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The Year in Review

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.