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Jay and Bonnie

Jay and Bonnie Braden were married 47 years and were blessed with four children and many grandchildren, in lives that took them many places as a result of Jay’s career in the US Army, including two tours in Germany. In 1996 Jay retired from the Army and worked another 16 years at two universities before fully retiring to golf, racquetball, and family fun; while Bonnie remained active with family, church, crafts, and tennis, to name a few things. By 2012 they were living in Valrico, fully retired, and looking forward to growing old together. But that was not to be, as Bonnie went to be with our Lord in June of 2014. Fred and Joyce Pollicina were married over 30 years. Joyce had two children and five grandchildren from a previous marriage. Both Fred and Joyce were healthcare professionals; Fred was a renowned cardiologist and rose to be Chief of Staff at what was then University Community Hospital near the University of South Florida campus, and Joyce was a Critical Care Registered Nurse and ran 3-Main at that facility. Fred was retired due to medical issues in the late 1990s, and Joyce retired in 2011 after 47 years in nursing. They traveled together and with friends until Fred went to be with our Lord in July of 2015.
Fred and Joyce
The Current Braden Family
Jay and Joyce and children and grandchildren

Jay and Joyce had known each other casually for years. For example, Jay coached Joyce's grandson Conner in soccer, and Jay & Bonnie met Fred & Joyce at times at Moffitt Cancer Center when Bonnie and Fred were both being treated there. Also, Joyce's daughter Michelle had sung at Steve and Sandra's wedding. Over about an 18 month period beginning in November of 2016 they began seeing each other. Although Jay refused to admit it until way past when he should have, he came to love Joyce and the feeling was mutual.

Jay came to realize that while Bonnie was the love of his life for 47 years, and that while Fred was the love of Joyce’s life for 30 years, Jay and Joyce could each love other in their own special way. While Jay will never love anyone like he loved Bonnie, and while Joyce will never love anyone like she loved Fred, Jay and Joyce can love each other - deeply. One day they will each join in heaven and live joyously there along with their former spouses, family, and friends.

For now they will continue to enjoy their time together and their common interests, and hope to do so for a long while.

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The BradenClan Monthly Blog
(A short but absolutely not all-inclusive paragraph about some of the things going on with the family.)
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May 2024
May saw granddaughter, Daylin, being recognized as most outstanding in Chamber Orchestra for her violin accomplishments. Plus we got to see her play in two select orchestras this month. Meanwhile, Skyler's Bloomingdale High School Girls Softball team was progressing through the district tournament and into regionals, which they won and earned them a spot in the statewide competition. Unfortunately they lost a close game at State, but we were proud of Daylin and all her teammates. May was Mother's Day, and we had a nice celebration. May was also a big day for Joyce, as she celebrated her 80th birthday. She had something like 200 Facebook messages from those sending her best wishes for the day and the future, and thanking her for all she had done for them in the past.

April 2024
April was a good month. Lots of activities involving sports with Karen and Cathy's children plus Jay and Joyce were the recipients of a wonderful roasted short ribs meal cooked by Joyce grandson, Tyler; plus Jay and Joyce celebrated their sixth anniversary with a nice dinner at the Sacred Pepper restaurant in downtown Tampa; and they attended Joyce's Hillsborough High School 80th Birthday Party celebration. Musically, Daylin (now First Chair) played in her high school's spring concert and Braden did smilarly in the spring band concert a few days later. A fun and busy month.

March 2024
March seem to be a fairly busy month. It began with Jay and Joyce attending the Beach Boys concert at the Florida Strawberry Festival. A few days later Jay and Robert hooked up to watch a demonstration of Chick-fil-A food delivery by drone, a concept being tested in the Valrico area. Very interesting. The month also included visiting the first day of the Valspar Golf Tournament held in Palm Harbor. Also a good time. And a few days later Jay got away to visit Robert's family in LaGrange for a fun weekend with him and his family.

February 2024
February was a pretty active month in the Braden household. The seniors group in their church had a Love-a-Palooza night featuring music from the 70s, and Jay and Joyce dressed for the occasion. This was also the month that Florida State Fair and its Horticulture Competition. Joyce’s entry was better than any other of the 300+ submissions to the competition; her cactus won Best of Show. (Ooops, need more wall space for all her ribbons.) Jay also continued with golf and participated in his men's group tournament. He would say he did not play well individually, but his team came in third place and won six other individual prizes that came with financial rewards, so that was good. Yes, Pickleball remained fun, playing with a nice group of people. Joyce continued to serve "a bunch" of friends as a Patient Advocate. As always, this required lengthy phone calls and a lot of time spent reading her medical books. She would not let up, even though her back showed no relief from her latest procedure.

