On Christmas Eve we served about 130 people at Silver Palms, and everything was perfect. Instead of a big heavy dinner, Randy served appetizers, so everyone could have as much or as little of whatever they wanted. And there was plenty to choose from: Caesar salad, lettuce wraps, smoked salmon dip, stuffed mushrooms, Swedish meatballs, spinach artichoke dip, crackers and cheese, strawberry cream pie, pecan pie, eclairs and cream puffs, fresh fruit, carrot-ginger soup, broccoli soup, dollar sandwiches with turkey or ham, deviled eggs, strawberry cream pie, pecan pie, eclairs and cream puffs, fresh fruit and chocolate peanut clusters. Everyone said they had a great meal, and goodness knows they ate a lot!
Since Randy needed to be in Okeechobee to serve the Christmas Eve dinner, we knew we wouldn’t be able to visit family on Christmas Day. So we joined Clyde and Nancy and spent Christmas in Sanibel! Sanibel is about 2 hours away, and traffic was light. The purpose of going to Sanibel was to go shelling; I am in love with seashells and want to create jewelry from some of the prettiest ones. Fortunately for me, Clyde, Nancy and Randy are willing to spend their day searching for shells. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the only place to do shelling is on beautiful sunny beaches. We started out at the beach by the lighthouse. Nancy had told me that there were more shells than I could pick up, but I didn’t really believe her. So I was astonished at the number of shells - more than I could pick up, and that is a lot! We spent an hour or so there, then moved to another beach further north on the island. More sunshine, more waves, more shells. What a great way to spend Christmas!
One of our goals was to see the sunset from a beach. Nancy heard that the sunsets at Captiva’s beach were great, so we drove there as it started getting dark. And yes, the sunset was beautiful.
Then we went looking for a place to get dinner. Not an easy task, on Christmas day. The one or two places we found on Sanibel were absolutely packed. Eventually we stopped at a gas station to change out of our wet clothes, and the guy there said that Perkins was open. So we went there; turns out everyone else had the same idea, because although we didn’t have to wait to get a seat, the frazzled waitress said they were out of almost everything. They weren’t quite out of food, but the meatloaf they had left was pretty dry. But we were tired and hungry and glad to find a place to eat, so although it wasn’t the best meal, it was appreciated.
It’s a good thing we had a relaxing Christmas, because the day after Christmas was hectic. Randy has been putting in unbelievable hours to plan, organize and create wonderful meals, and his staff has worked really, really hard. And there has been great feedback from most of the guests. However, there have been a lot of issues with management, which Randy has tried to work through. But what is unacceptable is that the manager treats Randy and the rest of the kitchen staff with a total lack of respect, and it gets worse every day. In spite of our efforts to make this work, it became a choice between going along with this behavior or leaving, so we left.
So the day after Christmas we packed the RV up and drove out of that park. Clyde and Nancy had traveled a long way to spend time with us here, so they left with us. We need time to plan our next move so we moved to another RV park in Okeechobee and will spend a few days here. But since we are unemployed, what the heck, we headed back to the beach! East this time, and back to the Jupiter area. On the way we stopped at King Neptune restaurant for lunch. It’s small - they only have 7 small tables, and it’s not fancy, but every thing they make is fresh and well prepared. We shared conch fritters, Bimini bread and fried conch, and ordered scallop salad and mixed platters.
After lunch we went back to Blowing Rocks Beach, and it was so wonderful to spend another day in the sand and surf. The water is still a little too cool to swim in, but it felt great on our feet as we climbed around the rocks. This area has gorgeous orange shells that I just love; fortunately everyone was willing to help me gather some. A lot of shells were in the holes where the surf sprays up through the rocks - Randy was especially good at searching those.