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Happy couples find time to play together
Shirley Says
Larry and Linda Barker smile for the camera in downtown Rome, Italy, near the Trevi Fountain. - photo by Photo provided.
 “The summer of love” was a social phenomenon during the summer of 1967. It opened with the release of The Beatles’ album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”and closed with Woodstock in the summer of 1969. The summer of love became a defining moment of the 1960s.
Though I embraced the movement of my generation, I have always been fascinated by pure love and its many faces. How children’s faces light up when holding a puppy, grandparents holding hands, starry-eyed teenagers and happy couples – playing. Not surprisingly, in the 21st century we still have summers of love.
For a moment, think about children at play. They lose themselves in the pleasure of the moment. Adults need the balance of having fun and coping with everyday responsibilities.
There are couples in Richmond Hill that still know how to play and have fun. They have one thing in common – all remember the ‘60s.
Larry and Linda Barker are two people that give love “a good name.” They recently celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary, and are as happy today as when they fell in love…back in high school in Pensacola, Fla.
Looking at Larry tenderly, Linda said, “I’ve been with the same guy for 37 years, and I still like him.” Without blinking, Larry softly responded, “…and I still like her.” Linda added, “We are doing a lot of celebrating this year.”
To honor Larry’s 60th birthday, they left last Sunday on a cruise to Jamaica, Haiti and the Grand Cayman islands. On their week-long vacation, they will do a lot of snorkeling, skin diving, bike riding and exploring. Every day they plan to do something different. In anticipation of the adventure, Linda said, “I’m really a fish!”
They have always traveled lightly, with one suitcase. They have visited many exotic places. Larry explained, “Linda and I are very adventurous. We like to look at things off the beaten path. We don’t do the tourist thing.”
Larry shared his thoughts about getting away: “I think it’s important to travel if you can while you are young. People talk about the golden years – the golden years are right now. Take advantage of them while you have your health. It doesn’t have to be a long time, it could be just three days.”
Linda summed it up beautifully, “We used to take the family and it was great, but we’re the ones playing now.”
Dr. Wallace Holland and his wife Julie just returned from a 19-day trip abroad. Normally, they take their family on summer vacations to the Florida Keys, but this time it was just the two of them. They were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.
The doctor and Julie are not big international travelers. Wally and their son Tyler go to Argentina to hunt as often as possible; however, this was Julie’s first trip out of the country other than to the Bahamas and Jamaica.
She explained, “Typically, we’re last-minute people. For our recent trip we had to get out of our comfort zone and planned a year in advance.”
Julie shared a few personal thoughts, “This trip was special – we were reconnecting. After 20 years, this is the most time we’ve had alone since the kids were born. We have a good support system – my mother Patty Gill Sumner and several close friends.”
While in Italy, the good doctor and Julie stayed in an eight-bedroom house on a 600-acre vineyard in San Casiano. The estate was the focal point for their many adventures, located in the Chianti region of Tuscany, about 25 miles outside of Florence.
They spent time in Rome, Pisa, Siena, Lucca and Florence. Julie especially enjoyed Cinque Terre. “It was postcard perfect everywhere you looked,” she said. “The refreshingly cool waters of the Mediterranean made this my favorite part of the trip.”
The Holland’s visited Vatican City, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Colosseum and many churches and museums in Siena and Florence, which are hundreds of years old. They said they found the Sistine Chapel breathtaking.
The food was magnificent in Florence, the weather hot and the wine out of this world, they said. Yet, Julie admitted she was ready for American food by the time they got home.
Julie recommended couples go somewhere alone and play – if only for a night. She went on to say, “I wouldn’t recommend waiting 20 years to do it.”
The “No No Bad Dog,” a 52-foot yacht, is Dickie and Angie Foss’s home away from home. They just returned from a one-month cruise to Abaco, Bahamas. Their yacht has all the comforts a five-star hotel offers and more. The two-storied yacht features full baths, dayrooms, color televisions, a washer and dryer, freezer, refrigerator and icemakers. When they board the vessel from their backyard dock, an awesome get-away unfolds.
Dickie and Angie are not strangers to the water. He has been boating all his life, buying his first yacht in 1997. As Dinky Miner’s daughter, Angie is a natural on the water. She often accompanied him on his shrimp boat. Nevertheless, her mother Betty Miner worries when Angie and Dickie are at sea.
They love the Abacos because of its natural beauty. Angie explained, “It’s small, not a tourist trap, and undeveloped. You have to get into the mode once you get there – it’s almost the equivalent of going to Ossabaw.”
It was an exciting vacation. During the day they enjoyed snorkeling, skin diving and exploring the reefs. Dickie added, “The reefs are beautiful, they haven’t been screwed up yet.” At night, they sat on the back deck, lit candles, sipped red wine and watched the sun sink into the Atlantic Ocean.
Perhaps Janis Joplin had it right after all: ”Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, nothing ain’t nothing honey if it ain’t free…feeling good was good enough for me…good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.”
Dickie and Angie have always had fun. They have been together 27 years and married for 21. Each of them is a licensed pilot and diver. They hang glide off mountains, jet ski and dive for lobsters. The flip side of the adrenalin coin is they love driving back roads, as when they went to the Kentucky Derby this year.
Angie shared their motto for happiness: “If you play together, you stay together.” Speaking emphatically she added, “We play – and we play hard.”
Dickie and Angie named this year’s vacation “Toes.” Dickie explained, “As soon as we got on the beach, we sat in the sand and had our picture taken. We had our toes in the water … and not a care in the world.”
As Dickie, Angie, Richard and I were leaving Sunshine Breakfast Restaurant, I yelled after them, “Where do you plan on vacationing next year?” With his typical wit, Dickie’s comeback was, “We haven’t finished this year yet.”
Tans will fade, but memories will last forever.

Hiers was born and raised in Richmond Hill. You can reach her at
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