Again and again, June exploded with possibility and promise. Smile’s calendar has been bursting with activity since our last reflection and the memories keep piling up. Almost two weeks deep into Summer now, and whether they are making Father’s Day arts and crafts, visiting veterans, attending fairs, bowling, or barbecuing, Steven, Nate, Carl, and Andrew are each making the most of every moment they share.
One of the highlights of the Summer so far was the Tri-county fair in Roxbury, which included a classic car show. While there, the guys danced to live music, feasted on several unique foods, rode the giant swing, got lost in the freaky funhouse, and the highlight of the day was finding the Back to the Future DeLorean. Where SMILE is going, we don’t need any roads (had to do it).
The Summer season hasn’t been sunny every day, however even rainy days need adventures, so SMILE spent some time inside our community room making presents for Father’s Day. When all the hard work was done all the guys decided to take a trip to the movies.
On June 18th the guys carefully crafted some heartfelt gifts for SMILE’s Founder/Executive Director, and Steven’s "Mama Bear", Patricia Milford’s birthday. Patty joined the guys at the Colabella building for a beautiful homemade dinner that the guys worked hard on together. After eating, they surprised Patty with two homemade cakes and some energetic birthday singing. Once everyone was stuffed, there were games to be played. It was a truly special birthday celebration for a truly special lady. We love you, Patty!
On June 21st, SMILE attended SCARC’s annual Sock hop at Skylands Ice World, which was a brand new venue following the closing of the beloved Chatterbox. Initially, the SMILE guys missed the throwback vibes of the Chatterbox, but once they set their eyes on the ice they couldn’t wait to lace up some skates to celebrate. While there, they danced to golden oldies, chatted with their friends, and scooped up some delicious ice cream treats.
The next day, Waterloo Village was hosting a music festival and Hopatcong’s Yacht Club was hosting a boat show so the adventures continued. The guys decided to go to the Yacht Club first. While there, they saw a Barbershop Quartet crooning the crowds, which provided a wonderful background sound to the beautiful views of Lake Hopatcong. The many classic vessels and vehicles present were impressive, but the guys were eager to get to the festival, so they left before lunch.
Once at the Waterloo Village festival, the guys all set up their camping chairs near the music and started perusing the many food trucks for lunch. Nate found what he claims is the largest Cheese steak he has ever seen (sorry no pic because he ate it so fast). Steven meanwhile, found his favorite chicken fingers, which always put a SMILE on his face. Everyone loved their lunches, but perhaps none more than Carl who after eating, enjoyed a little nap in the afternoon sun.
Prior to the unfortunate algae outbreak in the lake, the guys spent several afternoons swimming, barbecuing, and playing games at the state park. Hopefully, the outbreak doesn’t last for long so the guys can get back to their weekly trips and all of the SMILE’s friends and family can join us.
Speaking of family, this past Thursday, Carl’s brother Bobby and his wife Joan invited the entire SMILE family over to his house for a backyard barbecue and a ride on his pontoon boat at beautiful Culver's Lake. Bobby and Joan couldn’t have been more gracious or accommodating hosts. Upon arriving, the guys were greeted in the driveway and given a tour of the remarkable property and home that Joan and Bobby have worked so hard to build together. After the tour, the guys changed into their swimsuits, took a dip in the gorgeous water, and partook in some mild water horseplay and shenanigans. After working up an appetite, Bobby grilled everyone up some beautiful butcher quality hot dogs for lunch. After devouring lunch, it was time for a boat ride. Bobby and his son Jessie each took out their boats for the day and gave the guys a proper tour of everything Culver's Lake has to offer. It is a breathtaking lake and an obviously close-knit community. Seeing the clubhouse, the guard boat, the eagle’s nest, and the swans really helped to make the day feel extra special. During the sightseeing boat ride, Carl got to catch up with his nephew Jessie and Steven was able to get some time behind the wheel under Bobby’s guidance. At that point, everyone was exhausted and ready for a nap. That is until Joan brought out ice cream sandwiches and watermelon! It was a delicious end to a truly spectacular day. Thank you so much, Bobby, Joan, and Jessie!
Even when they aren’t out adventuring, the guys enjoy taking care of the landscaping around their home, rocking some karaoke in the community room, completing arts and crafts, cooking up dinner, or simply enjoying the Yankees game together. Everyday here at SMILE is special and important. If your interested in joining us on any adventures, have suggestions on local community outings, or simply want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to reach out.