January 2024
January included Jay and Joyce again participating in one of their church's senior ministry events; a Chili Cookoff, where Joyce's Wild and Crazy Chili won First Place over ten other entries. And pirates Jay and Joyce - in costume, of course - were again at Tampa's Gasparilla Pirate Parade, now the third biggest annual parade in the USA. A very good time with lots of fun and many more beads to bring home.

December 2023
Early in December Jay and Joyce attended their church's senior's ministry’s Christmas Party. There was lots of food and fellowship, followed by a White Elephant Gift Exchange. We had to leave a bit early, however. Joyce's back was giving her a lot of trouble. Christmas Eve was a Sunday, and the church service that day included the choir singing its Choir program. The choir had been practicing since September and it was very good. That night Jay and other Legends Pass homeowners put out their luminaries, and the neighborhood was clearly ready for Christmas. This year Christmas Day was at Michelle’s apartment. We had good food and fun games; the games courtesy of Joyce and Michelle. From December 26-29 Jay plus Karen and the triplets, traveled to Orlando where they stayed at the Westgate Lakes Resort. Over the next three days and nights they were challenged by an Escape Room (where they prevailed), miniature golf, trampoline bouncing, bowling, miniature golf, Top Golf, and Go-Kart racing. Then the Alvarez family returned to Brandon, and Jay joined Joyce and her family for three nights at the Gaylord Palms, where they certainly ate well and also enjoyed visiting ICE. (Visiting ICE means traveling through rooms and rooms of hand-carved ice sculptures created by over 40 world-renowned master artisans who had spent over 6-weeks hand-carving the approximately 6,700 blocks of ice to create this one-of-a-kind Christmas attraction.) And the BradenClan Website reached a milestone: 300 Gator Jokes! (There would have lots more if Jay didn't stand fast on No jokes worse the PG!

November 2023
Fall was a bit in the air, at least from the calendar standpoint because the Florida weather was nice. Daylin's Fall School Concert at Bloomingdale High School was very nice; it appears she is becoming an accomplished artist. She also ran cross county, while Skyler played "Fall Ball" with the Bloomingdale Softball Team and Braden participated in Rec League Baseball. On November 18, Jay joined Karen and her family in traveling to Lakeland where they met Robert and Everett who had come down fron LaGrange. Everett, age 12, was running in the Junior Olympic Cross Country Regionals, where he finished fifth out of a field of about 45. His time was not quite good enough to go on to the nationals, but we were certainly proud of him. For Thanksgiving Day, Jay and Joyce traveled about 45 miles northwest to join Joyce's son Michael and his wife Karri at their Home in Hudson. Also there were Joyce's daughter Michelle and her friend Steve, plus grandson Tyler. No good news on Joyce's back. She has been told that the next step is a plate screwed into her vertebrae, and she doesn't want hardware in her back. Jay is still playing golf and Pickleball. Also creating puzzles and games for family get-togethers.

October 2023
October begin with our Tampa Bay Rays only making it into the World Series playoffs with a two out of three play-in series, and they lost two straight. Sad, they had such a record-breaking start of the season. But there was always football to now occupy our time, and Florida State University was looking pretty good. As for our Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will just have to see how it plays without Tom Bradey. The month included a couple of functions with Joyce’s high school class and with an association, she belongs to; each . . . nice events. The highlight of the month for Jay and Joyce was their trips; Jay’s trip to Georgia to be with Robert's family over a weekend and Joyce's trip with her daughter Michelle to be at St. Augustine over the weekend. In each case good family times. And, of course, the month ended with Halloween.

September 2023
September's Labor Day weekend found Jay along with Karen‘s family and Robert's family again at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. (There was nothing that could be done at this time to help Michael and Karri except to provide them some things to help tide them over until the insurance could kick in.) This annual outing is almost starting to become a tradition. This year they moved up to a four bedroom villa to accommodate Robert and Natalie's larger family, and, as usual, the facility was great except for perhaps a kitchen that was a bit small, but everyone made it work. Natalie had done a lot of preliminary shopping to take care of breakfasts and lunches so that helped much. They weren't sure about being able to again rent to golf carts to let everyone travel around Callaway, but it turned out that two were available and they even got a break on the price. All in all, a very, very good time. Unfortunately, the hoped-for improvement in Joyce's back pain did not occur, and by the end of the month she was back to one of the highest pain levels she had ever endured. For Michael and Karri, their insurance and help from FEMA kicked in, and by the end of September, the damaged furniture and appliances had been removed and the sheet rock ruined by water had also been removed. They were very pleased with the work crew that was brought in to repair the damages, plus they took an opportunity to make some minor but very nice changes to their floor plan layout. Hopefully by the end of October they will be back living in their home and most of this pretty ugly event will be behind them.

