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SUMMERTIME FUN – AND YOU ARE INVITED! BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Head To Harbor Hills

Like the fireflies that fascinated us as children, summertime in Harbor Hills is buzzing with activity. “Head to the Hills” any Sunday to enjoy our always-popular Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dine on an array of brunch items while enjoying the spectacular view of our Signature 10th hole. The public is welcome. For reservations, call 352-753-7000.

Tomorrow is Martini Monday in the welcoming Griffinview lounge. It’s mix and mingle time. Meet friends old and new and enjoy $5 martinis any way you love them! Try a Cosmo, appletini or lemon drop, shaken, stirred, straight up or on the rocks. Reservations are required by 1 p.m. Monday.

No worries, Mate! Members, mark your calendars for Friday, June 18. From 5pm to 7pm., we are celebrating everything Aussie! Shrimp on the barbie and grilled veggie skewers are on the menu. Join us for a glass of Kangaroo punch. Vodka, lemon-lime juice and a splash of club soda are served in a salted rim glass.

Our championship golf course is picturesque and in great shape. The public is always welcome to enjoy a challenging round. Tom Leimberger, PGA Professional, offers clinics, video lessons and more. Racquet sports are in full swing on our soft Har-Tru courts. Enjoy easy and fun activities for beginners through advanced players. Call John Natolly, USPTA elite professional, at 352-753-9376 for more information.

Sundays in June are special for club members. It’s Family Funday with menu specials, games and summer fun. Low-impact and water aerobics, mah-jongg, Shanghai and many social group activities fill our summer days. Summer memberships are still available. For more information, contact Christy Rich, Membership Director, at 352-753-7000.

CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH VISITS TO HEATHER OAKS AND HARBOR HILLS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Heather Oaks Farm

It’s officially summer and breathing the fresh air never felt so good! The Year of the Coronavirus may well be in our rear window. Now let’s spend some time focusing on good health and fun. A visit to Heather Oaks Farm might be a great way to start.

In a short 10-minute drive from Harbor Hills, you will find Heather Oaks Farm. Located at 4240 Christmas Lane, this family farm harvests local produce just like the neighborhood farms we remember from childhood. Bob and Maria Tracy own and operate the farm which grows seasonal blueberries and grapes that you can pick yourself. Farm fresh eggs, both chicken and quail, are available daily at Heather Oaks. At this time, heirloom tomatoes and honey from local hives are in demand. Muscadine grapes will be ready in the July through August timeframe.

With a backdrop of sunflowers and sweet-smelling herbs, the pheasant leisurely meander around the farm. It’s a fun place to take the children or grandchildren to watch the grazing sheep up close and help pick the seasonal berries and grapes. Visit https://heatheroaksfarm.com for more information.

Ready for some fun in the sun? Harbor Hills Country Club is offering a special membership for the summer months. Through September 30, 2021, a family can enjoy our Junior Olympic size swimming pool, fitness center, tennis, indoor racquet ball court and special dining privileges. Have lunch on our outdoor patio overlooking scenic Lake Griffin. Sundays are fun days filled with special group activities. Ready for a round of golf on our championship course? Join in everything Harbor Hills membership has to offer. For more information, contact Christy Rich, Membership Director at 352-753-7000. See you poolside!

“IN FLANDERS FIELDS” BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields in Waregem, Belgium was a major battleground in the First World War. Millions of soldiers from more than 30 countries were wounded, missing or killed in action.

While serving as a brigade surgeon, Canadian Colonel John McCrae took note of a hardy little flower pushing through the war-torn battlefield. Clusters of these bright red poppies inspired McCrae to write a poem he entitled, “In Flanders Field.” It is told from the perspective of the fallen soldiers buried beneath the poppies. The first stanza of the poem is above.

That resilient flower became the national emblem of remembrance in 1920.  As Memorial Day approaches, red poppies begin to appear. Often made of fabric or crepe paper, you see them pinned on lapels on the left side over the heart. Volunteers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hand out red poppies in exchange for donations to support the country’s veterans and their families. This year, honor those we’ve lost in battle.  Help veterans’ families by adding a poppy pinned to your Memorial Day attire.

Harbor Hills will celebrate Memorial Day with a member golf tournament and cookout. Festivities include an early dedication, an 8 a.m. shotgun start and a 12:30 p.m. barbeque. Villagers receive a special Memorial Day price that includes golf and lunch for $56.00. Sign up at 352-753-7711.

