Council Shares Summer Adventures


“What I Did for Summer Vacation”

When we were kids, it was a standard assignment each school year to write an essay on what you did for Summer Vacation. With Council returning from its almost two-month break on Monday, August 14, its five members alphabetically shared what they did for “Summer Vacation!”

While Mayor Dennis Boback spent most of it here, taking care of the Town and his own business, he took a long weekend to his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. “I went to see my son, and it was my first vacation in three years, as well as the first time seeing him in that time. I did nothing but spend family time, and we just sat and talked. I work so much that my wife encouraged me to take some time, as she said I needed it to recharge my batteries, and she was right. I did not even take my computer and only took a few calls. I enjoyed some good food you can only get up there, and it was a nice break from our hot weather.”

Dennis said his favorite time was “my son and I went and visited an old friend one day, who I have known since way-back-when, and we hung around for a few hours and talked back & forth. The time away made me realize I need to start taking a weekend for myself every so often.”

Fish Eggs

Council Member Bruce Butcher traveled to Scandinavia, “to see where my wife’s mother was born, back to the old homestead, just because we never did it before! The old house has gone through a lot of renovations but is still there.”

He calls the “breathtaking beauty of Scandinavia, Norway, and Sweden the best thing I saw – the natural beauty is gorgeous. And the cooler temperatures in the low 70s were fun.” Bruce found it interesting that in Scandinavia, “they put fish eggs on everything, so you have them for breakfast then lunch and dinner, and get a tablespoon of them on anything. I also ate whale, moose and reindeer meat, and the roads were in exceptional condition.”

While Bruce’s Nordic Adventure was a first, Council Member Anita Cereceda made her yearly pilgrimage to Spain! “I go every summer because my family is from there and really, other than my immediate family here, all but one of my relatives are in Spain. My father was from Santander, and when he was alive, my mother, who is still living, hated to fly so I travelled with him, and drew close with my cousins and aunt and uncles, so I go every year.”

She Inspires Me!

This trip, however, was different: “My sister came for 2-1/2 weeks, as did a second cousin, so I served as a bit of a ‘four-star tour guide!’ That was interesting, as you get used to seeing things only a certain way, then you rediscover them all over again when you show them to someone else, and you think, ‘I forgot about this!’”

Anita went to Barcelona “to celebrate my Aunt’s 90th birthday, and that was wonderful. We visited the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, one of my favorite places – it is so fabulous; like what it must be like to walk into Heaven! When you come in the doors, you literally hear people gasp; it is quite extraordinary. I went to the tiny town where I actually stayed for my Uncle’s 93rd birthday, where they still farm using burros and mules and just a few tractors, and there is a church and two bars and that is all there is in that town – I went to the bars! I also spent more ‘winter’ this summer than I did all Winter here last year, as it was often cold and rainy, in the 50s and 60s.”

Her best memory is “spending so much time with my sister Laida, as we have not been together that much since we were kids – she inspires me!”

Life Still Goes on

Not every vacation is fish eggs and cathedrals. “My Granddaddy died near the end of June at age 96,” says Vice Mayor Tracey Gore, “then my father-in-law, Tom, passed about a month later, at 90.”

Tracey, a lifelong islander, recalled spending her summers up north with her granddaddy: “He was like what you think of when you think of the All-American grandfather – he rnade us breakfast and taught us to swim and what it was like to be a good American because he was in the war.” As for her father-in-law, “he was an amazing physician in Lee County, and a sailboat racer here on Fort Myers Beach, and he LOVED Duke basketball! He and my husband would talk on the telephone before the game about what would happen, then talk all during the game, and then after the game, saying ‘Did you see what happened’ and how it happened! My father-in-law was absolutely my husband’s best friend, and I feel so bad for him.”

The twin tragedies forced the cancelation of a planned trip to New York City, Boston, and Cape Cod, but they got away for a few days to celebrate Tracey’s July birthday in Sarasota and Siesta Key. “We had a Fourth of July party and everyone in my family came over, as did friends from across the island, so that was basically my summer. Life still goes on, and it is never boring on Fort Myers Beach.”

No Place Like Home

shamp, town council, summer vacationCouncil Member Joanne Shamp combined the Great Outdoors with tiny space living, spread out over 12,000 miles. “I am the consummate planner,” she explained, “but for this trip I did not organize anything, from the driveway out of our house, for five weeks, except that we must be at the lodge in Zion National Park to meet our kids and grandkids from Northeast Ohio during the second week of July, then later had to be in Gettysburg in Pennsylvania for a big reunion with my siblings and family. Other than that, it was as much of Route 66 that is left, covering 24 states, with visits to 12 national parks before we were done.”

Joanne’s favorite part, of course, was “the eight days with the kids and grandkids in northern Arizona and southern Utah, sharing time and hiking through the narrows at Zion, nail-biting if you dare take your hand off the wall, or riding in a Bryce Canyon Jeep through the Navaho land on Monument Valley, or hiking along the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We explored the beautiful red rocks of Sedona and the natural water falls at Slide Rock State Park.”

An interesting element of their trip was that she and husband Dan spent most of the five weeks together in a small sleeper van “that is probably 160 square feet, but we came home still not only loving each other but actually liking each other just as much or more than when we left! While the trip was memorable, and America is still beautiful, it is great to be reminded that ‘there’s no place like home!’”


Gary Mooney