Venice Saga By Linda Ball Reeves
The first sign of trouble greeted us as we disembarked at the Venice train station. We had been told to purchase a water bus pass which would allow us to travel on the Grand Canal (the only way to travel anywhere in Venice) as soon as we arrived.
After waiting in two lines to purchase tickets we finally learned that the Grand Canal was closed for the rest of the day. There was a Regatta in progress.
We had left our house in Gulfport at 9:00 AM the previous day and had flown all night, arriving at the Malpensa Airport in Milan around 10:00 that morning. We had to take a bus to the train station in Milan, which took approximately one hour and then had ridden the train from Milan to Venice. By this time it was mid afternoon, and we were tired! However, we had no choice but to walk to our hotel.
We started out (dragging our luggage behind us) with another couple who had a map and whose hotel appeared to be in the general vicinity of ours. It was very warm and the streets were packed with tourists and Regatta spectators. We later learned that throughout the year Venice celebrates many festivals and feasts unique only to Venice. This famous Regatta, called the "Historic Regatta" is held on the first Sunday in September and is the most spectacular festival of the summer. I don't know how we managed to arrive on that particular day!
Now, back to our walk to the hotel. Since Venice is built on a lagoon with
118 islands and four hundred bridges we were walking up steps, across a bridge,
and down steps, so we had to stop frequently to rest. We tried to make the
best of a bad situation by taking snapshots every time we stopped and tried
to think about how lucky we were to be getting such great shots. The other
couple found their hotel and we kept walking. Miraculously, we turned a corner
and there was our hotel in front of us. Martin thinks it took us about two
and one-half hours to get there.
I'm not sure why I went to breakfast alone that morning, but I remember sitting
alone waiting for my order. I was so hungry, suffering from jet lag and just
plain discouraged when suddenly I heard "Celebrate Good Times, Come and celebrate
and have a good time, Come on, wah-ho, Celebrate good times, come on." (My
daughter tells me that song is by Kool & the Gang?) About this time my
breakfast arrived and my weariness quickly lifted. Little did I know what
It is believed that Saint Mark the evangelist, a follower and companion of
Peter, helped to evangelize the Veneto lagoon and the newly-emerging city
of Venice. Fundamental facts of Mark's life indicate that he evangelized
not only in this area but also in Africa and Alexandria, Egypt where he was
martyred on 25 April in 68. In 828 two Venetian merchants went to Alexandria
and moved the remains of St. Mark from the Christian church where they were
being preserved to Venice. The present Saint Mark's Basilica is the third
one to have been built, the first two having been destroyed.
He was extremely ill all night and the next day but it did not occur to me
to ask for a doctor. I thought he had a virus and would be getting better
by the next day. This was Wednesday, and on Thursday we were scheduled to
leave Venice and ride the train to Lake Como. From there we were going to
Switzerland. Martin said he thought he could make the train ride to Lake
Como (about three hours) so
When we arrived at our hotel in the little town of Como I realized it was
time to call a doctor! The people at the hotel were extremely nice and said
that one would be arriving within minutes. I sat in the lobby to wait and
suddenly an ambulance drove up and three medics with all kinds of emergency
equipment came walking in. They felt that he needed to be taken to the hospital
so they put the two of us in the ambulance and drove us to the emergency
When all of the tests and X-rays were finished I was called in with Martin
to see the doctor. Fortunately, he could speak a little English and explained
that Martin was suffering from food poisoning. He gave him three prescriptions
and the ambulance took us to the pharmacy, where we woke up the owner, who
filled the prescriptions and sent us on our way, back to the hotel in the
ambulance. That was Thursday. This story could go on and on but I'll just
close by saying that by 9:00 the next night (Friday) we were back in Mobile
where we had departed the previous Saturday.
I took a copy of RRN but for obvious reasons it was never taken out of my suitcase. One of these days we're going to get a picture of an issue when we're on a trip. Martin says he will NEVER go back to Europe! We'll see.
Note: Linda B. Reeves and this writer were classmates in high school. She and her husband, Martin, make their home in Gulfport, MS. Since our class reunion in 2000, Linda has become a faithful reader and supporter of this newsletter and is appreciated for her written contributions as well.
Surprise Visits Face To Face & By Phone
There I was in my computer room, the tiny room inside our garage adjacent to our kitchen, typing away on an article for a future issue of RRN, when I heard a vehicle pull up in front of the opened garage door. At first I thought it might be Sarah, but the sound of the engine was different from that of Barbara's old Buick that Sarah is still driving. Then, as I heard a door sliding along it's track, I thought possibly it was a van, and more so when I heard a female's voice ordering children to roll out.
"Barbara didn't tell me Rayanne was coming over this afternoon," I wondered silently. "I thought Rayanne had to work tonight."
