Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 7: First Night. First Friend.

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2014.

We arrived in Lacey after a three-day trip, leaving 118-degree normal, summer scorcher in Las Vegas.  John, our son-in-law, unlocked the front door of our little Woodland Court garden home at Panorama.  With anticipation, I peered over John’s shoulder with hubby Chris behind me.  We stood a few feet into the family room. I surprisingly burst into incontrollable tears.

“What’s wrong, Mary Jo?” John asked.


“This place is just so much more beautiful than I expected. They did such a good job.  I had no idea.”


Chris, who had been a little apprehensive about moving anywhere to retire, was impressed.   “Yeah, it is nice…wow!


DSCN7181The transformation of the home and the view from the glass door with the lovely garden around our patio overwhelmed us.  I didn’t know the names of the little bushes, but there was a variety of shades of green and deep purple, large pointy ferns, rhododendrons whose blossoms were gone, but whose leaves impressed me, a four-foot holly three-pompom tree, and a large azalea tree shading our patio.  Fuchsia was in full bloom.  A large, umbrella-shaped magnolia tree greeted me just yards from my kitchen window…it was a stark contrast to the desert of Las Vegas where anything growing was watered three times a day or probably zapped like a microwave from the blazing heat.  Lawns here looked like they were cut and trimmed with scissors.


John called Melody, “We just entered their home.  They’re so happy and haven’t seen the rest of the house yet.  We don’t need all that stuff we have.  I’m gonna get rid of a lot before we move up here.”

After unloading our SUV, John took us to purchase a flat-screen TV, mounted it on the wall in the family room just above where my electronic piano would be set up by movers, and put up our blinds.  He left to stay with his aunt Terri.

DSCN7121That evening, the shiny black, wrought-iron bench close to the magnolia tree just yards from our kitchen window beckoned us to sit and talk of our lovely new home.

A lady with her dog walked around our garden home which is at the end of a multiplex…we met Helen and Wags.  (She’d become my duet-playing partner on her grand piano, just four doors down from us.)

The next morning, Helen (with Wags dancing around her legs) delivered large, warm, homemade-dripping-with-caramel-sauce-and-pecans cinnamon rolls.  They were carefully snuggled in aluminum foil with tent-like, folded-over top.  My mouth drooled with the aroma.  She wore the sweetest smile.  Her head was slightly bowed.  With both hands, she proudly presented them to me.   “I know you don’t have anything for breakfast, and I hope you enjoy these.”  I knew Helen would be my first forever-friend at Panorama.

Since we had no groceries, pots and pans, we were excited to try out the fourth-of-July picnic in Panorama’s McGandy Park.  What an experience!

Check back next month to hear all about it!

Mary Jo Bio

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