Coming together in new ways during this time of uncertainty

Susana Canon, left, of the Village of Silver Lake, plays a cigar-box ukulele while Steve McKinney, of Summerfield, plays a guitar in the breezeway outside of Kilwins in Spanish Springs.

Susana Canon plays multiple instruments, but on Thursday she chose a guitar and a cigar-box ukulele. Canon, of the Village of Silver Lake, and Steve McKinney, of Summerfield, plopped down at one of the tables in the breezeway by Kilwins in Spanish Springs on Thursday evening to entertain passersby with some live music. Canon and McKinney were waiting for a few other musicians to join them. “We just get together and jam,” Canon said. “There’s about nine of us.” The group comes from all walks of life, so they play a variety of genres, from country and blue grass to jazz and southern rock, Canon said.  When there’s not a global pandemic, Canon typically plays at The Corkscrew Winery, several nursing homes, outside Silver Lake Recreation Center and other areas around The Villages. But a global pandemic can’t take the music away. They chose the breezeway because it is a contained area that can be easily sanitized, Canon said.

“This is our first time here because of everything that’s going on,” Canon said. “Until things perk up, I guess we’ll be here.”

Saddlebrook Recreation Center: Live, from the pickleball courts, it’s Thursday afternoon! In the nine years the Not Ready for Primetime Players have been together, the members were going into uncharted territory, but they weren’t taking any chances. The players wore gloves and they wiped down the pickleballs.

The only times they stayed away from the courts were if they were being resurfaced, a thunderstorm was passing through, or if a hurricane was heading toward the area.

One of the players, Deb Drake, of the Village of Hemingway, has been keeping busy at home with sewing, knitting and reading. She even started a new project: knitting a dress for her great-niece.

Saddlebrook Executive Golf Course: Richard Silva was out golfing with his friends Thursday afternoon trying to maintain his golf routine as much as possible in the face of the coronavirus spread. “People are practicing common sense, (such as) not traveling, so we feel pretty comfortable being out,” said the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens resident.

Village of Collier: Though they both pay close attention to news updates, Art and Annette Hanopole, of the Village of Collier, made a couple of decisions. One, they decided that following the social distancing requirements for safety could be easily and successfully merged with some of their favorite activities. They only needed to add some creativity. Annette is still playing golf but now refrains from moving flagsticks. Art still rides his motorcycle with buddies, but they don’t stop for meals. And the second decision was about a positive way to cope. That was easy to identify since this couple believes in finding and sharing humor as much as possible. On social media, Annette recently encouraged friends to “remain calm. Stop buying toilet paper and enjoy some ice cream. Make sure to enjoy two scoops.” 

Village of Duval: Annie Dotzauer , of the Village of Duval , has a home studio where she works on her glass fusion. Her studio is attached to the back of her garage and has three different kilns for her to fire with. “I’ve been in the studio every day,” she said. “I keep a log of the things I do and I’m on book number six.” Dotzauer is a member of the glass fusion group Ike’s Fun Fusers, which usually meets at Eisenhower Recreation Center. Despite not getting to meet as a club, Dotzauer is making more glass fusion than ever. “I’m lucky I have the option of keeping up with what gives me joy,” she said. “Not as many people are lucky like me.”

Summerfield: The Congregational Church’s Infant and Toddler Pantry in Summerfield remains active, but is only accepting donations of diapers and baby wipes at this time.

The church says donations will be accepted from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the pantry at 15427 U.S. Highway 301 in Summerfield. Items also can be donated from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at The Congregational Church at 15421 U.S. Highway 301, Summerfield.

Village of Springdale: Gayle Erskine is spending her newfound free time wisely. Although she said she thinks of the days she’s spent at home as “snow days,” she’s been hard at work deep cleaning her house, rounding up supplies for charity and finding ways to stay healthy.

“I’ve been home probably for about a week, not unlike a lot of people in The Villages,” said Erskine, of the Village of Springdale.

Erskine said she is wiping down every doorknob, light switch, phone, television remote and steering wheel, and going through every drawer in her bathroom. She also is going through her cupboards and collecting food to donate to a food pantry.

“We’ve got to help each other and share with others,” Erskine said.

As hard as she’s working to clean her house, she’s also making time for fun by reading and continuing to practice hula dancing. She’s also maintaining contact with friends and neighbors, and getting some sunlight outside.

 “I still get out and walk and wave to people from 6 feet away,” she said.

Liz Coughlin, Maddie Cutler, Sherri Coner, James Dinan, Julie Butterfield, Michael Fortuna and Kristen Fiore contributed to this report.