Leaving on a jet plane…


So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane…

Well, you spend weeks and weeks planning a trip…eagerly anticipating being away, experiencing NEW things, making friends, stepping out of your normal…and then what happens?  You couldn’t have predicted what happened around here during the past few days…


When I’m not in town and people ask me where I’m from I say “north of Sarasota, or south of Tampa.”  They nod.  I nod.  We all get it.  Sure, I say Bradenton, but honestly, not always…had YOU heard of it?  Almost everyone in the country has an aunt and uncle there, right?  Well there is HERE.  And Bradenton is our hometown.

Suddenly the six of us are filled up to our hearts with hometown deliciousness.  Our town’s yummy soft-serve beat-the-heat location, The Shake Pit, embraced us by offering up a destination for our SEND OFF party.  IMG_3892Our local newspaper hugged us with a front page above-the-fold outpouring of attention.   And the people….the people…

Well, the people are just the best.  We’ve had friends and strangers sending love by text and phone and email.  We’ve had all sorts of hugs.

I started the week on Tuesday with Patty and Momma Betty at Moffitt Cancer Center for Patty’s last chemo dose before the trip.  The day started at 6:45am in Patty’s driveway and ended almost eleven hours later in the same spot.  Patty had a five hour drip and left with more in a pouch that would keep dripping for two days…

The loveliest nurses encourage and pay attention to every request at the infusion center.  The attention to detail and the genuine concern illuminate what could be a dark time.  I rubbed Patty’s head and shoulders, but I certainly didn’t step into her shoes.  Patty will begin to feel better each day of the trip.  We leave today. Friday.

The five of us then looked toward our Send Off which was scheduled for Thursday.  We’d planned a meet and greet for friends to come see us before our departure.  Meet at the Shake Pit, grab dinner and a milkshake!  It had seemed like the perfect plan…but then Patty’s chemo moved back a day, from Monday to Tuesday…and now we were concerned…should we do the Send Off?

We’re talking about Patty here…

And we’re talking about Bradenton here…so we marched forward.  What a surprise when the Mayor of our town, Wayne Poston, came to deliver a proclamation naming THIS WEEK “Sixty Sixtahs Week” in all the land!  And we all now have keys to the city!  And, of course, Patty V was as perky as anyone could ever be!

Speaking of Patty V, we now have road names:

Patty’s chemo hair has a mind of it’s own.  She’s been dubbed “Uncle Patty”

As mentioned, Julie is Blog Master.  Obviously that’s “BM” for short!

Not to be outdone (and let’s face it, probably a bit jealous of my moniker) Jane named herself “Ugly Jane”  and Trudi named herself “Slim”.  Jean was unanimously labelled “Fat Jean” by all of us (she’s our kale girl and typically bikes like forty miles a day or sixty or eighty, I forget how many actually because usually I start thinking about cupcakes when I start thinking about biking…)  Oh look, there’s a squirrel…

Patti T is “mom”;  If you were getting texts letting you know that she’s got detergent for our laundry all covered and packed then you’d understand why.  When she texted to ask if we were okay with the type of detergent she’d packed I began thinking about cupcakes again…

The party was more than the sum of its parts.  We’d envisioned placing Uncle Patty in a chair and surprising her with some performances…

Patty and Janey and Jean are all members of the Saints Peter and Paul Bell Choir.  The Bell Choir came to perform!  Sal Santoro came with a book he’d written about his trip on Route 66 years ago!  The Manatee High School Sugar ‘Cane Dance Team came with an original dance performance set to “Get your Kicks on Route 66” that had been choreographed just for Patty!  (Patty, Trudi, Jane and Jean have all had daughters on this dance team)  Anna, Jane’s daughter , performed “King of the Road” and the sixtahs were blessed  with holy water by Father Lawton Lang.    We were also presented with blessed St. Christopher coins and a “safe car” medallion by Jamie Thomas. Patti T created a gorgeous 7′ x 4’ banner that people signed…epic!

A lovely lady approached quietly and shook hands with us.  Colleen McDowell has just had her first treatments for ovarian cancer and wanted to be with us.  So lovely.  Every bit of being with her was lovely.  A gorgeous lady whose strength shines through.  She plans to do just as Patty does…we’re glad to have you along in the Suburban with us Colleen…

We are spending our last few hours in Bradenton packing up our things.  I’m almost ready…hope the TSA agent is kinda lenient…oops…

IMG_3918 2

We hug sweet Bradenton goodbye and our loved ones too, knowing that they remain as they ever were.

Every place I go, I think of you
Every song I sing, I sing for you
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go



**Ellen and Melissa w/ Patty, her hubby Guy, Janey, Papa Dan and Momma Betty.  These are amongst the fine folks at Callaghan Tire that serve up the annual Callaghan Tire Golf Pro Am Tournament each year that has raised over $700,000 thus far for cancer research.

If you would like to get more info:  www.callaghantirecharityproam.com

Checks may be sent payable to “Callaghan Tire Charity Pro-Am” with “Sixty Sixtahs” on the memo line and mailed to 5066 18th Ave W., Bradenton, Florida 34209

http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article87972167.htm  Richard Dymond’s article that graced the front page and almost entire second page of the Bradenton Herald on thursday.

http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article88329582.html also written by Richard Dymond and featured in today’s paper.





9 Comments Add yours

  1. Betty Callaghan says:

    BM that’s the sweetest blog ever, I’m sure every reader wants to hop into “Sparky” with you, we really should have thought about a Route 66 convoy, CB’s and all. I see that in our future, We love you all!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can be on the planning committee for the next trip Momma B, because we’re already thinking about where we’ll go….and it’ll be a convoy for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth Conrad says:

    I am so excited to hear and see all the things you ladies will do. I am traveling with you. Hope you get time see Ellen!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathi Flath-goodwin says:

    I am so proud of you gals. The bond that women share is one of the strongest bonds and hard to out into words. LIVE BIG, BE EPIC this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kathi!


  4. Phyllis Gross says:

    Traveling Mercies to you all! Memories to cherish, especially of the “Queen”. There’s no one like her!

    Phyllis in Texas


  5. This is just so super. I’m a Bradenton native, recently moved to Virginia to be close to my children. It is just so neat to read about this adventure. Have a wonderful time!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s