We enjoy going to the movies but not during this pandemic. We’re just not there yet, so we decided to take a long drive to go to the Ocala Drive-In in Ocala, Florida. It seemed like a good idea, as we could socially distance from the car or from our chairs in front of the car. There are two screens there, and three of the screens played first-run movies (“Tenet”, “Spontaneous”, and “The Last Shift”). We opted for the Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus” with Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The movie start times varies according to the time it gets dark, so be sure to check the movie start time seasonally. When we visited on October 3, the movie started at 7:45 PM, and the gate opened at 7:00 PM. I highly recommend getting there early, as close to opening as possible to get a good parking spot, as the drive-in appeared to be nearly sold out by the time the show started. The price is six dollars per adult and three dollars for children from six to twelve. Children under five are free.

The man at the gate entrance was very pleasant and gave us brownie “Z-Bars” with our receipt, which was a welcome surprise. I am a big fan of the “small good thing” one receives unexpectedly. When I voiced my surprise and thanked the gate keeper, he gave me a warm and genuine smile in return.

We have been to a few drive- in theaters in Florida in the last ten years or so, and a few are in less than desirable neighborhoods and looked a little worse for the wear. Ocala Drive-In, however, is in a pleasant and safe neighborhood and has been kept up well. The rest rooms have been updated a bit, very clean, and the owners take pride enough in their drive-in to place a decorative item on the vanity in the women’s rest room. I was happy to see the door to the restrooms propped open to allow adequate exchange of air during this pandemic, too.

The concession stand delivers food to your car if you want, but there are newer patio chairs and tables for those that wish to eat at the concession stand.

During the height of the pandemic, cars were parked in every other spot to allow for maximum social distancing, and at the time of our visit, only a few blocked spots remained for social distance. However, cars appeared to be parked four or five feet away, and the distance from driver of one car to passenger of the adjacent car appeared to be well over six feet.

I appreciated the proprietor’s request to stand when the National Anthem was played on the screen and had forgotten this happened before every movie I saw as a child in the drive-in. I also was pleasantly surprised to see a black and white Popeye clip play just before the movie, along with a kitschy concession advertisement like those I remember advertising the “hot buttered popcorn” at the concession stand from my childhood.

The quality of the movie, even though it was old, was great. The sound coming through the FM radio of our car was equally great. Patrons were all well-behaved, and we viewed no sketchy characters there.

All in all, it was a great outing to the Ocala Drive-In, and we will definitely go again. I highly recommend this particular Drive-In, too, as the attention to detail the owners provide for this old but in good condition theater shows.

Life is good; find a way to do something different today. Carpe diem, friends…………..


I can still hear my wonderful father saying to me time and time again in my head: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That was him, “King of the Colloquial Expression”, always finding a teachable moment everywhere. A man of few words but words that meant something. He didn’t speak much, of course, unless he had something to say. No idle banter for him, but a pleasant and funny disposition, a kind and loving heart, a warm smile with a sunny laugh, and a man of few words. Life lived well and lived fully.

I think of my Dad today on day three of a week of lavender recipes I am trying. It comes down to the idea of cut the idea of cutting your losses while you are ahead versus you never know until you try. Go the distance; live without wondering what could have happened. Go the distance; risk disappointment but know you tried. I impart these same words to my daughter, “Teen Traveler” and decide without blinking an eye that the proverbial “show must go on”, another quip from my beautiful days with my father before he passed on. Even though we haven’t really cared for the two lavender recipes we tried this week, we will continue in our quest.

Day Three: Lavender pound cake. Pound cake brings to mind simpler, almost more old-fashioned times, as my beautiful mother adored pound cake and served it to me when I was small like her mother did before her. Pound cake, buttery goodness and sweet confection, just like Mom. Throw in a little lavender, and it HAS to be good, right? This time I am going to decrease the amount of lavender I use to see if that makes a difference and pair it with lemon. How could lemon pound cake go wrong with wise words of advice from my father coupled with sweet memories of my mother……

I decided to use my Mother’s old vintage Corningware loaf pan, complete with the cornflower from a lifetime ago filled with less complication, confusion and without Covid. This was either a very good thing to use my Mother’s pan as fond memories of love and comfort surrounded me while I was baking, or…..it was a bad thing because my mother wasn’t much of a baker. In either case, it was fun to take out my Mother’s old pan again if for nothing other than the sake of nostalgia.