August 2023
If you look at our August calendar, it would appear that is began as a pretty quiet month including Jay's very nice preschool vacation with Karen and her family at the Bilmar Resort on Treasure Island Beach, St Petersburg. Then came August 17, when Joyce went in for a surgery on her back, having had absolutely no relief from a variety of different types of procedures designed to make her back pain more manageable. Initial readings are somewhat positive, but time will tell. But, behind the scenes, there were families getting ready for school, watching Tampa Bay Rays baseball to see if they could continue their winning ways, looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team in the NFL and the Florida State Seminoles college football team to get a preview of how they might do once the regular seasons begin. Right, at the end of the month, Hurricane Idalia hit the Florida Coast. Karen's home and our home only experienced some higher than normal winds and a lot of rain, but Michael and Karrie's home on a canal in Hudson, Florida, suffered extensive water damage. A very trying emotional time. Thankfully, Michael and Karri had good neighbors, who helped them by providing housing, because their home was unlivable due to water damage. The month ended with them working with their insurance company and FEMA to determine what damages were covered and how to make the necessary cleanup and home repairs.

July 2023
July was an active month. It began with Jay and Joyce again celebrating the Independence Day holiday at the Bilmar Resort on Treasure Island. They were joined on the fourth by Joyce's son, Michael and his wife, Karrie, and by Joyce’s daughter, Michelle, and her friend, Steve Slade. The days were hot, but the canopy and an ocean breeze kept things bearable. The fireworks were great and - as usual - it was another good time at the Bilmar. In mid month, Jay and other three members of his golf team, placed third in his association's annual Red-White-Blue golf tournament. The team was also one of four closest-to-the-pin contest winners, and also the winner of the longest-made-putt competition on the ninth hole. So Jay had good camaraderie and took home some cash. Sweet. Then, on Monday the 17th, Jay joined Karen and her family for a drive up to Orlando where Robert and his family were staying at a Marriott Resort. That also was a very nice day. A bit later in the month Jay and Joyce joined John Sellers, and his wife, Linda, and their families as John celebrated the fifth anniversary of his kidney implant. John, who is a chef, treated us all to a really great barbecue meal, with many different delicious meats and sides. Jay ended the month with a routine cardio appointment; all is fine, though if the Tampa Bay Rays keep up their winning ways, it is doubtful his heart will be able to take it.

June 2023
Robert and his family traveled from their home in Georgia down to St Pete Beach on Saturday, June 17 for a four night stay at the Bon-Aire Resort, which has an excellent location on the beach, two heated pools, a tiki type bar and grill, shuffleboard courts, and some nice apartments that are reasonably priced. Jay and Joyce joined them Sunday for a very nice lunch at Crabby Bills; after which Joyce returned home while Jay stayed the next 2 1/2 days for beach fun. June was also the Match Play Tournament for Jay's Golf Group; he won second place in his division.$$

May 2023
A good month with not much to report. Jay continued his golf twice a week (where he needs a lots of improvement) and Pickleball three times a week (where his play is decent compared to others in his group of about 15 players). Joyce continued to attempt to find relief from her back pain. May 18 was the one year anniversary of the passing Jay and Ellen's Mom, who had lived to be 101. A good life; still we miss her.

April 2023
April means taxes. Of course that happens every April and they are only mentioned here because Jay finished by beating his own lifetime record - he had them finsihed three days before the due date! More important: Jay and Joyce traveled to Cape Hatteras to be at the Celebration of Life for Paul Dunn that was held on April 30th. It was a very nice event held at the Cape Hatteras Civic Center and it was evident just how everyone felt about Paul: a great man who loved his family and was a very respected fisherman in a village full of fisherman. Jay and Joyce's travel arrangements included flying out of Norfolk on May 1, and the trip was eventful that Nurse Joyce may have saved a man's life in the Atlanta Airport.

March 2023
The highlight of the month for Joyce was her winning three prestigious ribbons at the Florida Strawberry Festival with one of the ribbons being Best of Show.* This was truly an amazing success, and it reflected hours and hours and days and weeks and months of careful preparation. There is only one problem, however, the walls of her office won't fit any more ribbons from her horticulture competitions. (*Joyce also won Best of Show at the 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival.) The highlight of March for Jay and Joyce was is their trip aboard Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, which was the largest passenger ship in the world at that time. Their seven day cruise included visits to Saint Kitts and St. Thomas. And also a day at Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay.