The shuffling of several feet, the sounds of several people talking, and the voices of children had me wondering whom I would greet as I stepped outside the computer room. I had no trouble recognizing the familiar faces, but it took a brief moment to take in the sight of all of them. It appeared that all but one were from Hooterville. I was instantly bathed in a sea of smiling faces belonging to "Miss Jo" Bennett, Dena Kimbrell and her three children, Caitlyn, Hayden, and Gracie, and Dena's sister, Kim Goslin of Carrollton.
Hooterville is approximately ten acres of pristine wilderness (not really) located on Wells Road, between Thaxton, MS, and Hurricane, MS. Hooterville is home for Miss Jo and the Kimbrells and is so named because Lisa Rolik, sister of Kim and Dena, thought the place needed a nickname. I don't know if one would describe it as remote, but Dena says if Bob wants to hunt he has to walk toward town.
Kim Goslin, as long-time readers of this newsletter will recall, was one of the encouraging voices that helped launch this writer's "career," which resulted in the creation of this newsletter. Kim and I worked together for several years in Indianola. It was only after our work relationship ended that I met Kim's mother and two sisters and finally had faces to link with names so familiar as to seem like family. In order of birth, Miss Jo's daughters are Kim, Lisa, and Dena.
Where once I managed to keep up with the Bennett Family through weekly contact with Kim, I now depend upon Dena to inform me of family happenings. Dena's mother and family are active members of First Baptist Church, so it's rare for me not to see them every Sunday. Kim's as close as the phone, but we seldom see each other.
Lisa and I have corresponded via email since the early nineties, but it was only last Christmas that we finally met. Lisa was in Hooterville visiting her mother and sister for the Holiday. Barbara and I drove out to see Dena to drop off a Christmas Gift, and it so happened Lisa and her husband, Scott, were also there. We had a good, though brief, visit and also got to meet Billy, Scott and Lisa's basset hound.
Back in my garage, again, I was both surprised and elated to see so many friends converging upon me at once. After a round of hugs, everyone piled into our living room where we spent the better part of an hour conversing on a variety of subjects that included my scheduled surgery, the surgeon, and the anesthetist I had chosen.
Kim explained she had driven up by herself, knowing she'd have the freedom to go whenever and wherever she pleased without whatever impediments other family members might render. Actually, I think Kim's daughter, Lindsey, is at the age where "hanging out" with peers takes precedent over visiting friends of her parents, and Kim's husband, Mark, was recuperating from a recent and nasty fall down the front steps. Kim also commented that, while visiting at Dena's, she was about to recommend that everyone pile into one vehicle and drive into Pontotoc to visit me, but Dena beat her to the suggestion.
Barbara found time to bake a quick batch of cookies and fix a pot of coffee as I reveled in the affection of good friends. We even made a couple of pictures to document the visit for posterity. The hour passed all too quickly, but it was one I won't soon forget and am grateful for the promised prayer support.
Barbara and I had hardly finished saying goodbye and waving to Dena's entourage, as they backed out of the driveway, when our home phone rang. As I reached to pick it up, the caller ID displayed, "Vera Marshall."
"Hello," I greeted in my best and cheeriest voice.
"Hello, Wayne," I heard the caller say.
"Hello, Richard, how are you?"
"How'd you know it was me? Did you recognize my voice?" Richard Pennington asked.
"Yes I did, but then you're the only Vera Marshall, I know," I commented, testing my ability to be humorous, because I knew Richard and Jane Pennington had moved into the home of Vera Marshall, Jane's mother, to help care for her.
Like several others who have responded to last week's newsletter in which I posted the date of my surgery, Richard was calling to offer me Jane's and his best wishes for speedy recovery following surgery and his family's prayer support.
Earlier, Brenda Young, wife of Durwood Young had phoned and expressed similar concerns, best wishes, and promised prayer support as well. Both Brenda and Richard had just opened and read RRN volume 400 before phoning.
Brenda elaborated, "Joe Wells (her son-in-law) just came back from the mailbox and handed me the Ridge Rider. As soon as I get it, I sit down and read it. I read it cover to cover, just like the Bible."
I hope readers understand that Brenda was in no way comparing this newsletter to the Bible, other than to say no parts were unimportant to her.
All of the above happened on Valentine's Day, which after all is the perfect day for persons to express love to one another. I am grateful for the friendships mentioned in this article, and there were others throughout the day who expressed their concerns either in person or by phone.
Re: RRN's 400th By Kevin Koehler M.D.
I really enjoy reading the articles! Thanks for sending them to me. I was
touched by the article on the ribbons in the neighborhood. It felt great
when I drove out of the neighborhood on my way out of town and saw those
yellow ribbons! I think it is very important for everyone to remember ALL
of the soldiers who volunteer to fight for the interests of the United States
all over the world. We would not continue if we did not have the support
of our families and friends back home. Keep up the spirit!
Bodock Beau North Vs. South
Yes we are one nation, but regional differences are evident. Judy Rutledge shares the following:
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