I was given the most thoughtful gift last week by my friend, known on my blog as The Country Mouse. Take a look at it:
It is part of Orlando's iconic original fountain that sits in the middle of our downtown Lake Eola. Country Mouse and I both raised our kids here in Orlando and between the two of us we have been to Lake Eola over the past 27 years or so, hundreds of times.
In particular I can remember taking The Writer and then The Maven to storytime at the downtown library where afterwards a trip to the Lake Eola playground was a must. Country Mouse and her sons joined us on many of those storytime trips and in later years, she and I have met at the outdoor cafe they have along the edge for lunch.
Before we lived in our current house, Mr. Tennis and I lived near downtown and Lake Eola was a favorite place to walk and take visitors to when they were in town. Ducks and swans wait to be fed and large grassy areas ask to be run across.
The park was a favorite of my parents. A visit with us was not complete without dinner out and a walk around the lake afterwards. Many picnic lunches were consumed under the massive oak trees, celebrating birthdays, Easter, Father and Mother's Day, or just "let's have a picnic"!
When my parents moved to Orlando to live in a nursing home they chose one downtown close to this lake and as they aged not many a Sunday went by that we didn't wheel them from the nursing home over to the lake for an outing. A lot of my last memories of my parents include this city park.
So, Country Mouse hit the nail on the head with this special gift. I take with me in my big move a small peice of Orlando history as the city cleverly carved peices of the old fountain acrylic into the lakes signature image, the swan, when it was replaced by a newer, yet looks-the-same fountain exterior. A clever fund raising trick, a re-purposing exercise and a way for many to remember the days they spent in the center of Orlando, The City Beautiful.
Thanks Country Mouse!