To Largo Once More

R. and I returned to Largo on Friday for the memorial mass and burial of her Uncle Ray, who died last Tuesday.  We joined R.'s Aunt Pat, in the company of her extended family, in honoring the passing of this kind and generous man.  He was remembered as a pillar of the Church and as a military veteran.

We stayed again at the Hampton Inn.  I brought my camera, but I didn't have the leisure to take pictures. I would have liked to get some shots of the quaint old cinder block and stucco houses in the neighborhoods of Largo, with their sandy yards and tropical plants.  These views from our fifth floor room at the back of the Hampton, looking out on Missouri Avenue, will have to do.  It is common in the St. Pete/Clearwater area to find northern place-names, such as Missouri.  Many retirees from the north and mid-west have settled there.  Mobile home and RV parks often fly Canadian flags.  We passed one place called the "Empty-Nester Diner".

After the mass on Saturday morning, we took part in our first ever funerary motorcade, processing from the church to the cemetery, which was a lovely park with old water oaks shading the burial site.

Afterward, everyone wanted to change clothes before gathering at Aunt Pat's, and we went back to the hotel.  The staff at the hotel recommended the Thirsty Marlin, nearby, for lunch.  I devoured a cheeseburger, fries, and a large slice of dill pickle.

We went over to Pat's house, and sat with her on the back porch, along with R.'s uncles Art and Ernie and their wives, drinking sweet iced tea.  After a couple of hours, everyone was clearly flagging, and we took our leave.  Back at the hotel, I had a nap.  R. went online in the hotel's computer room and found a local Italian restaurant, Alfano's .  We went there for supper, and it was excellent.

We wanted to get an early start Sunday morning, so we went to the eight o'clock mass at St. Cecilia's, checked out, had breakfast at the Largo Family Restaurant, and were on our way out of town by 10:30.  We took the causeway over Tampa Bay and got on the Veterans/SunCoast Parkway, a toll road that lets you avoid the sprawl of Highway 19 north of Clearwater.  Up to Homosassa Springs, through Crystal River, over the barge canal bridge and out of Central Florida altogether.  Through Chiefland, Old Town, Cross City, Perry, and into the hills, Lamont, Capps, and Waukeenah, where roadside stands sell fresh pecans.  And home to Tallahassee, our Shangri-La.

It wasn't long after that the rains of tropical storm Lee arrived.  R. baked a frozen lasagna and made a salad for supper.  We said the rosary, and settled in to watch an Inspector Lewis mystery on PBS, retiring to bed for a soothing rainy night, and looking forward to the Labor Day holiday on Monday.

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