February 2023
This was another active month that included family and church activities, but it was also the month that Paul Dunn went to meet his Lord. He passed away about six months after he was first diagnosed with esophagael cancer that had metastasized to other parts of his body. Paul was a wonderful guy, a great husband, a super father and grandfather, and a friend of all in the Hatteras area. He will be missed.

January 2023
Whew, it seems that everyone made it through 2022 and is ready to start 2023. Looking at the calendar for January, the one with all my family notes on it that is not posted on the Web, it appears that we were certainly busy every day. But from an outside view, one of the highlights of the month for Joyce and Jay was again attending the Gasparilla Pirate Fest along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. Once again, very enjoyable. Arrrgh!!!

December 2022
December for the Bradens was an eventful month. Robert visited and he and Jay got some father-son time at
TopGolf. Then there was the Fellowship Baptist Church Christmas PartyWith over 80 people attending. Good food, good fellowship, and a fun White Elephant Gift Exchange. December 15th found Joyce at a surgical center for a procedure to hopefully provide some relief to some serious back pain. We will not know the full extent to which the procedure helps relieve the back pain for at least a month. Christmas morning Jay at Joyce were treated to a great breakfast by Karen and her family who were preparing for their trip to England. Very nice. The Bradens then travelled to Kernohan Cove where Michael and Karri again hosted a Christmas Dinner with Jay and Joyce providing the games. To bring in the New Year, Jay and Joyce spent the night at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and really enjoyed a winderful New Year's Eve dinner at Oystercatchers.

November 2022
The highlight of the month was the family vacation to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. We also celebrated Thanksgiving twice, once with our church group and once at the Kernohans at their home in Hudson. We also traveled over to St Petersburg to help David Foster celebrate his 90th Birthday!

October 2022
October was highlighted by three events. On October 22nd Shaun Dunn (son of Paul and Dorothy) was married to Victoria Caldwell in a nice ceremony and reception at Care Hatteras, North Carolina. (We also later learned that Shaun was recognized as the Hatteras Captain on the Year, 2022, so that was quite an honor.) In the same time frame Joyce and daughter Michelle had some nice days at Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Jay also got to spend some time with Robert's family in Lagrange, Georgia. Imagine: Six children! Lastly, on October 31st Jay and Joyce dressed up for their church's Trunk or Treat, and gave away a carload full of candy to very nice children with their parents.

September 2022
September was slated to be to have a very good start with parts of the family gathering at Callaway Gardens over the Labor Day weekend. Robert would be there with his family and Jay would be traveling up by car with Karen and her family. Unfortunately that entire vacation had to be canceled when Jay came down with his second bout of Covid. His first bout had been in December 2019 and the second bout was relatively mild but it still put the Kabash on what was to be some great times together. Callaway was understanding and gave a full refund, and we now have a second booking in November to look forward to. The second big event in September actually occurred. It was in Indianapolis where Jay traveled to be at his high school's 60th Reunion. Jay had been part of the planning committee that met just about every other week by Zoom going back to the previous November. Jay stayed with Ellen and Tom who were, as always, wonderful hosts. Tom and Ellen picked Jay up at the airport and had a surprise for him: a quick trip to Crawfordsville to visit the Lew Wallace Museum. Jay also he stayed at Tom and Ellen's house. The Reunion had three parts: a picnic at one of the alum's home, a tour of Bottle Works in downtown Indianapolis, and an evening dinner at the nearby Delaware County Community Center. Jay asked Ellen to be his "date" for all the events and that worked out very well, as she knew some of the people there (Ellen had graduated from a later class at the same high school). Jay's contribution to the evening dinner was to conduct - you guessed it – some games, which were well received. Naturally that made his night. All in all some very nice times. September 27th was the rescheduled date for Mom's interment at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery. Ellen flew up a day early with Mom's cremains and stayed with Delcie Mollick. However Jay and Karen's flights were messed up due to Hurricane Ian so the Interment Ceremony was conducted without them. Robert attended and was a GIANT help getting Jay and Karen connected in by Facetime.

August 2022
August was another mostly quiet summer month. Both Robert and Karen celebrated birthdays. Braden had what was to be a routine surgery to clean out his nasal passages and make him less likely to get sinus infections. It was true about routine surgery but the recovery period was longer than anticipated. Thankfully it out well and we will see if there are some long-term good results. This was go-back-to-school month so that kept Karen and Robert and their kids active in getting ready for the upcoming school year. Hard to believe that the triplets would be sophomores in high school.

