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In Kissimmee - Bass, Buster, Grouper and Astros

© by Mike Keenan

After a morning excursion with Captain Rick on Kissimmee's Lake Toho where we encountered many bass fishermen, we head for Kissimmee's downtown area. I seek out Makinson's Hardware store, the oldest in Florida at 127 years according to Rick. There, I encounter Buster Makinson, standing behind the till. His grandpa founded the store in 1884 a year after Kissimmee incorporated. At 70 years of age, Buster has four sons, none of whom are interested in carrying on the family tradition. Buster laments the fast pace that has developed here in Florida. To slow down, he visits a son in North Carolina which he claims is much more laid back.
     We leave Buster in search of lunch. He recommends Mrs. Mac's for tasty home-made meals, but we seek out the Dockside Restaurant where we meet chef John who greets us with a wide smile, and when asked what's the best item on the menu, he says: "Everything!" which reminds me of a kid with the same response at Epcot when I asked him what he liked best. My wife and I both relish the grouper sandwich and head off to Joanie's for coffee and pie.
Osceola County Stadium
1000 Bill Beck Blvd.,
Kissimmee, Fla.

Stadium Box Office:

Directions: From I-4, take Route 192 west off of the Florida Turnpike or east off of I-4. The ballpark is 1.5 miles west of the turnpike and two miles east of downtown Kissimmee.

Buster Makinson  Chef John  Court House  Historic District

Captain Rick says that when you eat at Joanie's you must order the coconut cream pie first before the main course because it's so good it goes fast. He's right. There's none left when we arrive!
     To work off a few calories, we walk around Kissimmee's historic area, check out the old court house and a few other buildings.
     The Houston Astros conduct their spring training in Kissimmee at Osceola County Stadium. The stadium also hosts numerous amateur baseball events throughout the remainder of the year in conjunction with USSSA, Triple Crown Sports, World Baseball Federation and Promotion Sports. The Jim Evan's Academy of Professional Umpiring has also called Osceola County Stadium home since 1994.

Detroit Batter  Detroit Batter  Houston Batter  Looks Like A Strike

     At the stadium, we watch the Astros take on the Detroit Tigers. We had seen the Tigers play earlier against the Braves, and the Braves had had their way with them. Today, it's the Tigers' turn as they bat in many runs. The stadium is a no frills facility with a regular scoreboard unlike the fancy Braves' facility. It's a warm, sunny day, perfect for baseball.

Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.

Photo Credits
Mike Keenan

If you go
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Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kissimmee
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kissimmee
About.com: http://orlando.about.com/od/government/p/osceolacounty.htm
Churches & Synagogues: http://fl.allpages.com/kissimmee/community-services/religious-organizations/
Houston Astros: http://houston.astros.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=hou
Detroit Tigers: http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=det
Visit Kissimmee: http://www.visitkissimmee.com/leisure/
i.seeKissimmee: http://i.seekissimmee.com/

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