The 863 Magazine - Fall 2019

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Fall 2019


Content Fall 2019


Apropos of Nothing | Jamie Beckett Today’s kids have had it too easy. Back in the day, parents gave us a good pop with a shoe. And we were better for it.


Crossword Theme: Cruising the World. Answer key on page 13.


Super Volunteers | Jeff Roslow There are a few volunteers in Polk who give more time than the norm. So, we’re shining a light on these deserving folks.



Cover: Haven Holiday Market | James Coulter The 5th Annual Haven Holiday Market this November: Kick off the holiday shopping season and support local.


863 Readers’ Art | Desiree “Dez” Lyons A studio art major at FSC, local artist Dez Lyons created giant knitted and crocheted clothing to explore “Women’s Work.”




The 863 Magazine

Editor | Publisher Note


or some reason, getting into the spirit of community is easier when the holidays roll around. Suddenly, we’re more connected because of shared traditions and less on our individual trajectories. Sharing, giving, and caring for others is more on the brain than at other times of the year. As such, we sometimes even tend to reach out and help strangers via charity or buying local. Now in its fifth year, Haven Holiday Market is a chance to buy local and know your dollars are directly helping a local family or small business, and not a national corporation. The event is an excellent reason to kick off the annual major shopping season

and get in the spirit of community—not to mention the holiday spirit. There is sure to be something for everyone at Haven Holiday Market, which will be held November 16 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in downtown Winter Haven. Read about the growth of this annual event starting on page 10. Our second story is about “super volunteers,” those people who don’t just give a little of their time, but rather they give an extraordinary amount. While we’re sure there are many other super volunteers in Polk, we’ve chosen just a few to highlight. Turn to page 8 to read about how they have made an impact in the 863.

artist on page 15, Desiree “Dez” Lyons. Recently she’s explored “Women’s Work” in her college studies, majoring in studio art, and has created some impressive fiber pieces by knitting and crocheting giant clothing—they are really something. And on page 6 Jamie Beckett —always a chuckle-filled read—tells us how kids suck but it’s not their fault. We’ll see you at Haven Holiday Market!

Sergio & Andrea Cruz

Also making an impact is our featured

Publisher | Editor

Publisher & Ad Sales Sergio Cruz |



Jamie Beckett James Coulter Jeff Roslow

Andrea Cruz |

Art Director Alejandro F. Cruz |

Cover Designer Deborah Coker

On the Cover The 5th Annual Haven Holiday Market is happening November 16 in downtown Winter Haven from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each year it has grown in attendance and vendor turnout—and this year is no different. Get a jump on your holiday shopping and support local artisans and crafters. Get more event info and see photos from previous years starting on page 10.

Publisher | Editor Photo Summertime is over but thankfully the beaches are close and the weather is relatively nice year-round. One of our family’s favorite activities is to try on nearby beaches and see if they fit. Here we are on Treasure Island, enjoying a perk of living in Polk County—being a quick car ride away from the sand and sea. From left: Oliver, Andrea, Alejandro “Alex”, and Sergio Cruz.

The 863 Magazine is a product of Polk Media, Inc., a woman- and minority-owned business. For more info visit us online: or

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The 863 Magazine

Apropos of Nothing By Jamie Beckett

Kids suck. But it’s not their fault. Their parents are nice to them—too nice. Back in the day, our parents ruled with fear.


here is a saying, honored and universally accepted that says, “Children are our future.” I say poppycock, balderdash, and give a loud Bronx cheer to the idea. Rather, I believe children are the anchor that moors our ship of adulthood dangerously close to and inextricably wedged between the Shoals of Despair and the Cliffs of Financial Ruin. Admittedly, that’s not the catchiest tagline ever offered. Seriously though, kids suck. Not just my kids, either. All kids.In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to find a kid who is worth his or her weight in tinfoil between here and the moon. Which is to say, they’re all worthless. In their defense however, it’s not their fault that today’s kids are needy, greedy, impolite, underemployed little so-and-sos. It’s our fault—their parents. We built up their self-esteem before they had anything to feel proud of in the first place. We screwed them up by being too nice to them. From Day 1 we doted on them. Well-intentioned moms and dads bought them everything they ever needed and most of what they wanted. We smoothed a path through life for them while helping to shoulder the load as they transitioned from grade school to high school to overpriced college. By law we have to carry them on our health insurance policies until they’re 27 years old! What were we thinking? When my parents were 27 years old they had two kids who were mowing their lawn, weeding their garden, shoveling their sidewalk and driveway

