SPORTS & MORE: 102-YR-OLD PIANIST PLAYS ‘JUST 1 MORE SONG’

Flora Rueda, who’s 102, plays piano for residents at Poinciana Gardens. RALPH MORROW/Keys Weekly

Where I live, every once in a while, there’s entertainment provided for the residents. We had a comedian a while back. Then last week, the rarely used piano in our lobby had a player occupying its bench. And how. 

Residents filled the lobby for the visiting pianist. I guess we’re big on piano tunes.

I introduced myself to Flora Rueda, whose age, I had heard, was in the triple digits. 

“102,” she said in answer to my inquiry. “I was born in 1920.”

Fellow listener Mary Ann Clare said she had heard Rueda play many years ago. (Well, not so many years, as Mary Ann told me she’s only 77.)

Most of us who fill the apartments love the music of 1950 and upward. And that’s what Mrs. Rueda played. Peter Batty, who’s on our board of directors, had brought her over. He kept saying, “Play one more and then we’ll go in for lunch.” 

But Rueda wasn’t having any of it. She had a crowd and she wasn’t losing it. 

She would play a song and then ask if we knew it. Some we did and some we didn’t. My friends, March and Sharon, sat on a bench next to the piano. And Mrs. Rueda addressed many of her remarks to them, so they had trouble making an exit. Despite a few requests, Rueda pretty much kept to her playlist, which she had written on index cards, the song titles printed neatly in her own hand.

After a while, the crowd started drifting out of the lobby and into the dining room, where they could still hear her music during the lunch hour. She didn’t seem to mind. Our pianist continued playing, happy that a few of us were still listening and applauding. Finally, Peter Batty said it was definitely “one more and then lunch.”

But she wasn’t there for lunch. Rueda finished her “one more” and said her goodbyes, leaving a crowd of listeners very happy.

THE MIAMI DOLPHINS opened their preseason on Aug. 13 in Tampa Bay. They won their first competition under new coach Mike McDaniel, 26-24, when Tampa Bay placekicker Jose Borregales’ 49-yard field goal attempt in the last second bounced off an upright. Otherwise, the Buccaneers would have won under their new coach, Todd Bowles.

Of course, a month from now, when the real season starts, we’ll have forgotten all about this game.

Last Saturday, Skylar Thompson, the Dolphins’ third-string quarterback from Kansas State, who was drafted in the seventh round, probably solidified his spot on the practice squad. He played the whole game. Starter Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t in uniform and second-string QB Teddy Bridgewater was in uniform, but didn’t play. Thompson completed 20 of 28 pass attempts, one for a touchdown, with no interceptions. If Tagovailoa has those numbers during the regular season, we’ll be applauding a lot louder than we did for Thompson. Twenty or so other Dolphins starters did not dress for the game, as well as a similar number of Buccaneers. 

Miami kicker Jason Sanders made field goals of 33, 52, 23 and 53 yards and all of his extra points. Lynn Bowden, no better than the fifth receiver, caught a 22-yard pass for a touchdown, while linebacker Sam Eguayoen picked up a Buccaneer fumble and ran it 32 yards for the Dolphins’ second TD.

Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady was missing as anticipated while he tends to a personal matter for the next few weeks.

The goal, even bigger than a positive final score, was to get through the game without injuries.

Miami’s second-year cornerback Trill Williams injured his left knee in the final minutes and had to be carried from the field with what proved to be a torn ACL. There goes his season. It was Miami’s only injury of the game.

The Dolphins have two more games that don’t count — against Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 in Miami, and the following Saturday, Aug. 27 against Philadelphia, also at Miami.

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Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.