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By Rog Patterson

Bob Waite rhymes with stained glass. Well, of course it doesn’t, but 50 years ago Bob Waite did discover stained glass making in his first and only class during an adult education program at Canton, in way, way Upstate New York. From then on he just read a lot of books, corrected a lot of mistakes and bandaged a lot of cut fingers.

Ironically Bob wound up teaching stained glass at the Brasher Falls, N.Y. high school some years later.

Originally he learned to cut glass with hand tools, separating pieces with wide jaw pliers. Today he uses a specially made band saw for precision cuts, combined with a multi-grit polisher for even finer trimming. Both are water cooled.

Adapting his preferences in flower scenes, landscapes and other “scapes” to homemade patterns, Bob fits them into the overall size and shape he wants. Over the years he has created some 70 stained glass works in all sizes, but mostly on the large side.

Bob has also pushed the envelope by copying Van Gogh’s famed “Iris Field” oil painting and even creating a 3-dimensional sunflower sculpture.

Yes, the Waite house is literally overflowing with Bob’s stained glass items, so you can share seasonal subjects hanging outside their Marion Landing front porch. Other pieces are cleverly fitted into windows around their Florida room.

If it were not for giving some finished stained glass artwork to members of the family and close friends, there would be even more cluttering up Bob’s garage workshop and elsewhere so very nicely.

When asked, Bob allowed that he would consider stained glass project commissions…   as long as they didn’t interrupt scheduled tee times with his Marion Landing Golf Club buddies.

Ringing up a Record

Marion Landing residents who accepted Karl Petersen’s invitation to share a 2-hour ding-a-ling tour at the Salvation Army red kettle in front of Winn Dixie contributed to a new record. Up from $9,100 in donations for 2007, that kettle in Friendship Center collected a whopping $11,189 for 2008 – the largest ever. Congratulations!

Pam’s Been Creative

I know it’s her job, but activities director Pam Guenther seems to always go above and beyond in coming up with unique and fun ways to occupy our spare time. (Who has very much spare time in Marion Landing?) After assembling that super week-by-week lineup of pre-Christmas Tuesday social entertainment, just take a look in your Communicator at the craft projects, speakers and a day trip Pam arranged to kick off the new year.

Bunka shi-shu, basket weaving, botanical flowers, painting, speakers on Alzheimer’s, homestead tax, financial options, a tour of the historic Dudley Farm in Newberry, and even the very first meeting of our new Genealogy Club. Sure wish I had some spare time.

Volunteer opportunities

There are seven opportunities to flex your volunteer genes with the Board of Director’s annual appointment of chairpersons for Social & Recreation (Jerry Wood), Finance (Dave Rusch), Election (Gloria Wilberg), Documents Charlie Mock), Rules & Regulations Janice Wood), Long Range Planning (Fran Szutar) and Redecorating (Gordon Herrick) committees.

Let these folks know you’d like to be of service to our community on these essential committees. I’m told a volunteer’s enthusiasm and interest are considered more important than his or her experience.

New Year’s Eve Gala

Tony and Kathy Mongerio’s “Sounds of Time” made our New Year’s Eve Gala a dandy experience. No matter what your dancing style they really had all the steps covered … even for clumsy cloggers like me.

Bragging up the “world’s biggest hors d’oeuvre table” was no idle boast. It was actually made up of four tables stretching end-to-end under an amazing and colorful load of nibbles and noshes for all of the partygoers.

And, as promised, plate after plate of shrimp appeared at 10 p.m. sharp, along with bowls of zingy cocktail sauce.

We had the company of a great bunch of neighbors enjoying a great party to welcome in the New Year.

Gustatory Serendipity

On our way home from my co-pilot’s latest affair with her Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist, we hunted for a small restaurant. It was rumored to lurk behind the Wilderness RV Resort entrance on S.R. 40 just over the Ocklawaha River Bridge.

We found Jan & Al’s River Park Café and enjoyed an unusually good late lunch. Seemed like everyone there was a regular, greeted by co-host Janice DeHart with a big hug and a smile.

While I devoured a properly cooked – despite the PC – rules burger served with the absolutely best fries in Marion County, if not the entire state, Herself waded into an enormous Philly steak and cheese sub.

Yeah, it’s a mere 22 miles east of our State Road 200 base, but we’ll certainly be back again to sample their tempting plus equally reasonable breakfast and dinner menus.

Christmas Lights contest winners

Our S & R team came up with the idea of an outdoor Christmas lighting contest and Lorraine Rusch was lucky enough to chair the judging team. She was aided and abetted by hubby Dave, Jim and Ginny Dillon, Mike and Alice Gillo, plus Ken and Sharon Talbert.

Lorraine admits it was a difficult contest to judge due to many beautifully decorated homes. But each couple cruised our community several times and eventually they condensed four lists into finalists.

The judges finally decided that John Kiss and Brenda Brown’s home at 9703 S.W. 60th Ct. earned first place; Armand and Ellen Duquette at 61261 S.W. 85th St. took second, with Leo and Carol Leonard’s efforts at 6369 S.W. 84th Place Road deserved honorable mention.

V o M for January

Ken and Sharon Talbert have been active volunteers since moving to Marion Landing seven years ago. Both are members of our patrol and coordinate Lifestyle Center kitchen management responsibilities.

Sharon has sung with the Landing Lites, was this column’s writer, and Ken is presently a member of the sound system team and our S & R Committee. Volunteers like the Talberts continue make our community the great address it is.

You Probably Don’t Care …

But child star Shirley Temple always had 56 curls in her hair when she was making movies. Now you’ll be able to include this tidbit when younger Marion Landing neighbors ask you: “So who the heck is Shirley Temple?”

Rog Patterson is a Marion Landing resident and Friendship Kiwanis Club member. Contact him with news for the column, he’s in the Landing phone directory.