For there is no friend like a sister / In calm or stormy weather; / To cheer one on the tedious way, / To fetch one if one goes astray, / To lift one if one totters down,/ To strengthen whilst one stands. –– Christina Rossetti
from “Goblin Market”
Since 2014 the weather has been stormy for the Longenecker Sisters
First, our dear Mother died
Then, Aunt Ruthie “went up on the next cloud,”
And, unexpectedly, our brother Mark left us.
We lifted each other up when we tottered down
Clearing out houses from attic to cellar
Standing vigil at their bedsides
Saying goodbyes, some long . . . some brief
Planning memorial services.
It was time for Marian, Janice, and Jean to reunite
After years apart, and after the separation of Covid-19
It was high time!
So, we jumped at the invitation of my niece Heidi
To plan a week’s getaway in Florida on the waterfront.
The Setting: Arriving at Heidi & husband’s VRBO in Homosassa Springs, Florida – 5 days, 4 nights
Sunrise: Morning Routine on the Balcony
Action on the Crystal River
We had a boatload of fun, docking for fresh fish and sightseeing
We ate well: jumbo-sized shrimp servings, fresh crab cakes
Shrimp Broil with appetizers at Heidi’s House, best cuisine ever
Kayaking, Ping-Pong, then Relaxing
Then, massaging the aching muscles
The Ellie Schiller Wildlife Sanctuary
And, finally, shopping . . .
Returning Pontoon to the Marina early evening and then . . .
For information about Heidi and husband’s Vacation Rental at Homosassa, Florida along the Crystal River, check here
How have you kept in contact with friends and relatives during the pandemic?
Are you looking forward to a reunion with special people?
Coming next, The Geography of a Journey: Confinement in a Travel Trailer
Good morning, Marian! That looks like such a wonderful vacation and get-together with your family. Relaxing, adventures, great food, and just spending time together. I’m happy vaccinations are around so that we can do such things.
We’re going to see my mother-in-law soon, and then my sisters/family in a couple of weeks–it may depend on good weather, as niece’s children are not yet vaccinated.
All of us have been vaccinated, so we felt free to gather. Most of the events were outdoors, so we wore masks rarely. Thanks for starting the conversation here again, Merril! 🙂
You’re welcome. It looks like a beautiful vacation spot!
Also, you in the kayak!! Wow!
So much fun. I don’t have sisters, so stories like this fill me with envy. Enjoy them!
Aww, sorry. But I hope you can take trips anyway with someone special. It’s just good to get away, something I’ve taken for granted. . . not anymore though! 🙂
What a delightful photo essay of your vacation! It looks as though you all had the time of your lives, just being with each other and having FUN! I got a big kick out of the “maneuvering the kayak” video. (That would be me.) My husband and I made several visits to the Ellie Schiller Wildlife Sanctuary when we lived in Florida. I remember there was a manatee named Amanda who hogged all the carrots at feeding time.
I’m glad you can relate to a lot of these activities. I had kayaked before, but I needed a refresher. Besides the current was pretty strong even though the video doesn’t show that.
The Ellie Schiller Wildlife preserve is spectacular and worth the $ 13.00 to maintain a nurturing place for the animals. I have never seen habitats so tailored to each species. Wow! Thanks, Liz. 🙂
You’re welcome, Marian! I felt as though I had been on vacation myself after reading your post.
Love this, Marian!
Thank you, Jack. 🙂
What a fun and special time, Marian, and what a thoughtful niece!
Niece Heidi was so pumped about taking us to their VRBO, especially since it is usually booked. We were lucky to get a 5-day slot in the schedule. It is so good to hear from you again, Carol! I hope you are doing well. 🙂
I’m back in PA and enduring 2 gray days strung together.
The pictures brought IT all back.
Your sister Jean.
You are an eyewitness to the FUN. The views were spectacular, but the best thing of all was being TOGETHER. Thanks, Jean! 🙂
Oh my! What a fun time for you all in such a beautiful location. Truly, a gift. Here in British Columbia, we are under travel restrictions outside our health authority.