THE PERFECT TIME TO SAY ‘I DO’ – AGAIN BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

An expression of love is special. These days, it is more precious than ever. As our country slowly reopens, now is the perfect time to strengthen our faith and reinforce bonds with those we love.

Christy Rich, Harbor Hills Banquet and Wedding coordinator, promotes early planning for weddings and vow renewal ceremonies. Even a small gathering provides the opportunity to celebrate connectedness and renew an appreciation for our lives. “A vow renewal ceremony at Harbor Hills is very special,” she said. It celebrates the value of an enduring relationship. Vow renewal says to the world, “I’d do it all over again.”

Whether it be a wedding to celebrate young love or a vow renewal for seniors, Christy organizes everything. The view from the Harbor Terrace overlooking Lake Griffin provides an extraordinary backdrop for the special day. For more information, contact Christy at 352-753-7000 or crich@harborhills.com.

Our youngest daughter can attest to that. She and her husband will celebrate their 13th anniversary this week. They were married at Harbor Hills in an international ceremony in 2008, attended by relatives from Ireland, Scotland and England.

I am also celebrating an anniversary. On May 25, 2015, my first article as Harbor Hills community columnist was published in The Villages Daily Sun. It has been a delight to bring you the news of this distinctive community for the last six years. Thanks to my kind readers, the Daily Sun editorial staff and the developer of Harbor Hills, Michael Rich. Apart from the Great American Novel I have yet to pen, this has been a dream come true.

HONOR YOUR VETERAN WITH A MEMORIAL BRICK BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Five flags wave proudly near the 16th green at Harbor Hills’ Military Memorial. Each flag represents a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. Surrounded by the serenity of the memorial, we are inspired to reflect on the achievements and sacrifices of our military the world over. Memorial Day, like everything else this year, is different in the Age of the Coronavirus. But with others or apart, we remain grateful for the sacrifices of our military and military families.

To honor our veterans, the Harbor Hills Garden & Women’s Club sells bricks engraved with your veteran’s name. The bricks surround our memorial forming a unique patchwork of veterans’ names and memories. Shirle Mabie, Garden & Women’s Club President, heads up the effort. She explains that funds from the brick sales help pay for the costs of maintenance and upgrades to Veteran’s Park. To purchase an engraved brick, email Shirle at shirlemabie@gmail.com.

Mark your calendar! It’s not too early for the Harbor Hills Garden and Women’s Club to plan for the next season. The pandemic caused the cancellation of the club’s events last year. If all is safe, the 2021-2022 season will start this October 2021 through May 2022. Fees that were paid for the 2020-2021 season will be honored for the upcoming 2021-2022 season. Shirle guarantees members will be delighted by the variety of entertaining programs presented each month. “We are looking forward to starting the luncheon and programs in October and seeing everyone’s smiling faces.”

Membership is open to all Harbor Hills Country Club members. Email Frankie Smith, Communications Director at frasmith1@gmail.com for more information.

CELEBRATE AN EXCEPTIONAL MOTHER’S DAY BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Bonne Fête des mères! Feliz Día de la madre! Giorno di madre felice! Happy Mother’s Day to moms of every heritage and tradition! Congrats to the moms, stepmoms, grandmas, foster moms and pet moms. Mothers have a lasting influence on our lives. As any mom will tell you, motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It compels us to find our inner strengths and resolve. As we reflect on our own childhood, we recall both joys and disappointments. We inevitably pledge to do better, providing comfort, courage and confidence to our own families.

As mothers, we are not new to managing heavy burdens and radical change. But this year presented us with unique challenges in terms of enormous loss and isolation. Although the experience tested us in an extreme way, we are now anxious for active living to begin again.

Staying connected to one another, especially as we age, has renewed importance. Friendships are treasured with revitalized appreciation.  Every smile, every expression of joy, holds profound significance. Even the smallest giggle from a delighted child creates a special memory to be cherished.

Let’s take this time to reflect on the many qualities of motherhood in all its many forms.  It’s about awareness, imparting life lessons and overcoming adversity to find something greater within ourselves. Kindness and compassion. Resilience and resolve. Trust and faith. Balance and grace. Tolerance and healing. There is no better time to savor Life in all its beauty.

Happy Mother’s Day, today and every day!

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