every time it snowed, and taking the garbage out to the curb for collection. They had a staff of part-time workers who would do pretty much anything they wanted. It was a nearly foolproof, never-fail system. It was nearly foolproof because the adolescent workforce knew from an early age that saying “no” was a guaranteed shortcut to finding yourself lying on the floor with little birdies singing and dancing around your head. Our parents weren’t nice to us. They fed us. They let us live in the house. But that was more or less the deal. Parents pay the bills, and kids do manual labor on demand. That’s the way it was at my house. Heck, that’s the way it was at every house I knew until I was out of high school and living on my own. Our parents didn’t coddle us. Instead, they were motivators. Occasionally brutal motivators who knew how to get their collection of short workers to tote that barge and lift that bale. My mother is a slight woman who never rose above 5 feet, 4 inches tall. She was tidy and fashionable with a strong resemblance to Florence Henderson’s Carol Brady. But unlike Carol, my mom wasn’t afraid to pop a 12-year-old in the face in an effort to make her point. And when she said, “Wait until your father gets home,” it wasn’t because we were all going out for ice cream and cake. It’s because a big, cranky guy with a temper and a short fuse was going to be walking through the door at the appointed hour and my mom knew

how to use that terrifying fact as leverage to get the chores done in a hurry. I didn’t have self-esteem. I had fear. Fear and the knowledge that if I worked very hard and didn’t talk back, I might live to see tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong. Childhood was painful in my youth, but my peers and I learned how to get things done. We learned to have initiative. We learned to persevere. Because to do anything less would cause us to show up for school the next day with a black eye and a lump on our head. When a cute, demure, public school teacher wearing an adorable little summer dress said, “What happened to you?” the honest answer, “My mother hit me with a shoe,” didn’t get you any sympathy at all. “Well,” she’d reply, “I hope you learned a valuable lesson from the experience.” To be honest, I always wondered if exchanges like that were the whole basis of the dreaded parent/teacher conference we kids were never invited to. I imagine they laughed a lot and ate cake during those meetings. I can’t say for sure, though. I was at home—mowing the lawn and hoping my dad didn’t get home until I had the job done. Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stayat-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that. Read all of his musings at

Fall 2019


55. “High” drink 57. *Iquitos and Santarem connection 60. *Shanghai and Jingzhou connection 64. Walter Mondale’s nickname 65. A try 67. Like an unwelcome neighbor 68. Hunter’s fake duck 69. R&B Charles 70. Clear the board 71. “Hurry!” acronym 72. Often follows to 73. Bullseye game


ACROSS 1. *Measured in knots 6. Kendrick Lamar’s genre 9. High school breakout 13. More lax 14. Female gametes 15. Rice wine 16. Verdi’s output 17. X 18. Chilled, two words 19. *San Diego and San Francisco connection 21. *Budapest and Belgrade connection 23. Greek H 24. H. H. Munro’s pen name

25. ____ De Triomphe 28. Old World duck 30. Accept without proof 35. Through, to a poet 37. What the Big Bad Wolf did 39. TV and radio 40. Observer 41. Letter-shaped girder 43. Month of Purim 44. What hoarders do 46. Tallest volcano in Europe 47. Trending one online 48. *Phnom Penh and Vientiane connection 50. Lazily 52. Antonym of keep 53. Cathedral area

Solution on page 13.

Theme: Cruising the World

1. Pig trough stuff 2. The biggest bear 3. Biz bigwig 4. Fear-inspiring 5. Author’s first copies 6. Campus drillers 7. Hail to Maria 8. Bamboo-eating bear 9. Hokkaido people 10. Bed with bars 11. *French Riviera port 12. WSW opposite 15. Opposite of pluralism 20. Iambus, pl. 22. Theodor Geisel, ____ Dr. Seuss 24. Term of endearment, with pie 25. Mr. T and friends 26. Mother Goose’s poem 27. Floorboard sound 29. *Wittenberg and Dresden connection 31. Clothing joint 32. Milk dispenser 33. *Port in Biscayne Bay 34. Dog-____ pages 36. Approximately, two words 38. Ollivanders’ merchandise, sing. 42. *Island country off the coast of Sicily 45. Stylish 49. Government Printing Office 51. Pined 54. Chow down voraciously 56. Greek bazaar 57. Bellicose deity 58. Flexible mineral 59. At the summit 60. Duncan toy 61. One of the Romanovs 62. Marinara quality 63. Beholder’s organs 64. Food safety org. 66. Needlefish


The 863 Magazine



Giving Overtime Time and a helping hand—many give a little, some give more. But a special few super volunteers give much beyond the norm. By Jeff Roslow


n most cases when you see someone you know you get a handshake but if it’s Donna Delf you get a hug.