I appreciate your reading and commenting, Linda. And I hope the travel restrictions will be lifted, especially now that your part of the world is beginning to bloom. Enjoy the lush Canadian spring as it unfolds. 🙂
What a perfect get away! You are so lucky to have sisters. I love my brothers dearly but I would so have loved to have a sister to share times with. I don’t know when I can get together with my family members, perhaps in the fall. The kayak video is so funny. Love it. I’m not very athletic but have kayaked a few times. It is fun and not too demanding. You have created some great memories.
I believe you have a sisterhood on your blog and larger writing community. But I won’t pretend it replaces siblings.
Yes, I had kayaked before too with a grandson, but it’s obvious I need a refresher – ha! Thanks for checking in, Darlene. 🙂
These are beautiful pictures. I’m glad you were able to spend this time with your sisters and nieces, especially after so many sad losses in recent years.
We’re planning to travel to Pennsylvania for my son’s wedding in early September. Family from Washington state, California, and New York are planning to be there. I can’t wait!
Thank you for noticing, Linda Lee.
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, especially a happy occasion like a wedding. Pennsylvania should be beautiful in September, perhaps with the blush of turning leaves. 🙂
What fun to go on your roadtrip with you and your sisters and daughters. You put the idea in my head of a similar roadtrip with three sisters and our mother. That VRBO looked ideal, but the real benefit was Heidi! Loved seeing you in the kayak. We did something similar about ten years ago and went to a resort in the Poconos together. If we took our daughters, we’d have four more. We did that at Ocean City one time too. Time to do it again. Thanks for starting my day with an adventure.
You’re welcome, Shirley!
I’m glad this post helped pleasant memories to bubble up and inspired some future ones. When you get settled in PA, you’ll certainly want to venture out with loved ones. You have much to look forward to, my friend. 🙂
Glad your trip worked out so perfectly. I know you’ve been needing this space of time to relax and just talk…and talk…and talk. Your photos you crafted together told a good story. I could imagine the trip although I have not been down there yet. Good job!
Thank you for the thumbs up, Husby. If you think my photos are good, that’s high praise because I know you look at them with an artist’s eye. 🙂
Oh, my gosh — I feel utterly refreshed after enjoying this virtual vacation. Thank you so much for sharing the fun!
Vicarious vacations are fun too. I always enjoy the ones I take with you, especially those scenic views on your daily walks, Laurie! 🙂
Oh, what fun! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for “tripping” with me today, Bette! 🙂
How radiant you look, Marian! What great photos of your family! Love this! So glad you shared this.
Ah, thank you, L. Marie. I also want to say a huge “Thank You” back. A copy of The Stuff Between the Stars just arrived in the mail. Know that I’ll dig into it before the end of the day for sure. 🙂
Such a fun adventure. Your photos and smiles are wonderful. I can vaguely remember going on vacations back in the before times. Hope to do so again sometime this year.
Cheers to more vacations for us all, including you, Ally. Aside from short trips with my husband, I’ve stayed close to home as well. Having the vaccine made us bolder. 😀
Marian, the word is ENVY, pure and unmitigated ENVY!! It just looks like such a great holiday, and I’m glad you and your sisters could have that time together in such lovely surroundings. My four sisters and I had a holiday like that years ago at a B&B in a resort town in Ontario and we had tons of fun. Haven’t done it since for various logistical reasons, but now that COVID has kept us in lockdown for so long, it is time again to do something FUN together once the restrictions are lifted. You have inspired me!
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint!” Isaiah 40:31
Oh, Elfrieda, I do hope warm winds will blow in Winnepeg, both literally and figuratively, so you can have family time with relatives again. There is a lot of pent-up emotion to travel and re-connect with loved ones these days.
When you read my travelogue from long ago on next week’s blog, you will not feel the slightest bit of envy. Not. At. ALL! 🙂
That is just so fantastic! It looks like a wonderful and relaxing holiday for you all. So happy for you. Best wishes to all of you. 👍❤
It was relaxing, Fatima, especially because we had a travel hostess, who planned our itinerary. After we drove there (2 1/2 hours), we just fell into her schedule, which we certainly appreciated. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
How fun with all the girls! What a wonderful getaway! Beautiful place!
