01-24-19 Tri-City Area History Page

Fabulous Florida food …And the places where we ate it. There are so many to choose from. You could pick a different restaurant every day in the Bikini State and never repeat yourself in a year! We never had that much time, but we tried. In fact, a friend once said, “With all the eateries you talk about, it’s a wonder you don’t bust your britches!” Well we have come close. I don’t claim to be a gourmet (a friend said a gourmet is a glutton in a tuxedo), but when we get to Florida one of my first very favorite meals is crispy fried grouper sandwich, fries and coleslaw. And that is only the beginning! We found a nice eatery on the south side of Fort Myers called Sweet Tomatoes. Enter the place and there are two long lines of salad bars. Nothing wrong with pushing two trays along as you go down either one. It ends at cash registers where you pay for your meal, everybody one price. After that find a table and stake out your claim. Now you go for the rest of your food… homemade chicken soup, chili, pizza, rolls, pasta salad, to take back. Notice also for future reference there is an ice cream bar, soft serve, and all the toppings. At this point you probably will be loaded with all you can eat and maybe more! Our Aunt Hope wintered in Florida, and we always made it a point to visit her. She showed us more eating places. She was particularly anxious for us to try a certain one. I knew there must be something unusual about it. The place was huge, circular, with a large salad bar in the center, and was called “Pete Reynard’s”. It was located in the St. Pete area but is probably not there anymore. We picked out a table and off to the salad bar. Lots to sample, then the kids, Aunt Hope, Marion and I, all with full plates, turned to go to our table… it was gone!!! The whole thing was on a turn table, and our spot had slid around so it was off to the right. Of course Aunt Hope got a big kick out of it. And the food was very good. Another restaurant we tried with her was Guy Lombardo’s Port o’ Call. This was a really tony place. It was owned by Guy Lombardo & his royal Canadians… a big band for special occasions. He came to Crystal Palace for New Year’s Eve in the past. The food, of course, was excellent, but unfortunately Guy was not in residence at the time. But the coute le vec of eateries in that area was a place called The Kapok Tree Inn. Now closed, it was magnificent. We had to have a reservation, and when we arrived I could see it was going to be something special. The grounds were landscaped with marble statues, and a formal dressed maître d’ led us to our table. White linen, glistening silverware, crystal chandeliers; and the diners were all well-dressed. I was glad we knew ahead of time, so we looked presentable. Our youngest, Laurie, was a teenager and had gotten a bee sting at the campground. She leaned over to me and said, “Dad, I just don’t feel the best.” Our server was taking drink orders, so I ordered one of those tall fruity mixed drinks. It came with a little parasol stuck in the top. Now I hope the statute of limitations has kicked in, because Laurie had not reached legal age. I slid the magnificent looking drink over in front of her and said, “Here, try this and see if it helps.” After a few minutes she whispered to me again that she was feeling better! That was a magnificent place. In the men’s and ladies, the sinks were huge sea shells. After dinner we toured the grounds. Admittedly I have never seen any restaurant quite like it. And the food was marvelous too. Too bad it is no longer there, because it would be a must-see place! Over the years good restaurants come and go. Many of our favorites have been in the St. Petersburg area. That city is also known for its green benches. Green benches? You would find them at any bus stop. It was supposed to be a place where retired gentlemen could rest and find single retired ladies of a like mind. Often friendships would thus flourish! There was a story of one such encounter… he was wealthy and widowed. She was attractive and single. And they hit it off famously. Romance flourished to the point of discussion of marriage. She said she had enough of living from hand to mouth and wanted a real home. He offered to buy her one if she would marry him. She said home first, then the wedding. They found a beautiful château. She loved it, so he bought it and paid cash. Next day he came to collect her and go to City Hall. She didn’t answer the doorbell, and the manager of the condo said, “Oh, you mean the real estate lady who lived here? She moved out last night and left no forwarding address!!!!!” True story? I have no idea… but it does illustrate a point. P.T. Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute, I say it just shows surprising things come in attractive packages. Even sometimes as we are weaving golden threads into the great tapestry of life in the storybook towns wherever we vacation!

Byers School 1909North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Coloma Library News Pajama Storytime On Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. the Coloma Public Library will host a pajama time story hour for families. Join Miss Ellen for a craft, story and activities. Kids (and their caregivers!) are encouraged to come dressed in pajamas and to bring their favorite stuffed friend. Registration is requested for this event. Call 468-3431 to register or if you have any questions. Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Everything Here is Beautiful” by Mira T. Lee. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club is always looking for new members. Stop into the library or call 468-3431 for more information.

Watervliet District Library News Adult Reading Program Three prize levels; 5 books per level. First place: Fuzzy Socks; 2nd: Mug & Cocoa; 3rd: Eye Mask; Grand Prize: $50 Gift Card to Oasis Hot Tubs. Program ends Feb. 23. Beginning Genealogy Jan. 24, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Ever wonder about ancestors’ lives or if family lore about Great Uncle George is really true? Here’s the place to get started! Join long-time genealogy & local history enthusiast Carole Kiernan, as she guides participants through the basics of family research. Refreshments will be served. Pinteresting Jan. 28, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Arts & crafts for grown-ups held the last Monday of the month. This month: Arm-knit scarf. Story Hours Wed. 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. & Thurs. 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading for ages 3 – 5. Book a Social Work Intern Thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, Watervliet Library will have a shared intern on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? She can help with questions or problems. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.

NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER

100 years ago – 1919 The Courier proposes erecting a suitable memorial for the hundred or more boys that took an active part in the great war. This publisher thinks a “Community Memorial Building” is a fitting tribute to our boys. Henry Mast has decided to quit farming. A public auction sale at the Christian B