A group of Greek-Canadian seniors exemplify the many positive qualities of being Greek – joy, family, community, celebration and pride, among them. Jim and Christina Alexandris could not imagine 18 years ago the warmth they would have felt, beyond the beautify Floridian weather, when they selected the Heather Ridge Community on Doolittle Lane in Dunedin, Florida as their winter get-away from the cold weather of Toronto.
In this idyllic community of four low-rise condominiums and several homes in a quiet part of Dunedin, with beautiful palm trees and bright flowers, a short drive to Clearwater Beach or Tarpon Springs, they discovered other like-minded Greek-Canadians (most from Toronto), with whom they have since formed tremendous bonds.
These snowbirds have all become fast friends – spending afternoons by the community pool, or playing cards or bingo in one or another home, visiting nearby new friends, attending one of the many Greek Orthodox church services, enjoying themselves at the Laconico dances and parties, or other weekly events at one of the community group locations.
Some gather in the mornings at a nearby restaurant for coffee and in the evening at the food court of Countryside Mall…trying to solve the world’s problems…or at least have a good laugh with a friend. And needless to say, when children or grand-children (and even, now, great-grandchildren) come for a visit…the extended family ensures they are welcomed and taken care of by all as best as possible – it really does take a village, after all!
So after enjoying the beautiful and large Independence Day parade in Tarpon Springs, the Doolittle Lane Snowbirds prepare for their next event. For several years now, under the leadership coordination of Pantelis Skenderis, with 86 year old Jimmy as the “treasurer”, and the input of all…they have held an annual March 25th pool party at Heather Ridge.
And what a party it is! Food and drinks are bought (and of course, apart from the communal food…each person still brings “a little something extra” to be enjoyed!), dozens of flags of all 3 countries adorn the pool area, and the celebration begins around noon…lasting until at least 6pm and beyond.
Over 40 snowbirds, most from the Heather Ridge community, but others visiting to enjoy the celebrations, eat, drink, sing and dance, celebrating the dual holiday of March 25th, as well as thanking the 3 countries that have brought them together: their homeland, Greece; their adopted country of Canada; and their winter home of the USA. With their vibrancy, good health and good humor, let them be an example to us all. Zito!!
We thank our reader Gina Alexandris for sharing this wonderful story with us!