Every day’s a celebration in Celebration.

A Celebration sun sets behind the Palms. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.
A Celebration sun sets behind the Palms. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.

MY HUSBAND’S FAVORITE PLACE in Celebration, Florida (the town that Disney built) was situated along a wide promenade overlooking the downtown business district.

After daily three o’clock rain showers, his afternoons were spent sitting in a white rocking chair enjoying the scenic view, listening to simple piped melodies, sipping a cup of Starbucks, and seriously reliving his career with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.

A golf cap covered his bald head.

J Gerald Crawford
J Gerald Crawford

Sunglasses shaded the sun from his blue eyes.

The rail surrounding the lake supported his sandaled feet.

The setting sun turned the sky a brilliant orange.

A soft pink reflection in the water merged into pearl and silhouetted the two resident alligators.

Only months before, on April 9, 2005, Disney’s movers had loaded our belongings onto a large truck. Destination was Orlando, Florida. After our garden home was spotless, and doors locked, we looked through the windows and reminisced the past sixteen years.

While tears ran down our faces, we said good-bye to Sturbridge Plantation in Montgomery, Alabama.Trading the comfortable security of the known for an uncertain future was not easy. A new chapter of our lives began.

Living on the outer edge of South Village just across from one of the areas golf courses, our blue town home was located on Siena Palm Drive. This beautifully palm-lined street connected World Drive directly into Walt Disney World parks and resorts allowing us to drive to Disney property without using busy thoroughfares.

Our home was a mile from the Disney Building where all four Disney theme parks were visible from Gerald’s ninth floor office. Our six year old grandson said,” Oh look! I see Aftercot!” (Epcot). From our upstairs bedrooms, our grandchildren watched the nightly fireworks from all area parks.

I can still envision Gerald lying on the lounge chairs under the tall palms in the fresh summer air listening to the cheerful birds, and smelling the fragrance of the bright pink and watermelon red bougainvillea blossoms that cascaded over the gate, and watching the puffy white clouds travel across the blue sky.

Hidden behind this realm of color was an inviting pool. I watched my husband, with his melancholy spirit, his mouth above his gray beard turned ever so slightly toward a smile as he savored the leisure life in the safe protected world of Celebration.

Bougainvillea blossoms cascade over the gate. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
Bougainvillea blossoms cascade over the gate. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Faye, I know Celebration was a wonderful place to live, but I prefer that you and Gerald be about a thousand miles closer.

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