July 2022
July started as a fairly quiet summer month. For one thing, we spent the Independence Day weekend at home rather than vacationing at one of Joyce's favorite resorts: the Bilmar on Treasure Island Beach. But both Jay and Joyce enjoyed again supporting the church's Freedom Festival held a few days earlier with lots of food and a great fireworks show. Jay kept with his Golf and PickleBall, and Joyce spent time each week with her daughter Michelle and with her son Michael's truck travels around the United States via an app they each had on her phone. They also managed to talk by phone almost daily, so that was very, very nice. She also had a nice day with her Admin Assistant Margaret from her nursing days. A super event was Karen's graduation from the University of South Florida with a Masters in Social Work. She earned this degree, an important key to her employment with Suncoast Hospice and other any other similar social work jobs she might have in the future, while working full time. Quite an accomplishment and she has a number of stories regarding her experiences during this academic endeavor. Yes, Jay and Joyce did manage to slip away at the end of the month. They traveled to Breezes Resort in Nassau by plane for a four night holiday at and all inclusive. Yes, that was a good time.

June 2022
On June 6th Jay and Ellen hosted the Celebration of Life for their mother, Elaine, who had passed away on May 18th. It was held at Green House Cottages in Carmel, where Elaine had resided for the past few years. It was a very nice celebration, attended by friends and family and members of the Transition team that had served Elaine in her final days. The ceremony included a scripture message from Pastor Mac of Transitions that was warm and uplifting. Following the ceremony there was food and beverages for all; and then family members gathered at a nearby Residence Inn for further sharing of tributes and memories. The month ended with Jay and Joyce attending the Fellowship Baptist Church Freedom Festival, where they each served as volunteers. After more than eight years with Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Jay had transferred his membership to Fellowship Baptist so that he and Joyce could spend all of their Sundays together.

May 2022
The beginning of the month found Jay traveling back to Indiana. A call from sister Ellen informed him that their mother Elaine had some type of incident that had resulted in a sharp downturn in her health. After about a four day visit things had stabilized and Jay returned to Tampa. That week Robert was in town for business and got to break away for a few hours to play PickleBall with Jay's friends. But another call from Ellen necessitated another trip back to Indiana. At this point Elaine was clearly nearing the end of her life on earth, and was simply being comforted and kept pain-fee by medications. Essentially, she was in a deep sleep for the entire visit, and Jay and Ellen got to spend some time working in various arrangements that would be set in place once Elaine passed. Jay returned to Tampa late Monday evening and got the call from Ellen shortly after 11AM on Wednesday that Nanny had slipped peacefully into eternity. Ellen and husband Tom were there at her passing, which was peaceful. Her obituary can be found at the ARN Mortuary and Funeral home and there is a posting on the family Website.

April 2022
April started out nice when Jay plus Karen's family travelled to Orlando to spend the day with Robert and his family at the Marriott Resort where they were staying. Good fun at the pool, good eating, and overall good family times and memories. Highlight of the month was visiting Nanny to help her celebrate her 101st Birthday! We also had a nice Easter, and we count our blessings.

March 2022
March is Florida Strawberry Festival time, and Joyce's friend Lu made her forst entry into the Horticulture Competition where she earned a First Place in her class! Congrats. (Joyce and Lu had been working for months on their respective entries.) We also had our annual Sunday School Class Strawberry Picnic at the Mercer Farm. Eddie Mercer is our Sunday School Class Leader and he generously opens up his fields for our class and his other close friends. Yes, Jay continued with Golf and Pickleball, which he enjoys greatly.

February 2022
Lots of things this month. After about six months of hard work and great dedication, Joyce submitted her entry to the Florida State Fair. It was in the "Succulants in Alternative Containers" category. Her container was a crab trap and inside, with meticulous work, were over thirty species of cacti and other succulants. Yes, she won First Place in her category, and we learned that she was very strongly in contention for Best of Show, the winner being a terrarium with but four plants and mold in the waterfall area. We learned that Best of Show judging was contentuous among the judges. Unfortunately the terrarium prevailed - but there is no way it compared with the beauty, variety, and attention to detail of Joyce's entry. This month Jay also got to make his first visit to see Robert and Natalie's new babies, Alice and Thatcher. A great visit to a wonderful family.

January 2022
The great news for this month was the birth of twins, Alice Claire and Thatcher Robert, to Robert and Natalie and their boys. Praise the Lord.

December 2021
Christmas month began with the annual Sunday School Party, and Jay led the games, which were fun. He loves his games and so now a number of them are posted on this Website. Joyce participated in choir for her church's Christmas Program, and that was also excellent. Jay got away to spend three days with Robert and his family at their new home in LaGrange, Georgia. Jay and Joyce had Christmas Eve dinner with Howard and Michelle Wooden and were back to Hudson the next day for the Kernohan Christmas dinner and other activities. Jay and Joyce also got away to Orlando to stay at the Gaylord Palms over the New Year, and they enjoyed the getaway.

