The RV Chronicles — Getting there is the hard part

There are hundreds and thousands of people who make most of their memories via the recreational vehicle, or box camper.  In my 40-some-odd years, I couldn’t be counted among those folks … until now.

Some background info
Little more than a week ago, I was minding my own business watching NCIS reruns when the phone rang. I was offered a position that I have long coveted in oneRV of the few areas of the southeastern U.S. in which I truly want to live. Fortunately, my employers were kind enough to let me out of a contract to seek greener pastures. But, we’d just wrapped up a kitchen overhaul and a $30,000 ‘man cave’ addition to our Chestnut Lane home. Oh well.

So, my bride bought a 32-foot RV — sight unseen — in a faraway town somewhere near Ft. Worth and told me I’d be living in it until she could sell our house and join me to find some permanent digs. Keep in mind that the only truck we own might pull a large boat. Thankfully, a very good friend of ours hauled this massive piece of aluminum back to my home (we owe him big time, though he’ll refuse). Someone else was nice enough to pull it to the Texas coast for us. And now here, in a bedroom the size of my closet, I reside.

My new and unexpected life

You pick it out and they fry it up at Pier 8. Delicious. Probably a place I should avoid.

You pick it out and they fry it up at Pier 8.
Delicious and probably a place I should avoid.

If you know me, you realize that my first charge was to scope out the nearby grocery stores, pizza parlors and Tex-Mex joints. I’m off to a good start in all three areas. Plus, I already know of a couple of Chinese restaurants and gas stations to avoid. I still need to find a place that offers a decent haircut, as well as someone who understands that light starch means light starch. But in the mean time, I’ve discovered that there’s a ‘gentleman’s’ club at the end of my street, with an adult ‘novelty’ store directly to its north. How convenient that they also have rear parking, so as to assist the ‘gentlemen’ patrons from being spotted.

Though the job is everything it was cracked up to be, and fresh seafood markets and craft beer stores abound, my greatest pleasure thus far has come from the most unexpected of places.

‘Hey man, just drop that in my truck. I’m headed there,’ the stranger told me as I walked toward the Dumpster in my RV park.

‘Ah, thanks,’ I responded ‘but I need the exercise.’

As I approached the large receptacle, he had already backed his truck and was tossing away scraps of lumber. I carried only a couple of small trash bags from my RV and a folded pizza box.

‘Hey, thanks for that,’ I said as I approached. ‘I just need my exercise. I’m Adam,’ I announced, as I extended my hand.

‘Nice to meet you,’ he responded.

Then the conversation began between a man wearing a ‘wife-beater,’ mirrored shades and a beige do-rag, and a guy with parted hair, designer glasses and $50 flip-flops.

‘Man, you might like this area, but I like working in the small towns,’ he said. ‘These big city folks just don’t have no damn sense.’

We talked a little about his Louisiana hometown and the fact that he worked the lignite mines for several years near my old homestead.  When the conversation was over, he let me know that if I ever need anything to let him know. And he was sincere.

A few minutes prior I met the next-door neighbor. He sports a decal on his truck that reads ‘Came for the cash … I’m oilfield trash.’

‘Hi, I’m Adam,’ I said as he exited his truck with a loaf of white bread and a dirty laptop computer. ‘I see that you’re from Mississippi … where Mr. D. serves the world’s best fried chicken.’

‘Howdy,’ he responded, ‘I’m Jason and you would have to mention fried chicken.’

As it turns out, my neighbor was in the hospital for the previous few days with gallbladder issues.

‘I love me some fried chicken,’ he told me, ‘but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let some sumbitch doctor cut on me. I have to get rid of that stuff from my diet. That, and mashed taters and gravy … and all the stuff that’s worth living for.’

Jason went on to tell me that he never locks his door (even when he’s gone for days at a time) and to help myself to anything he has.  Another neighbor has already promised me a lesson in making real barbacoa and tamales, and then there was the lady who moved our laundry and fed the machine her own money  — refusing to accept repayment.

Yep. A nice beer find.

Yep. A nice beer find.

As I log onto the Internet at 5 each morning and read several news sources, I see all kinds of evidence that the human spirit has gone awry. But not here.

I expected to arrive and be a stranger to all of these travelers. But, lucky for me, they’ll not have anything of the sort. Sure, I will eventually move into a subdivision where people will glance out their windows and avoid the new family with the Prius’s and mixed breed dogs. Those same people will wave and throw a plastic smile as they pass by my home in their SUVs. With all of that, I predict that I’ll still somehow be extremely happy that I’ve traded aluminum siding for brick and mortar.

And I’m not sure why.

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Comments

  1. I have always loved those folks who live on the fringe – just regular folks who are so much more interesting than the homogenized people who live in my cul-de-sac…………with whom we never speak unless watching a tornado or fire. I predict you will love your neighbors as they come and go and you will learn many cool things from them as well as teaching them a thing or two in the deal! :)

    • adamjholland says:

      I guess I’ve been the guilty one in the cul de sac. This is similar to discovering a new favorite food that was there all along. I plan to not go hungry at this new table though. ;-)

  2. Sounds like a grand beginning to a wonderful adventure. Nice to hear about people like this. Makes you want to emulate them and treat others properly even more than before. There is good in doing good.

    • adamjholland says:

      Indeed, Jill. I confess though that I blocked out a Mercedes Benz coupe (with an angry driver) in traffic yesterday. He was trying to pass everyone and riding bumpers, so I decided to make life inconvenient for him. (He eventually got by and then sped down the highway at 100 mph.)

  3. Sounds like you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting such really cool people, Adam! I’m so glad you’re loving the new job, and I hope your wife is able to sell the home quickly so you guys can be reunited. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing what your latest foodie finds are! :)

    • adamjholland says:

      I’m not sure that it’s a comfort zone thing, but it’s definitely a zone thing. The only time I’ve ever been in a ‘community’ even remotely similar to this was during my days as a Boy Scout, at camporees and such. Despite that everyone has satellite dish receivers, electricity and high-tech campers, this sort of feels old school.

  4. There are still good people out there. They don’t get the media time they deserve and they don’t always look the way we expect. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading!

  5. ahhh… let the Trailer park adventures begin! I’m really looking forward to your new stories Adam.

  6. I’ve somehow lost track of your blog, but I’m back now and going through some history. We love vacationing in an RV (the ones you can drive), but I start missing my kitchen pretty soon…

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