL—Originating

THE BACON BROTHERS July 28 Long before Kevin Bacon launched his screen and stage career and before Michael Bacon became one of the top composers for TV and film, they were just two brothers who liked to play music. They steer away from any hint of glitz and glamour in favor of a grittier rock sound with a touch of Philadelphia soul to create an unforgettable musical sound all their own. $35-65. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

from Gainesville, Sister Hazel is comprised of five gifted, seasoned musicians whose well-spring of natural talent has been called “one of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years” by Performing Songwriter Magazine. $25-70. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

July 6

MUSEUM DAY—Special

community with free admission,

special demonstrations, and hands-on art. 10am-5pm. Appleton Museum of Art. appletonmuseum.org or (352) 291-4455. YOGA IN SHOLOM PARK—

Enjoy yoga every first Saturday of the month outside at the park. 9:00am. Sholom Park. 854-7950.

July 6, 13, 20, 27

SUMMER MUSIC SERIES—

Looking for something special to do with your summer weekend? Then come along each Saturday afternoon in July and enjoy live music by the area’s most talented musicians on the outdoor stage. Each week a different Band will appear for your entertainment. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food is available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting. Free. 12-4pm. Lakeridge Winery. lakeridgewinery.com or (800) 768-9463.

July 10

SOLO TRAVELER MEETUP—Learn about vendors that

offer solo traveler discounts and other offers. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP required. Directions Luxury Travel. 6124-1 SW SR 200. 355-3223.

July 11

ESCAPE ROOM—Come

for this space-themed escape room game and see if you can escape. 6pm. Ocala Public Library. 671-8551.

July 12-13

JOHN & JEN—This musical

honors brothers and sisters, as well as parents and children, set against the background of a changing America between 1950 and 1990. $15-30. 7:30pm Friday and 3pm Saturday. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606. XANADU JR.—Performed by


a cast of students ages 6-17, this musical is based on the 1980 cult-classic film. There’s plenty of love, laughter, glitter, and “strange magic.” $12. 7pm Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday. Ocala Civic Theatre. ocalacivictheatre.com or 236-2274.

July 13

JOHNNY WILD & THE DELIGHTS—This Orlando

tribute band will play the hits of Buddy, Hank, Roy, Elvis, and more. Doors open at 6pm. $1315. 7pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter.com or 854-3670.

July 19

RESTLESS HEART—Bring

your boots to the dance floor with this all-American country band. Breaking into the country scene, Restless Heart won over audiences with their layered melodies and musical talent that put 26 of their singles on the charts and earned them six No. 1 hits. VIP tickets include a meet-and-greet with the band. $25-105. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

July 20

ROLLING STONES TRIBUTE—They performed

at the Reilly last year, and now this eight-piece band with keys, horns, and more is back. The U.S. Stones play just like the real thing—no tracks, and aiming for authenticity. $15-30. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606.

July 20-21

KINGDOM OF THE SUN BAND—Join the band led

by conductor/director Leslie Muncaster, Jr. as they play their summer concerts, “Let’s Go to the Movies.” 2pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday. Marion Technical Institute. kingdomofthesunband. org or 624-9291.

Jul. 21-Jan. 12

FLORIDA IMPRESSIONS:

LESLIE PEEBLES—An

ardent environmentalist and naturalist who connects her audience to the flora and fauna of Florida. Our state’s vanishing wilderness, from the Everglades to Okefenokee Swamp, has become a big source of inspiration for Leslie’s work. Appleton Museum. appletonmuseum.org or (352) 291-4455.

July 26

AMY WINEHOUSE TRIBUTE—A dazzling 10-piece

tribute to the style, beauty, and music of Amy Winehouse. VIP tickets are $40 and include a meet-and-greet with the band. $28-40. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

July 26-28

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS—This modern

adaptation of Goldoni’s classic comedy finds Clarice’s dreams of marrying her true love shattered when the man she was originally promised to, Federigo Rasponi, seemingly returns from the dead. Unbeknownst to anyone, Federigo is really his sister, Beatrice, in disguise. $20. Matinees at 2pm, evening at 8pm. Ocala Civic Theatre. ocalacivictheatre.com or 236-2274. TITLE OF SHOW—The story

of two self-confessed nobodies in New York who make a pact to write an original musical and submit it to a festival in three weeks. As the deadline looms the team decides to set off on a unique musical adventure: writing a musical about writing a musical. In this intelligent, playful, lovable musical, the audience is treated to an insider’s look at the tough work of being a creative artist. This show contains adult content and language and is recommended for audiences age 21 and above. $18. 7:30pm Friday and Saturday, 3pm Sunday. The Dassance Fine Arts Center, CF

ROCKY & THE ROLLERS August 10 Listen to the sound of doo wop and rock and roll from the 1950s through the 1970s. $13-15. 7:00pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter.com or 854-3670.

Ocala Campus. 873-5810.