“Jeff, Kathryn, and I all know we’ll get a hug and know she prays for us,” says Virginia Condello, the communications director of the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t take that for granted. We need that.”

Delf says she volunteers because it lets her get out of the house, which underplays the volunteering she does at the Church Service Center – for 13 years – and as a “Diplomat” volunteer – nine years – at the chamber. “I’ll do whatever needs to be done,” Delf says, adding she enjoys being a part of the community. For Claire Parks, it’s for the satisfaction: “When you see a face light up because you are at the door, if you stay for a minute and listen to the latest going-ons in their days… showing interest in them and their families if they have one, that warms your heart.” Parks has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Winter Haven Hospital, Ridge Art, St. Joseph’s Catholic, Cypress Gardens. And she’s worked as a caregiver. Volunteering is a large part of the life of Winter Haven resident Laurentiis Smith. He helps out where ever he can. “I love to give back,” he says. “I like to help push the kids.” Smith volunteers at Winter Haven High School, Theatre Winter Haven, The Ritz, Boys Scouts of America, Polk State College, and Florida A&M’s band, which he was part of when he went to school there. “He’s looked after the school when I’m locked down with a parent and can’t be on duty,” says Winter Haven High School principal Gina Williams. “He’s worked the crosswalk, managed traffic, directed cars, does lunch duty, orientation. He’s an extra set of eyes and he knows the parents and students.”

Laurentiis Smith as director of the Webber University Band. Smith volunteers at Winter Haven High School and other venues. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.

Fall 2019


Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali On top of his full time job, Smith made lifelong friends with and helped a Vietnam veteran suffering from Parkinson’s disease who was fighting cancer. “He would take him to a movie, the doctor, the VA Hospital, for haircuts,” says Kathy Erickson, the veteran’s sister. “Because I work, Laurentiis came into my brother’s life and to tell you the kind of person he is, he would come over when he got off work at 11 (p.m.) because my brother would be awake.” She adds that her brother’s cell phone had Smith as the first number on his speed dial. “I was third and my sister was fourth.” On top of giving her time at the Church Service Center, Delf helps the community helping to organize monthly free concerts at the Bartow Civic Center. The two hour free show has nearly 80 musicians and draws 300 people. For years Delf has helped put together the program. “Mary Jordan just asked me,” Delf says. “I’ve seen every show since 1991. I thought it was nice because I get hugs from people I know.” Though not a musician herself, her family gives back to their communities volunteering in orchestras. One daughter plays the bagpipes that were once her father’s in the Pipes and Drums in Waterbury. Conn., and her other daughter plays clarinet in Michigan. Spreading their faith to help others is not something they necessarily urge others to do, but volunteering for them is what they feel should be done. “(Community activist) George Tinsley and Earl Williams who had the community band (in Winter Haven)… they gave back to the kids. Mr. Tinsley was part of the church and he and his wife would take a lot of youth on trips and around Winter Haven,” Smith says. Smith says for others to feel volunteering is good could take some time. “They will learn in their due time,” he says, adding that his volunteering is because he believes it’s what God wants him to do. Parks says she’s always felt like she had to volunteer her time. “I’ve always answered the call of whom can I help? From school to staying late on the job to working on weekends. That need to raise my hand to answer does not go away – pay or no pay.”

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you Continued on page 13

Donna Delf wraps cookies for the free lunch program at the Church Service Center. Delf also volunteers at the Bartow Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Jeff Roslow.


