Keepsake of Lillia’s Last Heartbeats Prior to Passing Away at Tampa General Hospital..So Precious! Read last post first!

Please read my last post “Some Things Happen For A Reason” Prior to viewing this one.

The John, the Uncle of the deceased mother and child killed in the tragic accident last year, just sent this to me.

He also texted me this story below:

Enrico Serpe is an active duty combat medic stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He’s also an Orlando firefighter and paramedic. He left the base that morning and was heading up Bayshore when all the cars in front of him came to a halt. He could see people stepping out onto the road. He parked, grabbed his medical bag and ran north.

He saw a group tending to Raubenolt as she lay in the grass. He didn’t think she could be saved. Further ahead, he saw a woman holding the baby. He heard people say she was breathing.

The little girl’s cheeks were blue. She had bruising on her body and a scrape on her head. He could hear her drawing slow, heavy breaths.

He held her, pressed his mouth to hers, and puffed. After a few breaths, her skin turned pink again.

Lillia’s organ donations saved 6 lives

Daughter of the Uncle painted this beautiful rainbow which now sits at the entrance to the neonatal unit at Tampa General Hospital as a remembrance of Lillia!

Some Things Happen For A Reason

yeaterdatHey Everyone,

Do you remember the post I did about 1 year ago where I told you how emotionally affected I was by witnessing a tragic accident along Bayshore Boulevard on Tampa, FL where a young mother and baby were killed by teenagers racing down the road.

I entitle that blog “Take Two, Get Two and now Weep for Three” The link from that blog is below.

Ironically, yesterday afternoon, I was going to forego my bike ride since I was invited once again to my French brother Marco and Italian sister Rosaria’s house for dinner. However at the last minute, I decided to go ahead and do my bike ride before leaving for my dinner evite and I am so glad did so!

As I was peddling along Bayshore Boulevard I saw a bunch of Television Cameras being set up right where the fatal accident occured one year ago on May 23, 2018.

There was a group of people gathering at the site along with one guy in a wheel chair. My emotions overtook me. I stopped my bike ride and asked the group if any of the family members of the victims were present. The guy in the Wheelchair in the attached picture below was the Uncle where the mother and baby had been staying at his home while the father was doing flight training in another part of Florida. So naturally he had the biggest emotional impact when the tragedy happened last year and was truly the last relative to see the mother and baby alive and how happy as they were as they wete leaving the house that day one year ago to take a stroll prior to this tragedy.

I entered into an emotional discussion with that Uncle, expressing how deeply impacted I was by that horrible fatal accident last year and how I think about his niece (the mother) and great niece (the baby) each and every day as I ride past where the tragedy occured. I told him that they did not die in vane and a result of this unfortunate tragedy, many vehicular traffic changes were made by Tampa that have potenially saved a lot more lives of the people who enjoy traversing along this boulevard every day on foot, bike, stroller, roller blades or skateboard. The speed limit has now been reduced from 45 to 35 MPH, many crosswalks with blinking lights are now in place so people can safely cross the busy street and police are noq always monitoring this area to deter potentual speeders.

I then discussed with the Uncle death in general and how I think about it these days especially when someone dies so young as his great niece. I told him about my deceased spouse Terry and how I try to look at early death at if God was giving the person a special accelerated promotion to go to the front of the line ahead of others to live eternally with him in heaven.

The uncle was very appreciative of my loving emotions and really perked up after I gave him another way to rationalize why God let his innocent niece and great niece be tragically killed at such a young age. Suddenly, I could feel the Uncle’s spirit becomming uplifted, as if my words and emotional discussion healed his grieve. He actually used much of what I told him when interviewed on TV as if I had written his script. I was so emotionally taken by all this as well. The uncle and his wife wanted my cell # so that they could invite me to their house for dinner in the near future as we definitely bonded. It was so ironic that I have completed a complete emotional circle pertaining to this event. First witnessing the tragedy, then feeling the strong emotions as I peddle each day by this site and now actually meeting and making friends with the victim’s family members and having a positive impact in helping to reverse the Uncle’s emotions that are now for the better.

I left the Uncle and group with a warm heart as I continued on my bike route and headed for home.

Link of original post that I did one year ago:

Small excerpt below from Tampa news:

“People gathered Thursday along Bayshore Boulevard, near West Knights Avenue in Tampa, to remember a mom and her little girl killed when they were hit by a car.”

Video on the news about the one year on-going Vigil yesterday.