You hit the nail on the head, Bonnie. A fun getaway in a beautiful place, that’s for sure. 🙂
How wonderful to finally reunite in person with your sisters, Marian. It looks like you’ve had a memorable trip. I don’t travel anywhere these days but just being able to reconnect with family and friends in a near-normal way is delightful. Beautiful pictures!
Kathy, I know your son and daughter crave time with you–and perhaps siblings too. Last year at this time it wasn’t so. Thanks so much for checking in. It’s SO good to see that smile! 🙂
What a spectacular view from the balcony! That looked like an ideal few days. We’re flying out to Montana to see our son on Friday. It’s a relief to be fully vaccinated.
It’s always great to have something to look forward to: reunion with loved ones + a change of scenery. Montana should be blossoming this time of year.
Safe flight — happy times, Pete! 🙂
How nice that you at all vaccinated and can socialize free from worry. I love you picture, Marian. It looks like a great time was had.
Yes, indeed, Robbie. I hope you and your family are free to travel soon. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Wow! Your reunion was in style. I’m so glad for all of you. I didn’t have sisters and my only brother died, so I feel the loss. My North Carolina son (now fully vaccinated over 2 weeks ago) will be here tonight and I haven’t seen him since October. We’re all vaccinated. My local son has been in my pod all along with a few other local friends who were extremely careful about staying home and getting supplies through Instacart or online. Our contact was outdoor walks, even in the winter–and it’s still cold here even if the world is green. Since hiking may not be as much fun this weekend as we wished, we’ll do lots of cooking and we’ll hike anyway because there will be 5 dogs at my house–my 2 and my NC son has 3. An exciting few days. I need to get to NC so I can stay a week, but haven’t felt up to the long drive or flight.
How exciting, Elaine! You may probably not read this until after the Hoopla, which you so richly deserve. I’m giving your family reunion a working title of “Kids, Dogs, and Mom.”
Yes, we “camped” in style in Homosassa because of my niece Heidi, but we could have been in a trailer by the sea and just as elated to be together, albeit less comfortable. We felt free to get outside of our bubbles because all five of us were vaccinated.
May you exult in the beauty outdoors and the close company indoors. The main thing is to be TOGETHER. Let the Good Times Roll! 🙂
It must have been so difficult to say goodbye after such a glorious time together. The photos are amazing and what a beautiful place! Of all the things that you all did together this will sound weird but my favorite is ping pong. I love playing ping-pong with family members.😁 You and your sisters deserved this sweet gentle and joyful time together. Thanks for bringing us along. Two weeks ago my guy and I drove down eight hours to visit my brother and his family and after the Covid year we’ve had and now with all of us vaccinated it felt amazingly wonderful. 💖
I’m glad you and your guy could sip the nectar of brotherly reunion, exulting in being together after miles and months apart.
Ping Pong is up close and personal, so I can see why you like it so much. I was worn out taking pictures so I didn’t participate. (Just kidding!)
Yes, we did say “Goodbye” after 5 days, but then my Pennsylvania sister spent 3 days at my house, where my city sister visited. We topped things off by singing trio numbers on the piano, just like old times as kids in PA. Thanks for offering echoes of your joyous reunion–and anticipation of more to come. 🙂
Ohhh, I hope there’s a video of the three singing sisters. How absolutely delightful. ❤️
Pam, we don’t have a video because we were alone in the house when we sang, but Jan’s husband recorded us once. I have to say we blend well. 🙂
You three blend so beautifully – I can tell just by the photos and your stories. Maybe sometime you’ll share the recording in a post. <3
I’ll have to find it first – tee hee!
Wow, that looks like a heavenly trip, just what I could use, sun, fun, girl get together. The perfect antidote. <3
Oh, Debby, you have been through absolutely the worst thing. But thanks for courageously plugging ahead. It’s SO good to see you here.
I have a feeling that your perfect antidote is on its way, And I hope a respite comes sooner rather than later. ((( )))
Just the most wonderful post Marian – lifting of spirits on this side of the world as well from just imagining and seeing the 3 of you having the most marvellous fun time. I’m hoping that my brother who lives near Durban, a long way away, can fly here before his birthday (later this month), then we’ll get together with my sister – it will be the Franks, Scott’s and Irish’s together for the first time in a long time – a real meeting of the United Nations … 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend – on Sunday it is Mother’s Day – if it’s also in the States then a very Happy Mother’s Day to you!