The 863 Magazine

5th Annual Haven Holiday Market Something for Everyone By James Coulter

Fall 2019


here’s no place like home for the holidays, and there’s nothing that makes the holidays feel like home than homemade holiday ornaments and decorations. If you’re looking to add some homemade feel to your holiday festivities, then consider visiting the Holiday Haven Market on Saturday, November 16 in downtown Winter Haven, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For the past five years, this annual free outdoor community event has been hosted on the third Saturday of every November. The event allows residents and visitors alike to visit scenic downtown Winter Haven for a chance to peruse homemade holiday decorations as crafted by artisans from across the state and country. This year’s event expects to draw in more than 160 vendors from across six different states to showcase their homemade holiday arts and crafts, which in turn is expected to draw in 15,000 attendees. In addition, there will be vendors selling cottage food items such as jams

and jellies, breads, cupcakes, etc. Live music will be playing as well as familiar traditional holiday tunes. Food trucks wil also be selling their delicious concoctions. Whether you are looking for wreaths, ornaments, or any other special holiday decoration, you’re sure to find something truly unique that cannot be found anywhere else, especially nothing mass-produced for a large commercial corporate chain. “You won’t find the same product twice, because almost nothing is duplicated,” said event coordinator, Sergio Cruz. “They [artists and vendors] may create something today, but who knows what they will create tomorrow. They [guests] will have a wonderful one-of-a-kind experience.” Typical items found at Haven Holiday Market include unique art, jewelry, homemade soaps, paintings, drawings, woodturned crafts, knitted and crocheted items, gift cards, baby items, floral arrangements, and a whole host of other quality gifts. Items for furry


friends will be on hand as well, and as such, the event is pet-friendly. Cruz started the holiday-themed arts and crafts show five years ago, modeling the event after their spring show, The 863 Local Art Fest. Many of the participating artists and craftsmen for the spring event had suggested a similar event in the winter to coincide with the holidays. In response to this growing demand for a holiday show, the Haven Holiday Market was created. Since its first year, the annual event has grown in both vendors and attendees. The first year it had 71 vendors. The second year saw 99; the third, 129; and the fourth, 162. Likewise, foot traffic has also grown each year, Cruz says. Not only has the event drawn in large crowds each and every year, but it has also drawn them in earlier. The show starts promptly at 9 a.m., but even by then, the crowds arrive early on to ensure they are first for the awesome deals, Cruz explains. “At [9 a.m.], there [are] already 1,000 Continued on page 12


The 863 Magazine

Haven Holiday Market, from page 11

people plus. What that is basically saying is that these people have attended before, they have come, and [they have] seen there are great products, and if they do not get it, they come after 10 [a.m.], they are going to miss a good chance to find good products,” he says. Each year has vendors arrive from across the country to attend, with this year’s event drawing in vendors from six different states. Aside from allowing these vendors an opportunity to showcase, sell, and trade their art in Central Florida, the holiday market also helps spur the local economy, both directly through the sales made at the event, as well indirectly with business for local restaurants and hotels, Cruz says. The overall success for the annual event has been attributed through the sense of community fostered by the attending vendors. Many have formed close camaraderie with one another, and they have also helped spread new of the event and their participation within it through social media. “We encourage every single vendor to help with the network on social media [and] phone calls. So we work the entire industry. We are a whole team,” he says. Aside from social media, the holiday market is predominantly promoted through The 863 Magazine, as well as through new coverage by local stations such as Fox 13 and ABC Action News, the latter of which even helps promote the event’s website. With how much the event has grown in recent years, and with the mass marketing through social and mainstream media, this year’s is looking to be bigger and better than ever. In fact, even four months before, vendor spaces have already been sold out by 50 percent, Cruz says. For more info visit

If You Go... WHAT: Haven Holiday Market - 160+ artisans, vendors, live music, food trucks and more. WHERE: Central Park, downtown Winter Haven: 41 5th St. NW, 33881 WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 2019. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. WHY: Kick off the holiday shopping season there will be something for everyone! MORE INFO:

All photos featured in this article are from previous Haven Holiday Market events and are an example of the types of vendors that may be at the 5th annual HHM. Photos provided to The 863 Magazine.

Super Volunteers, from page 9

want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” – Author Unknown Volunteers realize their presence makes most of the difference. “They really care and care about each other,” Condello says of Delf and the other Diplomats for the Bartow chamber. “They keep track of each other.”

Fall 2019


and he’d say, ‘OK, I’m a little tired now.’”

“It’s easy to make a buck – it’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” – Tom Brokaw While Smith does most of his volunteering in his hometown of Winter Haven, he does do a bit of traveling to lend himself.

She adds the volunteers make it a point to get together once a month.

“At Florida A&M I marched in the band,” Smith says. “I still go back (to Tallahassee) and help with the band. I just came in from Los Angeles in January, they performed at the Rose Bowl.”