July 28

THE BACON BROTHERS—

Long before Kevin Bacon launched his screen and stage career and before Michael Bacon became one of the top composers for TV and film, they were just two brothers who liked to play music. They steer away from any hint of glitz and glamour in favor of a grittier rock sound with a touch of Philadelphia soul to create an unforgettable musical sound all their own. $35-65. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

August 1

WOODSTOCK CELEBRATION—Celebrate the

50th anniversary of a moment that changed history. Relive the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and more as performed live by the Paisley Craze Band. Come early to enjoy the pre-show festivities, including Woodstock trivia, tiedye merchandise, photo-booths, and more. $20-59. 7:30pm.

Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606.

August 2

EDWIN MCCAIN AND HIS ACOUSTIC TRIO—Called

the “great American romantic” by the New York Times, Edwin McCain has built an enviable career over the past 20 years by balancing his massive pop success with the year-round touring schedule of a tireless troubadour. $15-80. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606. THE GREG SNIDER BAND & MAGGIE WEAKLEY—The

Greg Snider Band will perform familiar jazz pieces as well as original works. Accompanying the music, award-winning artist Maggie Weakley will paint live and have her artwork on display for purchase. Executive Chef Tony Deras will also have special hors d’oeuvres designed uniquely for the guests. $50. 7:30pm. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

August 3

YOGA IN SHOLOM PARK—

Free classes in a tranquil setting.

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9am. For further information, call Ingrid Crane at 854-7950.

August 6

OLDER, BOLDER & BETTER—Examine the multiple

dimensions of wellness and the impact they have on aging optimally. There are many things to consider when it comes to influencing the quality of life as we age. Learn how building healthy habits support a healthy lifestyle. $7. 2-3pm. masterthepossibilities.org or 861-9751.

August 7

FALL KICK-OFF EVENT—

Come see what MTP has to offer in the Fall term! Participants will be the first to receive a copy of the new catalog and are able to register for courses at the event. Visit with instructors, participate in giveaways, and learn about upcoming opportunities. 1-3pm. masterthepossibilities.org or 861-9751.

August 9

HOW HOPE AND MOTIVATION KEEP YOU GOING—Mery Lossada

(psychiatrist, neurologist and chief medical officer at Hospice of Marion County) will show how being engaged in life with friends, family, and hobbies makes the brain function better and gives a more positive outlook. $5. 2-4pm. Presented by Senior Learners, Inc. at the University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at seniorlearners.org or call 239-8780.

August 10

ROCKY & THE ROLLERS—

Listen to the sound of doo wop and rock and roll from the 1950s through the 1970s. $13-15. 7:00pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter.com or 854-3670.

August 13

MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT—This

62

course will focus on small changes you can make in your day-to-day life that will make a positive impact on the environment and the animals you share it with. $20-25. 3-4pm. masterthepossibilities. org or 861-9751.

August 14

LIVES WELL LIVED: FILM SCREENING—The

documentary celebrates the inspiring wit, wisdom, and experiences of people aged 75 to 100. The screening will conclude with a discussion on documentary filmmaking. Sponsored by AARP. 1-3pm. masterthepossibilities.org or 861-9751.

August 17

CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE: FLEETWOOD MAC’S RUMOURS—Classic Albums

Live performs Fleetwood Mac’s hit album, Rumours, note for note, cut for cut. $15-35. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606.

August 17-18

HARVEST GRAPE STOMP—

This event is perfect for a family outing. Listen to continuous live music the entire weekend by superb local musicians. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks, and a variety of food is available for purchase, along with complimentary winery tours and tasting. $10. Friday & Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday: 11am-5pm. Lakeridge Winery. lakeridgewinery. com or (800) 768-9463.

how to navigate the confusing world of cruise line marketing, offers, and promotions. Get the basics on when to book a cruise and how to save money. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP required. Directions Luxury Travel. 6124-1 SW SR 200. 355-3223.

of Roald Dahl’s book and the beloved 1996 film, this is a thrilling, joyous, girl-power romp full of catchy songs and highenergy dance numbers. Matinees at 2pm, evening at 8pm. Ocala Civic Theatre. ocalacivictheatre. com or 236-2274.

August 22

FALL TERM KICKOFF PARTY—Learn about upcoming

ABRAHAM LINCOLN ASSASSINATION—

Join Sandy Prindle as he describes the Abraham Lincoln assassination and Booth’s Confederate connections. Learn about the co-conspirators who were caught and prosecuted, and those who got away. $8-13. 1-3pm. masterthepossibilities. org or 861-9751.

August 24

ALLMAN BROTHERS TRIBUTE—A powerful eight-

August 31

COSTA RICA: NATURE’S WONDERLAND—Discover

the history, culture and the amazing volcanoes of Costa Rica and take a virtual tour of the rainforest, a diverse ecosystem containing some of the most beautiful and bizarre creatures on earth. $17-22. 1-3pm. masterthepossibilities.org or 861-9751.

little girl with the extraordinary ability to move things with her mind. She is unloved by her cruel parents, and mistreated by her school’s child-hating headmistress. But the kindness of her teacher, Miss Honey, plus Matilda’s own vivid imagination, empowers her to find the courage to change her destiny. Inspired by the dark whimsy

OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME—When Christopher falls

August 26

cool treats while viewing Jim Phillips’ large collection of ice cream memorabilia. $5. 1:30-3:30pm. Presented by Senior Learners, Inc. at the University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at seniorlearners.org or call 239-8780. CRUISING 101—Learn

Aug. 30–Sept. 22

piece group that has earned a reputation as the source for the authentic Allman Brothers Band sound around Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. $1530. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter.com or 351-1606.