I like the way you summarize the siblings meet: the Franks, the Scotts, and the Irish. What can be more wonderful than a “United Nations” family. May you have a glorious time together.
Thanks for the Mother’s Day wishes. And the same to you, Susan! 😀
Thanks Marian, those really are our surnames!
How fun! 🙂
What a wonderful sisters’ reunion, Marian. So glad you got to see them and it looks like you had a great time. I’ll be seeing my siblings this summer, one I haven’t seen in 2 years. Thanks for sharing – I hope you got a chance to navigate that boat 😉
Though I had seen my sisters separately in less time, it had been 2 1/2 years since we all three have been together.
No, I didn’t navigate the boat. Although I was asked, my sister Jean was more enthusiastic about it. I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Barbara!
Such amazing photos so lovely to see you back together as the countries of the world try to get back to some kind of normal . You all look so happy 😁
We saw our son this weekend the first time in 16 months . We had a lovely time and yet we feel we’ve never been apart through this pandemic because when we left England for Wales over five years ago we have done FaceTime with Cameron twice weekly , it’s always felt like we never left . What would we all have done with our technology ??? 🤪 Don’t knock it , it’s really helped . Lovely to see all your photos
Yes, indeed, what would we do without technology. I’m glad you finally got to see (and hug!) your dear Cameron after such a long time apart. YES, I too I’ve done Zoom calls to stay in touch, but not FaceTime, so I don’t knock the internet.
I’m glad you enjoyed the sisterly photos. It was the first time in over two years we could kick up our heels and celebrate, taking advantage of niece Heidi’s river house and boat. What a treat! Thanks for sending a note “across the pond” as they say! oxo
What a fabulous vacation and reunion, Marian. This post brings so much color, joy, love, and fun onto my lap right now. You all seemed to have a fantastic time and enjoyed chock full days with everything from good food and great company to fun boat rides, scenery, and other activities. Looking forward to your next, long-awaited camper post. 🙂 Yes, I look forward to seeing my family in Belgium after three years… Hopefully I manage a visit this summer.
I was just thinking about you and hoping you are okay.
Yes, we had a fan-tastic time. Expert mariner that you are, you must have gotten a kick out of our kayak capers. One thing I didn’t want to mention in the post: Heidi tied the boat too tightly one time and with the wrong rope configuration, so when high tide hit, the boat wouldn’t budge and we missed our sunset cruise. Actually, she was brave to navigate because her husband usually handles boating details.
Thanks for checking in, Liesbet. Yes, I hope you can visit Belgium this summer. Your family would be overjoyed and another culture could practice their English with your book – ha!
Lovely photos and trip! I hope my sisters and I can take a trip together again at some point. We were on a trip of another kind this past week as you know and have experienced. Thanks for your prayers … there were great moments amid the pain and sadness in the transitioning we are doing. Stay tuned. 🙂 Mom has a lot of work ahead of her to make it to assisted living, so we’ll see. She has a lovely place to live but it’s not independent and she, in her spirit, is independent.
I believe I replied to your email today, Melodie. (Hard to tell, with my scatter-brained-ness!) You are doing the difficult work of enabling your mother’s transition. It’s especially challenging with an independent soul.
Thanks for taking the time to comment here: Prayers — often! ((( )))
I am so happy for you, Marian that you got to spend some time with your sisters..the images are spectacular we loved Florida when we holidayed there many moons ago now…I look forward to meeting up with some family but at the moment no vacinations in sight for us only promises and many places here now have new infections luckliy not so here we have moved out of the red zone but travel isn’t something we would do at the moment…A lovely joyful post thank you for sharing 🙂
Carol, I’m glad you can travel vicariously through these photos. I’m sorry about the delay in Thailand. I hope and pray help comes soon. Still, I’m glad you have moved out of the red zone, a sign of progress. Thanks for commenting! 🙂