“We always have a great time,” she says. “It keeps our spirits up.”

He says he’ll lend a hand on whatever can be done, whether it’s musical or not.

Delf had done a lot of work to help the chamber with its monthly newsletter but as the process got more sophisticated less help was necessary. That meant time to do something else.

“I make sure the students have their uniforms, we have the support things. I make sure the field is all right and we have water,” he says. “I just want to lend a helping hand.”

“I send out all the birthday and Christmas cards,” Delf says, adding she packs up plenty of food for the free lunch offered by the Church Service Center. And for just about all of the 13 years she has been there she has collected and crushed the cardboard boxes the CSC receives in supplies. “It’s very rewarding to me,” she says. “I’m doing God’s work.” Parks says seeing her fellow volunteers is one of the highlights of volunteering. “You have so much in common. You look forward to seeing those friends on the days you work together. The friendships are precious.”

Williams adds, “For me as the principal of the school I appreciate all the support Smith gives.” He’s there for anything, she says. At football games he will help monitor the crowd. At basketball games, he’ll do door security. “It’s not so easy,” she says. “This is a school with 2,300 students.” The pleasure the volunteers gain from helping where they can was perhaps best summed by Parks: “The pay is so precious when you volunteer.”

While Erickson lost her brother five years ago, she and her family gained a life-long friend in Smith. “When he’s with you, people can never let him go. He will just go by and check, never any money involved. It’s normal to him… he’s just like family.” She mentioned Smith was going to pick up her 15-yearold grandson but he’d have to accompany him on a trip to Orlando. “He just wanted to ride with him,” she says. “(Smith) can talk on any level, make it with whatever age group is around.” On top of his caregiving and volunteering, Smith spends as much time with his triplet nephews, Erickson says. “He’ll keep them at night and get them ready for kindergarten,” she says. “He’ll pick them up at 10 or 11 and takes them home and puts them to bed. I would ask him when he sleeps

Crossword on page 7.

Fall 2019


863 Readers’ Art:

Dez Lyons: Women’s Work

Giant Knitted & Crocheted Clothing


olk County native Desiree “Dez” Lyons has always been creative, she says.

“I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and grew fascinated with animation,” Lyons says.

I’ve found that I enjoy making art that has an element of construction to it,” Lyons says. “I find that the feminine association attached to yarn creates a great juxtaposition with the masculine association attached to building and constructing.”

Two years in a Baltimore culinary school drew her attention to subjects such as sugar sculptures and creative cake decorating. But then while working at a hotel, she had to have surgery and physical therapy on her hands due to a nerve injury.

Most recently, Lyons, who is a collector of vintage knitting and crochet books, has been working on giant clothing and minimalistic art tapestries. She says in doing so, she’s come to learn a lot about the art category known as “Women’s Work.”

“I could not hold a pencil, but I found that I could manipulate knitting needles and crochet hooks in a way that they could also enhance my physical therapy,” she says. “I had dabbled with them previously, but nothing really more than an occasional scarf. I used this time to start experimenting with other objects and stitches.”

“There is a long history attached to (the Women’s Work art category) that would take a thesis paper to even scratch the surface on,” Lyons says.

In 2016 Lyons began working towards her bachelor’s degree and enrolled in the art program at Florida Southern College, majoring in studio art. “I had been self-taught up to that point, but after enrolling in the program I was able to explore other mediums that I would never had dared to try.

Lyons, inspired by the work of Sandra Backlund who creates some ‘insane knitted sculptures,’ says the sheer size of the objects she makes has forced her to come up with creative solutions for everything from design to display. Being able to take her projects with her in their early stages is helpful, she says, and adds that art like hers in the category of Women’s Work is extremely important. “Growing up, I was taught that the only art worth pursuing was painting and

drawing, and only if you were good enough at it to make money. Recognizing the artistry of Women’s Work can help people recognize the art that surrounds them every day. While not as revolutionary as the work of the 9th Street Women, I feel that acceptance of Women’s Work as art is a stepping stone in bringing gender equality into an otherwise male-dominated subject.” Follow Desiree Lyons on Instagram: @ dezdeedoodles.

Above: “Best Gift Ever” socks 108” x 24” each, knitted. Lower left: “Big Red Mittens” 73” x 60” each, knitted. Below: “In Memory Of Sharon Tillman” sweater 78” x 60”, crochet. Photos provided to The 863 Magazine.

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