November 2021
About the most significant activity in November was our vacation trip to stay in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Or I should say our "planned" trip, because as the time approached, the USA raised the Dominican Republic's COVID Alert to a pretty high level, enough for us to cancel the trip which meant losing some of our no-refund air fare. No regrets on that decision, however. Joyce continued practicing with her church choir for its Christmas Program and she and her friend Lu worked steadily on the hortculture submissions; Lu's for the Florida Strawberry Festival and Joyce's for the Florida State Fair. That way they would not be competing with each other. Jay continued golf though his team didn't do that well at his golf association's Memorial Tournament. His Pickleball group continued to play three days a week and Jay played regularly on the two mid-week games. Thanksgiving was at Michael and Karri Kernohan's house in Hudson. A nice time.

October 2021
Mostly a nice month. Everett turned 10; Braden, Daylin, and Skyler celebrated their first high school HomeComing Weekend; and Joyce and Michelle drove up to Gatlinburg for some Mother-Daughter time to enjoy the mountains and the Fall leaves. Things got rough beginning on the 25th when Jay learned that his Mom, Elaine, in an Assisted Living Facility in Carmel (Indianapolis), Indiana, seem to be taking a turn for the worse, so Jay flew out on the 26th to be there. But within a span of about 24 hours she fully recovered and continues to do well for being 100 years old. Thank to Ellen and her family for being nearby and for all the work they do in looking in on Mom and ensuring that she is being properly attended to.

September 2021
Got to spend the Labor Day Weekend with Karen and her family. We took in Discovery Cove and SeaWorld. Good times at both. Visited Hudson, FL, a few times to look in on Michael and Karri as they renovated their new home there. It is on a canal that leads to the Gulf and has a nice pier and boat lift. The lift was empty so Michael had to buy a 27' boat to go on it. Robert was in town late in the month so Jay, Robert, and the boys had some fun together. The boys are all involved in soccer at West Point, GA, and Robert coaches four teams! The tripletts are into fall sports: Braden (baseball), Skyler (softball), Daylin (Cross Country and Orchestra). Keeps Karen and Cathy busy shuttling the kids to practices and games. Jay and Joyce got away for a nice dinner at Anna Marie Island to close out the month.

August 2021
August was moving month, with Michael and Karri moving to Hudson with a home on a canal leading out to the gulf, and with Robert and Natalie moving to a home in LaGrange, Georgia.

July 2021
Independence Day Celebration. Again at the Bilmar on Treasure island Beach in St. Petersburg, along with Michelle, and also Michael and Karri who were celebrating their second anniversary. During the weekend, we were visited by Joseph and his girlfriend Mallory, and by Tyler and Conner. We brought beach gear and snacks . . . and games, of course. Everyone liked Bocce Ball (beach rules) and Mexican Train dominos. The fireworks on July 4th were also great. We returned home to watch the final two games of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens, and cheered when the Bolts won on July 7th for a second straight Stanley Cup. A few days later Tampa celebrated with a boat parade, something unique to the city.

June 2021
June was not a good month. On the second day of the month Joyce learned that her best friend - who was like a sister to her, Carol Foster, had died in a May 30 auto accident; the news arriving late because Carol's husband, David, was in ICU from the accident and incommunicato. Carol and David had been Joyce and Fred's traveling companions all over Europe and to the Western US for 12 years beginning in 2000. David is Joyce's lawyer and he has done work for Jay also. The funeral service was for family only, but Joyce is "family" to the Fosters so she and Jay attended, and also the reception afterwards. Two weeks later, Joyce was one of only three speakers at the Celebration of Life, and she did an amazing job, her words making the church audience both laugh and cry. Later in the month, Jay drove up to Orlando and joined Robert's family for a day while they were staying at a Marriott resort.

May 2021
May was just another slow month. It began with an nice event: the triples got baptised at St. Andrews United Methodist, where they attend. A few days later we got to hear Daylin play in the All-County Band. Then Robert came by for an afternoon and played Pickleball with our group. Then Jay visited Robert in Lanett to watch the boys play baseball while Joyce and her friend Lu visited Daytona Beach. Braden made the Bloomingdale Youth Sports Association All-Star Team, and Skyler drew attention and praises for her piching and fielding with her softball team. Skyler even got invited to practice with the Bloomingdale High School Softball Team; quite an honor. Jay and Joyce drove to Anna Maria Island and had a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant on the beach there. Jay had his first traffic accident (his fault-one other car involved-no injuries) and the Equinox began a slow seven weeks of recovery and repair$ while Jay got to pay for rental cars. And the month ended with the celebration of Joyce's birthday. Whew.

