MAKE A RESERVATION – EXPERIENCE THE VILLAGES

He is a big man, with a big heart. Steve is a friend. I was first introduced to Mr. Reed by a man standing behind me at a Harley Davidson motorcycle store. I was divorced and I decided it was time for me to own my own motorcycle. All the women in my life from my mother to my first and second wife had decided that it was too dangerous for me to own one. I was on my own now, and I wanted one. I was astonished at the prices Harley Davidson was asking for a motorcycle. My inter voice kept saying… I’ll never be able to own a motorcycle with prices like these!

“I’ll buy you one, if you buy me one!”

The voice was that of Dave Elmore a retired Indianapolis Motorcycle Police Officer. He was in the store looking at motorcycles just like everyone else. He noticed my pained expression as I was looking at the price tags. We talked and David asked if I was serious about buying a motorcycle. He also wanted to know if I belonged to a motorcycle club or group. I told him no… I had just started looking and this place was my first stop. Dave suggested that I go to a restaurant on Sunday morning and look for a group of men having coffee and ask to talk to a fellow by the name of Steve Reed. “Steve will put you on the right path.”

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It was Sunday morning and I really was not comfortable walking into the restaurant. I had no formal introduction to this group of men or to this Steve Reed guy. Shapiro’s was located just south of downtown. The eating area is large with tables everywhere, there was a cafeteria line where you pick your food, and then you find a table and enjoy your meal. I looked around the room and noticed a group of men with several tables pushed together. I assumed it might be the group I was looking for. They all stopped talking and looked at me when I approached their table. “Would anyone at this table happen to know the name Steve Reed?”

“Why do you ask?” “Who are you?” I explained what David had told me and Mr. Reed said,

“That would be me!”

This started a friendship that has developed and continues for over 13 years. I have long ago sold my Gold Wing motorcycle and moved on to other toys… but Mr. Reed still enjoys his bikes and we remain close friends.

When I came back from The Villages I was telling Mr. Reed how excited I was about the idea of moving to The Villages. He seemed excited too. The seed of the idea was planted that we could both enjoy The Villages life style. After all, what’s not to like. Warm weather, golf, softball, restaurants, three motorcycle clubs for Mr. Reed, more woman than men, (Steve is single) 2000 clubs and lots of things to do to simply enjoy life. It’s perfect. I then explained that The Villages has a program called “Experience the Villages”. They let people rent a home in The Villages and the home comes with a complimentary golf cart, a couple of bicycles, passes to various venues. I told Mr. Reed, I need to revisit The Villages to make sure this is what I want to do. “Why don’t you go down with me and see the place for yourself.”

Steve is a guy who likes to lead, be in charge have things his way. Having ridden many a motorcycle mile with him all over the country, he also leads from behind. Giving directions as where to turn and which fuel station we will stop at over the citizens band radio while being the last in a line of motorcycles. He reminds me at times of Santa Clauses guiding his reindeer. Knowing the way Mr. Reed likes to have control, I gave him the phone numbers of the office in The Villages where you make a reservation. I told him “You set it up for us.”

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While he did call and talk to The Villages to find out how “Experience The Villages” worked, he also started calling local employers and businesses trying to see what kind of work he could find if he moved to the area. Steve is an in home home-improvement sales kind of guy. He has no patience’s for procrastination on the part of the home owner. If Steve is selling gutter protection for the home, both husband and wife need to be there to make a decision that day. If he is selling replacement windows, there is no need for “Let us think about it.” He wants the order tonight. Steve has a 70% close ratio and normally gets his man.

Time passed and no feedback from Mr. Reed. I called The Villages reservation office and wanted to know what was taking so long to set a date. I was told they were waiting for Mr. Reed to call back and confirm a date. They had called him twice asking for a commitment. The reservation desk told me they had not received a requested return phone call from Mr. Reed. I was disappointed. I was disappointed Steve was not following through to simply set a date. I called Steve and asked, “What’s going on, what’s the deal? They’re telling me they’re waiting on you?” He informed me there was no way he could make a living in Florida and decided not to go and decided to stay put in Indiana. There was no reason to even make the trip.

I was looking forward to making the trip. I was looking forward to “Experience The Villages”. I needed to see the place up close and personal to make sure this was where I was headed with my life. Driving a school bus allows me to have the summer free. If I wait much longer I will behind the wheel of a school bus and won’t have the time I need to experience or visit The Villages. I had seen The Villages for less than 4 hours back in April and was making life decisions about a move with only 4 hours of “Village Time” under my belt? I needed to take charge of my life and make my own plans.

About the author

Stephen A and Scott Duncan publish "ByDuncan.com" Scott photographs (Duncan Photography) and is the guy who keeps this site running. Steve (left) is a photographer (Duncan Photography) and writes to "ByDuncan.com"