Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Friends Still Maintain Close Bond after 20 Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Friends Still Maintain Close Bond after 20 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Neighborhood Notes

What started as a fun way to make new friends more than two decades ago has carried five current and former Mandarin couples through some of life's toughest and most terrific happenings.

When Wanda and Bill Carmichael, Ron and Diane Dempsey, Karen and Jerry Bryant, Wayne and Linda Montgomery, and Vince and Karen Strollo were first members of the then-small Deermeadows Baptist Church located at the end of a sparsely traveled Baymeadows Road, they began getting together every month or so for dinner.

"It was a night away from the kids," Karen Strollo said.

As Jacksonville grew, so did the church these friends attended, and eventually the couples became part of other congregations. Things changed on the home fronts, too. Kids grew up. Several married, giving the maturing supper club members pictures to share and grandchildren to rave about when they gathered in each others' kitchens.

When marriages hit hard times, the devoted diners prayed and supported each other through heartbreak and recovery. And when Vince Strollo became critically ill, loyal friends were, and still are, available to help care for one of the greatest chefs to ever cook for their group.

"We have a history," Wanda Carmichael said of her longtime friends. "The older you get, the more you realize that's not something to take lightly."

These longtime friends admit that it has taken time and commitment to stay close for over two decades.

"It's worth every minute," Ron Dempsey said.

Area Girl Scouts participate in annual Thinking Day Fair

When Girl Scout troops of the Mandarin Area Cross Roads Creek Service unit held their annual Thinking Day Fair on Feb. 21 at Mandarin Presbyterian Church, more than 200 girls came to "visit" foreign lands. According to Michelle Perry of the Girl Scouts, 21 troops presented their "countries" at booths during the four-hour event.

Perry said World Thinking Day was started in 1926 at the fourth Girl Guide/Girl Scout International Conference, and is now celebrated Feb. …

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