Source: Vigil held for mom, daughter killed crash on Bayshore Blvd a year ago

The Uncle today just shared with me the vigil that was also held in Ohio by the husband/father and other family and friends there ss that’s were the family lives. That vigil was done simultaneously at the same time that the one in Tampa was held. So precious! He also sent me last years vigil here in Tampa. Link is at bottom.

The uncle also just sent me a you-tube video of a celebration remembrance celebration on what would have been Lillia birthday 2nd birthday. Aug 29, 2018

A tear jerker. Could have happen to any of our kids

Meals on Wheels

Hey Everyone,

As you know when I was away staying at my younger brother Randy’s home for about 3 weeks and then at my older brother Jan and sister-in-law Gail’s home for a week in April I ate decent meals.

I said at that time that when I returned back to Tampa, I would once again go back to eating my basic TV dinners every day.

However, since I’ve been back here, seems like I’m always attending one thing or another involving food and of course I’ve eaten several excellent meals prepared by my French sister Rosaria from Italy (who is Marco’s wife and a gourmet Italian cook).

Last night I went to a Potluck and Game Night at a club house hosted by one of the members within a meetup group I belong to. As always is the case, we had a wide variety of diverse food and it was plentiful!

As usual, at the end of the event there are so many wonderful dishes left over. Rather than just throw these items out, I selectively box up the good stuff, put it in my truck and then when I get back to MacDill AFB, I go into my “Meals on Wheels” mode. I begin driving around the base providing all the stand by crews located at the front gate, the ambulance services and the military police with a full buffet of great food and beverages to enjoy. They are always surprised and grateful to get these late night treats and I am happy to share it with them all.

Below are just a hand full of other photos from last night’s event.

Okay..about all for now. Have a great week!

Pronounciations While Speaking In A Foreign Language Can Often Be Misinterpreted!

Hey Fellow Bloggers,

For those who have never seen the video “An Italian Man Goes To Malta” you will love this.

My French brother Marco shared this funny video with me several weeks ago.

After chit chatting with my foreign French and German friends the other day many examples came up of how people often can misinterpret what one foreigner might be trying to say to another, just by a mere difference in the way one pronounces a foreign word or phrase or because of a difference in the meaning of the same word used in one country compared to another. Often times there can also be differences in the pronunciations or meanings of words even in different geographical sectors withhin the same country.

So be careful when traveling in a foreign country or when traveling within different geographic sectors of the same country as what you are attempting to say to another could be inadvertantly misinterpted and embarasing as is illustrated in this funny video!

Hummm… Wonder what my French friends thought of what I might have been saying when I attempted to kareoke in French on Wednesday night?

Have a great weekend!

Oh What A Night With My French and German Friends!

I was once again invited last night to another French Coalition function in honor of several French Coalition members finishing their tour of duty at MacDill AFB and now getting ready to head back home to France.

After the get together several of my French Friends along with my new German friend Marc and of course me, headed out for a night of Kareoking in Davis Island. We had a blast and closed the place down at 2 AM! I had a great opportunity to Kareoke in French! We had so much fun!!!

Enjoy the videos and pics from last night!

My new German Coalition Friends. Most of these guys are from Berlin. Marc, the guy to the left of me was a lot of fun. He joined some of my French friends and myself for a fun night of Kareoking at Davis Island after our French Coalition get together on Wednesday night. Marc is a party animal!!!

Au revoir !

This evening I was invited for a farewell dinner at my French brother Marco and Italian sister Rosaria’s home.

Marco and his wife (Rosaria) were honoring 3 French military soldiors in The French Coaltion Group that are finishing their tour of duty on MacDill AFB and will be returning back to France in about a week. Their military replacements were also in attendance.

When these French servicemen come to the states to do a foreign tour of duty, the time period they stay here is only 6 months. Thus, the staff is constantly changing. Also, because of the short time here, most of the guys come unaccompanied, leaving their families back home in France.

Since Marco is the Chief of Staff and second in charge for the French Coalition it was a nice gesture for him and his wife to have everyone over for dinner and drinks. As usual his wife Rosaria prepared a great Italian meal !

They even have a fine French wine with the same last name as Marco…”Coppola” !

I really feel at home with all these guys. I don’t speak French, but after a few drinks it seems like I do! The group is so nice to speak primarily in English when I’m around, but when they do converse in French from time to time they always take a moment to translate what they were saying in English. This is so thoughtful.

