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Jump on the 'big red bus' this week

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By Carol Ann Wheeler

Our next blood drive will be Wednesday, Jan. 7, from noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 8, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone who donated at Oak Run in November will be eligible on either date.

In total we collected only 76 pints of life-saving blood in November. That’s about half of what we collected just a couple of years ago. Surely more Oak Runners are eligible and could find the time to help save up to three lives with one donation.

Ambassadors’ Ball

The Ambassadors will have their annual Black and White Ball on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Palm Grove ballroom. Music will be by Jody and the Trouble Brothers.

Jody is lead vocalist and plays percussion and keys. Gary plays guitar, Gilly plays sax and keyboard, and both provide vocals.

There will be a crowning of the King and Queen, an 80/20 drawing, door prizes, BYOB and your own snacks.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 5, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the card room and Tuesday, Jan. 6 from 9 to 10 a.m. in the lobby. Cost is $5 per person.

Upper Midwest Club

Don’t miss the Upper Midwest Club meeting Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 6:15 p.m. in the Orchid Club. Ticket sales will be Monday, Jan. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Orchid Club.

Cost is $6 per person members and $8 guests. Hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, and coleslaw. Desserts will be provided by members with the last name starting with A to H. Bring a wrapped gift as there will be a Chinese auction.

Garden Club

In December, club members and friends enjoyed a buffet luncheon to celebrate the holidays and meet the new officers for 2009: President Carol Cunningham, Vice President Gerry Deane, Secretary Carolyn Sokolik, Treasurer Nancy Frost.

The next Garden Club meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Orchid Club. Social time 9 and business meeting at 9:30 a.m.

A program on Florida landscaping has been prepared by the program chair, Gerry Deane. The speaker will be Rivard Reding, a conservationist. All residents are invited to club meetings.

We have refreshments, good fellowship, plant raffles and 50/50 drawings. For more information, call Carol Cunningham at 861-2790.

Art Club

Preparations are under way for our annual Fine Arts Show on March 7. The first step is to line up all the wonderful Oak Run artists.

On Jan. 7, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., we will draw numbers at the Island Club for tables. Any Oak Run resident may participate.

Club members are entitled to one free display table. The cost for non-members is $8 per table. The show will be fine arts and photography only.

A drawing will be held for the "Poppy" watercolor, which was painted at the October demonstration by noted Ocala artist Mary Trowbridge. Tickets will be sold in the Orchid Club lobby on the mornings of Jan. 10 and 24, Feb. 7, 11, 14 and 28.

New classes start this month. Beginners are always welcome. Six-week sessions start: Jan. 21, Watercolor; Jan. 28, Drawing; Feb. 3, Pastels; Feb. 10, Oil and Acrylic. Classes will be at the Island Club from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Come at 9 a.m. to the first session to sign up. Cost is $55 per class and membership is $6. For questions, call Helen Harrell.

Do You Remember?

Did you miss the Christmas Golf Cart Parade? Tune into Len Teitler’s "Do You Remember?" show on Channel 12 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and enjoy Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, the lights, sounds, and fellowship of this special event. The program airs from Jan. 2 to 9.

Passport Stage Show

Kaye, Peggy, Cheryl and Donna are The Taffetas, four sisters growing up in the 1950s, when gas was 23 cents a gallon, friends went to drive-in movies, and girls in saddle shoes and poodle skirts dreamed of recording the next big hit.

This musical comedy revisits artists and songs of the times; Volare, Tennessee Waltz, Mr. Sandman, Where the Boys Are, Love Letters in the Sand, Johnny Angel, and more.

Tickets on sale Monday, Jan. 12, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the card room and Tuesday, Jan. 13, from 9 to 10 a.m. in the lobby. Cost is $11 per person.

German-American Social Club

The fourth annual Weinhnachsfest (Christmas party) was celebrated by 149 members and guests at Palm Grove on Dec. 17. President Irene Fortuna, vice president Lori Benz, treasurer Ken Domingue, and secretary Sara Schmitt opened the festivities.

Officers and chairpersons were acknowledged for their efforts throughout the year, including a special floral tribute to outgoing table decorations chairperson Trudy Kleitsch. An evening of delightful music was provided by Alpen Diamanten.

Lori Benz and her jingle bells, along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Damian and Audrey Romano) presented door prizes to the lucky ticket holders. Rosemarie and Ralph Imbriale manned the 50/50 table. The sense of "gemutlichkeit" continued as the evening came to a close with the singing of Silent Night, in English and German.

The GASC was responsible for decorating the Orchid Club on Dec. 3. Many thanks to all those who made this responsibility so enjoyable.

The next GASC event is Faschingfest on Feb. 18 at Palm Grove. For membership information, call Gus Orrego.

Oak Run Tennis

Warren Coleman is the unsung hero of Oak Run tennis players, the person who has increased the quality of our program. He converted the ball machine from battery to electric. Recently, to keep our courts clean, Warren fixed our gasoline blower which is now a backup for the electric blower. Thank you so much, Warren.

Our senior tennis player extraordinaire, Jerry Pizzolorusso, may not be gracing our courts because of illness. We wish him a speedy recovery.

The Oak Run Tennis Club has some new VIPs: facilitator Joe Huszar, tennis mixer and ball machine advisor John Leavitt, scheduler Jimmy Newsheller, and social chairpersons Marge and Jerry Hollnagel.

Carol Ann’s Corner

Dominick Viscardi, head of the medical equipment loan program, pointed out to me that a recent item in this column omitted an important part of the article he wrote. To show the extent of the program, here is a list of the equipment on loan and in use by Oak Run residents as of Nov. 20, 2008: 29 wheelchairs, 3 transport-type wheelchairs, 10 walkers without wheels, 24 walkers with wheels, 5 four-wheel walkers, 1 three-wheel walker, 13 walking canes, 3 walking canes with four feet, 10 toilet seat risers, 13 shower chairs, 1 shower stool, 6 pair aluminum crutches, and 9 bedside commodes.

Clearly this is a very active program that brings great benefits to Oak Runners. For more information, call Dominick at 861-4420.

As we begin a new year wouldn’t it be nice if we could all give some thought to what we could do to help others? There are opportunities here in Oak Run and in the wider community.

All we have to do is look. Even if we are not in a position to donate money, aren’t there ways we could give our time to worthwhile causes?

There was a great deal of need before the economy so suddenly went bad. This coming year is going to be a very tough one for many people. Let’s all resolve to do something for our fellow man (and woman) in 2009.

Send all items for this column to Carol Ann Wheeler at democratcarol@deccacable.com. (Note: There are no hyphens in the e-mail address.) If you do not receive my reply within a day, call me. My number is in the Oak Run directory.

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