Arrival

Raymond Paltoo

The sky was an unbelievable blue with only a lonely, white, drifting cloud to disrupt its absolute rule in the heavens. The sea was a reflection of the blue sky, except near the shore, where the water became a translucent emerald-green.

From the rough planking of the dock Sham watched the ship, which had brought him and more than a few hundred others over the depths of the dark ocean, gently rocking as the small waves washed her hull on their way to the shore. His senses told him that he had never seen anything so lovely and yet so alien as the waters of the Caribbean. Simultaneously, he was conscious only of misery and loss.  (More…)

Therapy Dog

Penny Noriega

Have you ever felt better after petting a cat or a dog?  There is scientific evidence that petting a friendly animal can make you feel better.  Scientists believe that the major source of people’s positive reactions to pets comes from oxytocin, a hormone whose many functions include stimulating social bonding, relaxation, trust, and easing stress.  The conclusion is that pets, especially dogs, seem to be good for our health.

I know that after a long tiring day, there is nothing better than   (More…)

Yes, Diane! There is a Santa Claus!

Diane Russell

The happiest season of the year was Christmas for the Chicago-based Henrikson family.   I was the only kid among my friends who could say that I actually saw Santa Claus deliver presents.

Santa made regular appearances decades earlier to another generation of Henrikson and Dixon kids.  My dad, Art Henrikson, wrote about these Christmas Eve visits to his Scandinavian grandparents’ home in the 1920’s as follows:  “Each year someone would have to go to the store and leave through the front door…minutes later, conversation would lower.  I’d hear a tinkle of bells and then a knock on the back door…there was Santa!” In the 1930’s, his younger cousin, Vince Bates, saw Santa at Big Grandma and Big Grandpa’s house a couple of days after Christmas and was amazed: “Of course, he had gifts for all of us, and of course he knew all of us by name, including me!”   (More…)

Opa! Greek Festival

Shelly Belzer

When my wife, Jane, and I went on a cruise to the Greek Isles in 2016, a folkloric troupe from Crete came aboard ship and performed the elegant, vigorous dances of their island in traditional costume. We were right back there — similar dances, similar costumes — on Saturday night, November 10, when the OLLI Shutterbugs visited the Opa! Tampa Greek Festival at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Hyde Park Village. (More…)

Victorian Christmas Stroll

OLLI Connects is about OLLI members sharing their experiences.  But it’s hard to share an experience that hasn’t happened to you yet.  So, we’re inviting you to a Christmas adventure with a smidgen of time travel thrown in:  The Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum.

From now through December 23 you can, well, “stroll” through a Christmas world much like the one Cindy Knox depicted in our last blog post.  We can’t promise that you’ll run into the Ghost of Christmas Past, but you will see:  (More…)

Reading for Pleasure – The Pickwick Papers

Cindy Knox

Charles Dickens

I have read several sobering articles about the decline in reading for pleasure, not only in America, but also across the world. There are numerous reasons given for this decline, including the rise of electronics and more hours spent in front of the TV. However, I’m not an academic, a statistician or any type of reading specialist. I’m just a person who loves reading for pleasure – and for our purposes here, we will define pleasure as “enjoyment.” The choice of reading that gives you pleasure or enjoyment may be poetry or cookbooks or mysteries or romance novels, or even, as in the case of Mr. Pickwick’s fellow Pickwick Club members, the report titled “Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Ponds, with some Observations on the Theory of Tittlebats.”    (More…)

Calling All Board Gamers!

Ann Murphy

Games!  Glorious Games!  Is this the sentiment of an earnest nine-year-old or a precocious four-year-old?  Probably, but many adults also fondly recall those days gone by when the family eagerly gathered around the dining room table on a stormy summer night or a blustery winter one and enjoyed a riveting game of Monopoly, Parcheesi or, in a nod to the younger set, Chutes and Ladders or Candyland.  (More…)

New Orleans

Shirley Herring

New Orleans is a city dear to my heart, a party where everyone is invited. The people are warm, the food is world class, and the music will soothe your soul. I am privileged to visit regularly, because my husband’s family lives there. They live in the suburbs now, but it’s never hard to persuade them to go into the city.

Food is always a good place to start. Our favorite haunt is Mandina’s in an old pink house on Canal Street.  (More…)

The Computer Revolution and AI

Bruce Gobioff

The late Arthur C. Clarke, noted science fiction author, said: “We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 – and half the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20?”

The latter portion of this quote is very appropriate for the computer industry. For example, let’s look back just ten years. What can you do today with a computer that you couldn’t do ten years ago?  (More…)

Riverfront Park

(Regular readers of OLLI Connects will be familiar with our usual format.  Since we don’t want you to get bored, we’re bending our usual formatting rules for this article.  Read on. –Editor) 

Shelly Belzer

Inside Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s head is a master plan for renewing downtown Tampa from the Hillsborough River out. First came Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, then the Riverwalk.  The third jewel in this triple crown is the $35 million restoration of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 25 acres on the west bank of the river, with a boathouse, community center and green-monster sculpture.   (More…)