This guy in the front “Karim” is one of my French workout buddies. A real fun guy.

The drink above is a special liquor popular in the south of France. It’s very potent…but good!

It was such an enjoyable evening and I feel so privileged to be included as a special American guest to the French Coalition.

Tonight (Wednesday) I was invited to another social event where the entire French Coalition team will be in attendance to include their 2 star general.

Have a great day!

Enjoying Time With Friends.

Hey All,

Pretty relaxing weekend for me.

Although there were ongoing events on Friday evening with some new groups, I chose to just relax and stay home. Still a bit apprehensive to socialize with new groups of people that I don’t yet know until my facial surgery is totally healed. Don’t mind getting together with groups I already belong to where I know most of the people although.

On Saturday evening I attended the St Pete Art Walk with friends. Of course,took my French brother Marco and Italian sister Rosaria with me.

Another good friend of mine above. David from Columbia.

Here with David and another good friend of mine (Burr) in the middle.

Of course had to pose for a photo opportunity with the hot lips painting. Notice I posed showing only the good side of my face.

Posing above with Jean, the wife of Geo a good artist friend of mine that has a gallery in St Pete

Had to pose with this cute yellow doggie (was Terry’s favorite color).

This little clay art figure that one of the artist’s was working on looked a little like me (but without the screwed up nose of course!) Can you see the resemblance?

After finishing the walk, a good portion of the group decided to go out for dinner at a really nice Greek restaurant. The food was awesome!

Of course, always got to have fun with the restaurant staff. As they say…when in Greece do what the Greeks do!

After dinner, Marco, Rosaria and I decided to take a walk towards the bay and get desert at one of the many lively eating establishments there. Every so often I’d snap a photo of Marco and his wife…but making sure Marco kept his eyes open! (He has a tendency to close his eye when taking photos!)

Oh…isn’t the above one cute!

Ok…on Sunday evening I was invited to dinner at some good friends of mine (Stan and Lenny). They live in Clearwater. These are the guys that are now dealing with bladder cancer which is progressing so similar to Terry’s. They are anxiously awaiting the biopsy results from a day surgery procedure that was done on Lenny a few days ago, so better decisions can be made concerning what medical procedures need to be done next. I am trying to give them all the morale support thstvI can give, since as you all know.. I’ve been down this road with Terry. Lenny is being treated at Moffitt and has the same oncologist that Terry had. Brings back so many memories. We sat and chatted for hours after eating and before I knew… it was 1 Am! I had a 50 minute drive from their home to get back to my RV on MacDill AFB. It was an enjoyable evening. Didn’t take any photos while there except for the one below with the large giraffe on their front lawn! Made finding their home easy!!

I guess I’ll end this post here. Have a great week!

You’ve got a friend in me !

From Randy Newman Lyrics in Toy Story.

Hey All,

One of my main drives these days since returning back to Tampa is to get more involved in volunteer initiatives and devote more of my time with helping others.

So, you will probably see less posts on socializing activities and more of volunteer work. To be quite honest, getting a bit tired of dealing with my most recent nose surgery and appears it’s going to take forever to heal, especially since I undergo revision surgery on June 10th. Been 2 months already! Hope all this eventually heals properly. Don’t mind doing occasional activities with groups I already belong to that know me,but hard for me to want to try other new groups and to meet other new people looking like I do right now.

My French brother Marco’s wife Rosaria (from Italy) has now arrived here to Tampa and will stay with Marco until he leaves in mid July. Although Marco has been living in one of the apartments off base being paid by the French government and has a rental vehicle that he had been using for work and personal use around the area, with his wife being here, although it really doesn’t cause the French goverment any extra funds, he could not have his wife share the apartment with him, nor can she travel in his current rental car. So, Marco successful found a nice cottage in Tampa and has recently moved there with his wife and so is now paying for the rent there on his own, while the French gover ment still pays for the now empty apartment at a rate of $ 3,000 per month. What a waste of money, but rules are rules. Concerning the car…His wife doesn’t drive because she was unfortunately exposed to four catastrophic car accidents in her younger days with her family with her dad driving. Since she can’t even go into the government rental car, Marco was considering buying a used car to a accommodate getting out and about with his wife when he’s not at work. After I discussed the situation with him as to all the costs he would incur to purchase and register a car he’d purchase and then would have to quickly sell it in such a short time when he leaves in August, I convinced him it would be better to rent one for 90 days. So I helped him find one a week ago and last Wednesday, I picked him up at noon time at the Coalition Village on base and helped him with getting the rental vehicle. Also, since Marco works such long hours as Chief of Staff in the French Coalition with a very demanding General, his wife would have difficulty with getting around. So I did some research on Public transportation and was able to figure out a way for her to take the city buses within an easy walk to the bus stop from their current place is. Also figured out transfer points and bus #’s to take and made her a help sheet so she would clearly know how to do all this. She is now all squared away.

