CARL KOLOGIE: Easter in Florida
What a glorious Sunday morning.
I say that hopefully as, of course, the content of this space was put together Saturday.
But the forecast here in Lake Wales, Fla., calls for mostly sunny skies and a high near 80 degrees.
That would be great as we are planning an Easter doubleheader that includes Mass at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in downtown Lake Wales and Easter sunrise service at historic Bok Tower Gardens at 7 a.m.
Bok Tower is located on one of the highest points, if not the highest, in Florida.
The service includes a full choir, brass ensemble, live carillon music and the traditional Easter message.
I am really looking forward to hearing the world-famous 60-bell carillon located at the top of the 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco singing tower.
It is unique as visitors can view the artist playing the carillon from a TV screen located in a garden near a moat at the base of the tower.
Residents say the view of the sunrise from the tower is spectacular.
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There are still many Indiana County area residents spending the Easter holiday here at Tower Lakes.
Lake Wales has become a favorite spot for Indiana Countians, much like Melbourne on the Atlantic Coast.
It only seems like a few years ago that the late Dr. Bill Grau, Indiana optometrist, wintered in Melbourne and that started a trend for local residents heading south. At one point there were approximately 50 county residents there for the winter.
Now it appears that Central Florida is the hot spot for Indiana snowbirds. At last count there were 31 countians in residence at Tower Lakes in Lake Wales.
A retired Indiana post office employee and his wife, Al and Arlene Selsky, are residents here. He reminds us that his correct name is “New York Al.” You can tell from his accent that he is not an Indiana County native and was born and raised in New York City.
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It was one of those chance meetings that is almost hard to believe.
My friend Dennis Smith and I were at a Mexican restaurant in Winter Haven last week and since there was a waiting line, we opted to sit at the bar. Yeah, I know, that was a tough choice.
From this spot we got to meet a lot of the servers preparing drinks. One of the young ladies asked where we were from and of course, we said Indiana, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
She responded that her ex-boyfriend played for the Pirates.
Yes, you guessed it. She was from Ft. Meade and was Andrew McCutchen’s high school sweetheart.
She matter-of-factly said they went to the high school prom together and that he was a “really good guy.”
Cutch, if you read this, Melissa wishes you the best of luck.
Last year we met McCutchen’s head baseball coach at a sports bar in Winter Haven.
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On Thursday we spent the day in Cape Coral with Sam and Chris Bechtel.
Sam, a former executive editor at the Gazette, was also the very first director of the Indiana Tourist Bureau, a position that we read has just been filled by Denise Liggett.
The Bechtels lived in Beaver and are now permanent residents of Cape Coral.
Chris reminded us that she is the former Christine Freeman, of Sarver, and attended Franklin Regional School District, which recently made national news with the student stabbing incident.