Aug. 29-Sep. 22

August 21

classes from the instructors. 1:30-3:30pm. Presented by Senior Learners, Inc. at the University Center, Building 20 at the College of Central Florida. Register at seniorlearners.org or call 239-8780.

under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, the efforts to clear his name uncover secrets that turn his world upside down. A powerful play that examines what it truly means to love and be loved. Various prices. Various times. The Hippodrome Theatre, Gainesville. thehipp.org or 375-HIPP.

August 20

ICE CREAM SOCIAL—Enjoy

August 30

MATILDA—Matilda is a clever

CCR EXPERIENCE—

Combining timeless Creedence Clearwater Revival favorites and Fogerty solo hits, Brad Ford & Fortunate Son play the hits with authenticity and appreciation. $26-30. 7:00pm. Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. csculturalcenter.com or 854-3670. LONESTAR—Known for

merging their country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, Lonestar—comprised of Richie McDonald, Michael Britt, Keech Rainwater, and Dean Sams—has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of 10 million album units since their national launch in 1995, and achieved ten #1 country hits. $25-90. 7:30pm. Reilly Arts Center. reillyartscenter. com or 351-1606.


EXPERIENCE

of g n i n e v E An

MAGIC LIVE THEATRE

Sat, Oct 5, 2019 7 pm

2019-2020 SEASON

OF

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Cindy Moody recreates Patsy’s timeless voice performing her greatest hits with a live band and The Jordanaires singers

SIGNATURE SERIES Matilda The Musical August 29 – September 22, 2019 The Savannah Sipping Society October 31 – November 24, 2019 Always… Patsy Cline January 30 – February 23, 2020 Father of the Bride March 12 – April 5, 2020 Brigadoon May 21 – June 14, 2020

OVATION SERIES

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike October 3-13, 2019 Menopause The Musical January 2-19, 2020 To Kill a Mockingbird April 16-26, 2020

Circle Square Cultural Center 8395 SW 80th St Ocala, 34481 Tickets start at $28 www.csculturalcenter.com Info at (352) 291-5143

SUMMER SPECIAL

The Servant of Two Masters July 26-28, 2019 Proceeds benefit

352.236.2274 | OcalaCivicTheatre.com

4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL 34470 In The Appleton Cultural Center

of Marion County Feel better. Live better.

www.gold99fm.com

99.5 FM Gainesville

facebook.com/gold99fm

99.7 FM Ocala/The Villages OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

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OCALA’S GOOD LIFE retirement redefined

ANS W E

Solution to ENIGMA: “Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon”—Susan Ertz

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Connected care Superior outcomes We know a seamless transition into inpatient care is important to meet patients where they are on their journey. By working alongside our providers, Encompass Health is delivering connected care and superior outcomes through our state-of-the-art inpatient rehabilitation hospital. Learn more at ehc.rehab/LLAC

The Joint Commission DiseaseSpecific Care Certification in Stroke Rehabilitation

2275 S.W. 22nd Lane Ocala, FL 34471 352.282.4000 encompasshealth.com/ocalarehab

Š2019:Encompass Health Corporation:1426170


FREE HEALTH SEMINARS

All workshops will be held @ 12:15. A light lunch/ refreshments will be provided. Space is limited, so please call to reserve your seat.

Meet The Spine & Injury Pros

Jul 31: End Nagging Sports Injuries and Get Back in the Game Aug 21: Don’t Burn Out: The Truth About Inflammation

Dr. Jessica Perhealth, Dr. Philip Roger, Margaret Edelson, Dr. Renny Edelson, Dr. Gary Brodeur, Dr. Hector Andino and Dr. Dania Mercado

“Corrective care is the key factor in returning to Good Health. Getting adjusted in rhythm is the pathway to a Good Life.” —Dr. Renny Edelson As soon as you step into a Chiropractic USA office, you are greeted by caring professionals who will give you a tour of the facility. State of the art diagnostic tools allow accurate documentation of functional loss. There’s no guessing—you’ll see your progress in detailed before and after results. The doctors at Chiropractic USA are here to help you achieve optimum health through Natural Corrective Care.

SPINE AND INJURY CENTER

We Are A Medicare Provider. All Insurance Participation Accepted.

Jasmine South (Ocala) 7668 SW 60th Ave.,#500 (Airport Road)

(352)

351-2872

The Villages

3614 Wedgewood Ln (Next to Bonefish Grill)

(352)

259-2225

New Location Coming Soon! Ocala East

942 SE 17th Street Ocala Fl 34471

Profile for ocalasgoodlife

Jul/Aug 2019