April Showers and Birthday Flowers

We planned to visit Jon’s mother in the St. Louis area for his birthday weekend, but a bedbug infestation forced us to postpone our visit. Still, we used our vacation days for a long weekend at our favorite backyard park.

The weekend weather forecast called for a major rain event. Fortunately, the rain held off until Sunday, allowing us Thursday, Friday and Saturday night cookouts and campfires under starlit skies.

During one walk, we encountered a camp volunteer, who told us about the volunteer program. In exchange for 21 hours of service per week, volunteers can stay at the camp free of charge. It sounded intriguing. We could sell our house, liquidate our assets, seriously downsize and take up residence in the Airstream at the park. We could still join our Airstream group for occasional rallies; still take longer excursions to our national parks throughout the year; and still enjoy all the benefits of our favorite park. We could upsize to a 30-foot trailer and outfit the wardrobe with a washer/dryer combo. Cliff could even rent office space nearby, if we couldn’t secure a landline for his work requirements, and we’d still realize considerable savings–and spending power. It all sounded so alluring.

But then we drove through the “compound,” a restricted-access area exclusively for camp volunteers. Unlike the regular camping loops, which have paved streets and sites, it had only gravel roads and grass sites. And very few trees. We found the lack of trees and infrastructure particularly disconcerting. It wasn’t that the park managers had cut down any trees, it was that they hadn’t planted any in the first place. Like many camp managers, they may have feared that the trees’ root systems would threaten the sewer lines that crisscross the site. Moreover, the majority of travel trailers clearly hadn’t been moved for years, making it more “trailer park” than camp compound. Many sites were cluttered with abandoned vehicles, dilapidated sheds, car canopies and yard art. Apparently, the camp volunteers forgot that their rigs were designed for recreation, not permanent habitation.

The thought of leaving our beloved Hampshire and all the conveniences of city living soon got the better of us. We still dream of a life on the road, but the emphasis is on “the road,” not some trailer park that lies, forgotten and forlorn, at the edge of paradise.

Sunday turned into a “rain event,” as promised, so we spent most of the day relaxing in Cloud 9. Our typical Sunday routine consists of watching “CBS Sunday Morning,” reading The New York Times, catching up on Facebook and enjoying a Bloody Mary (or two). Because it was Jon’s birthday, Cliff prepared slow-cooked beef short ribs while Jon took several birthday calls from family and friends. After dinner we watched “The Good Wife” and took a long walk, hand in hand, in the damp, cool evening.

Heavy rain, lightning and thunder provided our music of the night, but by Monday morning all had moved east. A morning spent walking the dogs, blogging and tending to minor details related to our jobs soon gave way to brunch and departure.