Now concerning another issue that has generated and that is ironically so personal to me. A couple guys I know here in Tampa (who were from Massachsetts) that I met several months ago at one of my meetups, have a challenging situation that has arrised. They have been together for quite awhile, just like Terry & I. One of the guys about one month ago started to have blood showing up in his urine (just like Terry). After tests and a scraping were done his was disagnosed with bladder cancer! Seems like it has spread into his muscle like Terry. He just underwent another surgery this week to look deeper into his bladder muscle and they are now awaiting the pathology results, just like Terry and I did. There is a good chance that he will have to undergo a total bladder removal to prolong life and minimize the futher spread of his cancer to other places in his body. All this is so similar to Terry. I have now taken a vested and personal interest into their welfare and because as you know I went thru all this, I’ve made myself a available to them 24/7 for advice and support. They are getting care at Moffitt Cancer Center and he has some of the same Oncologists that Terry had. It seems so ironic that I made friends with these guys several months ago as if God had a plan for me to have met them and to now extend my assistance. Yes, it brings back sad memories for me and I pray that my friend can overcome and eradicate the spread of his cancer. I am so glad to be there to assist them in any way I can. That’s what friends do!

Also recently I’ve also been taking on the role of travel guide. Since I’ve so many meetup activities in the area, I have learned a lot about fun places to go all around Tampa and St Pete as well as all the beach areas along the gulf. My neighbor in the RV park (Jesse) has his wife visiting this weekend and I designed a whole bunch of activities for them to enjoy this weekend. I’ve also made a new friend from Ireland who is here in Tampa only until August. His family has flown over from Ireland and will be here for two weeks. I worked up an busy itinerary for him and his family as well to enjoy during their time here.

I really enjoy helping friends out. It gives me a good feeling to be of assistance to others.

Have a great rest of your weekend fellow bloggers!


My Extended Family Is Growing!

Hey Bloggers,

You all know that I have 2 biological brothers, (Jan and Randy).

I also have one sister-in-law (Gail) my brother Jan’s wife.

I also have a 96 year old mother (Stacia).

In addition have 1 niece and 1 great niece and nephew (offspring of my brother Jan)

I have no biological children of my own.

However, when Terry and I got married, I gained 3 step children (Timothy, Tyler and TJ)

Timothy in his first marriage had a son (Logan) now 9 years old and several years ago Timothy found out that he had another child from a former girlfriend (Piper) whose now 14 years old.

Recently my youngest step son (TJ) and his wife told me they were expecting a baby boy this comming September.

My middle step son (Tyler) and his wife (Tanesia) have no children.

Got a call last week from my oldest step son (Timothy). He told me he was getting remarried to a women with 3 children from a previous marriage ages 8, 12 and 28.

Of course, I also have 2 mother’s-in-law (Mary and Jan) and 1 father-in-law (Don), 2 brother’s-in-law (Larry and Mike), 1 sister-in-law (Sherri) and now 6 step nieces and nephfews and 8 great step nieces and nephews.

You also know I have a sister from another mother (Beau) from Melbourne, FL.

In addition you know I have a French brother from another mother (Marco) and now that his Italian wife has arrived to Tampa, I have a new Italian sister from another mother (Rosaria).

Marco and Rosaria are the two to the left in the photo.

So what’s the tally ?

2 biological brothers

1 sister-in-law (from my side of the family)

1 mother

1 niece and 1 great niece and nephew (offspring from my brother Jan)

3 step sons

3 step daughter’s-in-law

5 step grandchildren (and one on the way)

2 mother’s-in-law (Terry’s side)

1 father-in-law

2 brother’s-in-law (Terry’s side) and their wives

1 sister-in-law and her husband

2 sisters from another mother

1 brother from another mother

And of course 6 step nieces and nephfews and 8 great nephfews and nieces from Terry’s siblings.

So, as you can see my family is growing….and I didn’t do any of the work biologically!

Luv, Gary