Yesterday my track record for yummy lavender recipes was 0 for 2. I waited with excitement as I watched the cake come out of the oven and cool. I used a vanilla confectionary sugar glaze when it was cool enough as the recipe directed.

And I added sprinkles. Of COURSE I added sprinkles, as I had learned years ago from marrying into my husband’s family that sprinkles on our Italian struffali is the ONLY way to go. LOTS and LOTS of sprinkles. My daughter also taught me that life is better, always better, with a little sprinkles on top.

One person who tasted it said it felt like they were eating a scented drawer liner. My daughter said it would be delicious WITHOUT the lavender. I actually liked it, but I would have preferred the recipe to have a little heavier glaze on the top, as it was almost transparent in the recipe, even though I added even more confectionary sugar to thicken it than the recipe called for.

Day three: 1 for 3. Finally a recipe that tastes good (to some of us). I actually think I’m on to something here with the combination of lavender and lemon. Perhaps tomorrow I will try lavender lemonade. You know how it goes…..”if life gives us lemons, we make lemonade!”

Life is good; carpe diem, friends……..

(photo 1:dreamstime)


Sunday afternoon in April at our local shopping area in Florida during the pandemic

During this time of self-isolation and stay-at-home orders, I try to look for something that makes me smile. During a drive in our town the other evening after dinner, I couldn’t help but notice that the stores that are normally open until nine o’clock or ten o’clock at night, including the grocery stores, were closed right before or right after dusk. I am reminded of growing up in New England when the “Blue Laws” were in effect in a big way and most stores, with the exception of the malls prior to the advent of the big box stores, were closed after dinner to give the shop keepers time to be home with their families. On Sundays, stores were either closed or had very reduced hours because of the “blue laws”, which were designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious or secular reasons, particularly to promote the observance of a day of worship or rest. In fact, until recently in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the “blue laws” prohibited stores from being open on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Technically, the state of Rhode Island can still fine a company for making certain employees work on Sunday. Luckily it’s only a maximum fine of ten dollars.

Professional sports, with the exception of hockey and ice polo, need a special license to play on Sundays.

Furthermore, it’s illegal in Providence for a store to sell a toothbrush and toothpaste to the same customer on a Sunday. I’m not sure how or if THAT law is enforced at this time though. I can’t even imagine the logistics of that one.

Speaking of petty archaic Rhode Island laws, evidently exercising any labor, business, or work, or using any game, sport, play, or recreation, or causing any of the above to be done to
or by your children, servants, or apprentices on the first day of the week (Sunday) results in a penalty of five dollars for the first offense and ten dollars for the second.

Finally, for those of you in the home audience who lose sleep wondering, yes, it is still unlawful in Rhode Island to throw pickle juice on a trolley as well. I’m not even sure the last time Rhode Island had a working trolley.

Thinking of these crazy archaic laws in Rhode Island brings a smile to my face today and reminds me we have come so far in recent years. We have come so far, but I miss the times when the focus of our community was on the family. Admittedly, the nostalgia I feel about the closing of many stores for the time being reminds me of a kinder, gentler time not too long ago.

Life is good. Find something to make you smile today. Remember good times of the past, and look forward to good times in the future. Maybe the best times of our lives are still ahead of us on the horizon. Certainly, better days are ahead but enjoy today while it lasts. THESE might just be the “good old days” for one reason or another….

“I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days…”

-“Good Old Days” by Macklemore

“…Cause I might be crazy…

I think it’s high time
We break out the good wine
Raise a glass and say
These still are the good old days…”

-“Still the Good Old Days” by James Taylor

“And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways
So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days

And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days…
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)….”

-“Anticipation” by Carly Simon

Enjoy today; THESE are the good old days. Carpe diem, friends…………..