April 2021
The highlight of the month was traveling to Indianapolis to help Jay and Ellen's Mother, Elaine, celebrate her 100th Birthday. All went well!! Jay and Joyce also got away for a few hours to enjoy the Florida State Fair.

March 2021
This was highlighted by a couple of nice events. This year the Florida Strawberry Festival at Plant City was held albeit with many COVID-19 precautions in place. Normally there is big name entertainment each night but that went away this year. Understandably, attendance was down. We felt sorry for all the food vendors cooking up goodies for people who just weren't there. We did have our traditional strawberry shortcake, however. We also had two trips. Both over the March 26-28 weekend. Jay, with Robert's family and Karen's family, spent three days at Universal Studies while Joyce and her good friend Lu spent that weekend at Daytona Beach, accompanied by their dogs, Cinny and Bella. (Joyce's back just could not take three days of running through Universal.)

February 2021
February was also a relatively quiet month, though Joyce was saddened by the passing of two very close friends, one being her Sunday school teacher whom she had known for 30 years. In terms of the pandemic, it appeared that spring and summer might see COVID-19 pretty much under control, and therefore opening up potential places to vacation. As one might guess, everyone had that same thought and it was surprising to find many places already booked up for so far in advance. Jay took on a small project; assembling some of the Christmas letters he could find. Those letters go back 40 years, and he has about 30 years worth now posted on the BradenClan Webpage.

January 2021
January was a quiet month. It was a little bit of “recovering from Christmas and putting away Christmas decorations“ and pretty much waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted to the extent where we could begin thinking about travels. Joyce continue making contacts and speaking with the her friends and neighbors who count upon her for medical expertise, and at one point she had 13 “active“ cases of persons needing serious medical attention and seeking her advice. Jay continued with golf and pickle ball, and enjoyed each of these activities, though his golf game could always be better. Speaking of golf, Jay stepped down as his men’s association’s secretary after serving in that capacity for six years. Time for someone else to get that enjoyment.

December 2020
Nothing special about this December. Despite an abundance of care and caution, Jay tested positive for COVID-19 in December 3rd. By December 14th he tested negative and was fully okay. Of course, between the 3rd and the 14th there were most of the symptoms: sore muscles, a cough, excessive fatigue. But with the help of Joyce (AKA Nurse Ratched) he recovered nicely. This year Jay and Joyce celebrated Christmas Day with her side of the family. There were around 14 of us and we had a good time with food, fellowship, and Jay’s games.

November 2020
This month Joyce and her long time friend visited Gatlinburg, one of Joyce's favorite cities. During this time Jay visited Robert and his family in Alabama. Both visits created good times and sweet memories.

October 2020
This month Jay and Joyce traveled to St Augustine for a few days. While there we enjoyed eating at some nice restaurants, hopping on and off the trolley tour, visiting the lighthouse, and expereiencing the unique aspects of this very old Florida city.

September 2020
This month we returned to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, where we stayed on property at one of their three bedroon villas. Joining us were Robert's family and Karens's family. to get around the property - from the villa to the lake to the activities center ... we rented two 6-passenger golf carts, and riding around in these added a new and fun aspect to our adventure.

August 2020
Robert came in from Orlando with his family and we celebrated Karen's 50th Bithday at nearby Medard Park. The next day Jay joined Karen and her family at Holmes Beach in Bradenton. Braden, Daylin, and Skyler prepared to go back to (virtual) school. They were not happry with that, but Karen and Cathy felt that distancing precautions still needed to be practiced.August was go to UCF month for Conner Kernohan, and Joyce and Conner had made a lot of preparations for his freshman year there. They had worked hard to select a nice dormitory and to make sure Conner had all the supplies necessary for his stay there. Conner would be living in a four bedroom freshman suite with two other roommates and they would all be taking classes virtually.

July 2020
Jay and Joyce got away for two nights at the Bilmar Resort on Treasure Island Beach in St. Petersburg. Good times. Jay visited with Robert and his family when they were in Lakeland. On the 18th of July Joyce exercised her Second Amendment rights and purchased a pistol. She also purchased all the ancillary items: bullets, hearing protection, protective glasses, holster, and ammo. She practiced at the range and did well. Joyce and Jay also took the required training for a concealed weapons permit and filed their applications with the state of Florida. Note: You might want to knock loudly before your come in to our house.

