Creativity Leads to a New Kind of Happy Hour
Around Vi at Bentley Village, friends and residents Carolyn Ellis, Rosemary “Rosie” Bell, Marlene Geier and Dorothy “Dottie” Bruggeman are a popular foursome. This tight-knit group of spirited ladies can often be spotted laughing over dinner and drinks, socializing around the card table, and even planning frequent trips together.
But, like so many around the world, the foursome had to put their day-to-day plans on hold because of the pandemic and spend more time at home apart from friends.
Thankfully, a little creativity and the ample outdoor space available at Bentley Village meant they didn’t have to stay apart for long.
Golf carts and conversation
“We were always doing something together,” said Marlene, “so we’re not used to spending the day alone in our apartments.”
Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and the group credits Carolyn with a brilliant solution to bring everyone together but also keep them safely apart: golf carts.
“We were all golfing because our golf course was open. And we thought, ‘Well, heavens, if we can play golf and be on our carts, we can sit somewhere, be on our carts and visit too,’” said Rosie. And it all developed from there.
The group started out by pulling their carts alongside each other on the side of the green. However, they soon started looking for a spot more conducive to conversation with shade and cool breezes.
“There are a lot of lovely places here at Vi at Bentley Village, but I went out looking for the perfect spot. We found one under a beautiful shade tree with all-day breezes and settled under there,” said Carolyn.
“And it is right near the driveway by our garage, so we can make a quick getaway when it rains,” Rosie added.
It wasn’t long before the group coined the term “cart-tails” to refer to their golf cart social outings, because they often bring along cool drinks to enjoy during warm Florida evenings.
Social calendars are full again
In addition to the activities the Lifestyle Department has made available to residents, the foursome typically meets three days a week for cart-tails and conversation.
“Good weather means it might be four nights! If it is a pretty evening, we won’t pass it up,” said Dottie.
All the ladies agree it’s been a game-changer for them during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has really changed our perspectives, and I just absolutely look forward to these little gatherings. I mean, it’s such a high point of the week,” said Rosie.
As to what they like to chat about, Rosie laughs, “We’re friends and ladies, so there’s always something to talk about!”
“Absolutely,” added Marlene. “We never get tired of talking to each other.”
The ladies hope they inspire others to find creative ways to stay social.
“This is still such a different time,” said Marlene, “but we found a way to make it work. For us to be out with the breeze blowing and have the opportunity to talk with one another, it’s been wonderful.”
And Dottie hopes they continue even after life begins to return to normal.
“The great thing is you don’t have to spiff up your house or worry about making hors d’oeuvres,” she said. “You just build a drink, jump on your golf cart and go! It’s easy, simple and satisfying.”
Learn more about our community and see what life is like at Vi at Bentley Village.
A community garden
The group agrees that what keeps them coming back to the garden, often daily, is not only the joy of gardening with each other but also the knowledge they are creating something for the entire community to enjoy.
“We have 10 people who want to show up and be responsible for making the garden look nice for our fellow residents,” Marlene said. “And we get positive comments from them, and that’s why we keep coming back, trying to do a better job each time.”
That shared purpose and the connections they’ve made have kept the garden group’s outlook positive.
“It’s just so rewarding to be able to build something with others that everyone enjoys so much,” Judy said. “All of that to me is very, very rewarding.”
Even as the pandemic continues, that positive outlook remains unchanged because the group has a space they change by working together.
“The Plant House has been a refuge,” Marlene said. “To have a place to go, to set goals and achieve them, to social distance but still be together. It is wonderful.”