June 2020
This must have been surgery month. Joyce had two separate hospital days; one for cataract surgery on her left eye and another for cataract surgery on her right eye. Both procedures turned out very well and now Joyce can read the fine print on all the advertising we get in our junk mail. Hunter Wooden also had surgery, to remove some pins in his leg that were part of a surgical solution to a broken leg he had years ago. The steel rod will remain but the pins had come loose and were causing him some discomfort. This procedure needed to be done because Hunter was considering entering the US Air Force. Jay and Joyce along with the Karen Alvarez family, spent the weekend in Orlando at the Westgate Lakes Resort. There they played miniature golf, swam in the pool, competed in board games at night, ate out at Longhorn Steakhouse, and played paddle ball on the grounds of ICONN Park. A nice time. Not a lot to report this month. COVID-19 precautions still dampened our activities and so Jay's racquetball had been out since March but this month one of his racquetball buddies set up a PickleBall court in his driveway, so Jay switched racquet sports. PickleBall is fun. Jay also resumed playing golf, with safety precautiions in effect. he learned that COVID-19 had somehow made his golf game ten strokes worse!

May 2020
Karen continued to struggle at her hospice work due to the shortage of PPE and the rest of us continued with social distancing. Bummer. We had graduation celebrations for Hunter Wooden (from USF) and Conner Kernohan (from Bloomingdale High School and about to attenbd UCF).

April 2020
This month will be remembered mostly for how the United States and the world attempted to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. In the US alone, the death toll went from 3,746 on April 1st to 55,225 on April 30th. Concurrently, unemployment numbers soared and the stock markets were in the tank. Cities scrambled to locate N95 masks, PPE for health care workers, and ventilators for critically ill patients. Jay and Joyce did "sneak out" to deliver Barbeque to the doctors and staff on the COVID-19 ward of Advent hospital, but mostly adhered to stay-at-home and self-isolation mandates and practiced social distancing when they did have to be in public. On the upside, Jay’s mom seemed to being okay in her nursing home and we got to speak with her fairly regularly using our iPhone FaceTime software. Her 99th birthday was on April 10th, and we met virtually to send our best wishes. We did have some sadness in the house: Mosby went to cat heaven. He was a great pet and will be missed very much. Puppy Cinny remained, however, to bolster our spirits.

March 2020
Armed with surgical masks, germicide sprays, and Lysol wipes, Jay and Joyce flew to Hawaii for six great nights. Yes, the Coronavirus was out there, but no reports cases in Oahu. They had a great time and some pictures of their visit are here. They returned to a mainland overwhelmed with cases of COVID-19, schools closing, businesses closing, and to essentially self-isolation. Jay did play in the Polk County Senior Games before things got really serious (and even won his age group by kicking the crutches out from his opponents), but even gave up his twice-a-week golf, citing an overabundance of caution plus the fact that his family would kill him if he caught the virus and died.

February 2020
February was a month of a number of things. jay and Joyce visited the Florida State Fair to include its horticultural exhibits and even Jay could tell thatr Joyce would have won Best of Show there should she have entered one of her Fairy Dish Gardens. Jay visited his Mom in Indianapolis who is now in assisted living. She is well, all things considered. Blessings to Ellen who sees her almost daily, arranges her doctor appointments and gets Mom to them, does her laundry, and interacts with the staff to stay informed and to be a presence in the home ... a good way to keep care to one's family member at the best possible level. Joyce also succumbed to getting some attention to her back, visiting a neurological spine surgeon, beginning therapy sessions, and getting scheduled at a surgical center for a spinal injection that had some promise of helping ease her pain. This was also the month that Jay sold his townhome that he owned and had been renting in the valrico area for eight years. His great tenant Carlos had decided to move and Jay decided not to be in the landlord business any longer. The sale was fast and smooth. And - meanwhile - Jay and Joyce continued preparations for their upcoming Hawaii trip while watching the Coronavirus in China beginning to spread worldwide ... wondering if all that travel would be safe.

January 2020
In early January Jay returned to Orlando with Karen and her family to cash in on remaining passes from the December visit. This time they tried another Escape Room (and again successfully escaped) and also played video games, had lunch, and drove Karts at the NASCAR I-Drive attraction. In mid-January Jay and Joyce's life changed when they added a new member to the household; two-month-old Cinnabar Braden ("Cinny), a loveable five pound mix of Bichon Frise and Shih Tsu. Why would anyone want to sleep through the night when you can get up at 3 AM to walk the dog? Also Joyce continued her efforts as essentially a patient advocate for a number of friends and one relative: grandson Devin who broke a bone in his ankle and required surgery to insert a pin to hold the bones in place. Lastly, Jay and Joyce joined the boistrous crowds to watch the Gasparilla Pirate Parade in downtown Tampa (Aaargh!). A fun time and they collected almost more beads than they could carry.

Our Monthly Activities (Going Backwards) for the Following Years:

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003  
A Few Braden Family Stories
Braden Vacations and Cruises