“Oh Give Me A Home, Where The Buffalo Roam”

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking at January 20th with great trepidation. Boring Old Joe is going to take over the White House.

No-more insulting foreign countries or US military heroes. No more shredding of protocols and tradition.  No more hyperbole and lies. The Bully of the Bully Pulpit will take his last flight on Marine One and with it, bring down the curtain on so much of our daily drama.

Whether you love Trump or hate him, life is going to be very -extremely – boring without him. 

Looking to prepare for this major change, I decided to leave the comfort of my static life and do something I had never done before; risky times call for risky actions.

I spent the weekend at an RV park. 

RV’s, to me, had always been the hippos of the freeway, huffing up a hill in the passing lane and preventing me from even approaching the speed limit much less exercising my right to exceed it.

Usually, there would be an old man or woman in a baseball cap with both hands on the wheel staring serenely ahead and oblivious to my need to get somewhere…fast!

In a way, they remind me of the covered wagons of the early Americans except, where covered wagons usually had a horse tied to the back, RV’s have a car or boat. And instead of forming a circle at the end of the day to ward off attackers, RV’s form straight lines in RV parks, usually off a secondary highway and often near a stream or lake.

And they’re not wagons; they are mini apartments, with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms with hot and cold showers, and living rooms with TV’s and internet. They come in all sizes and colors, from the classic tear drop trailers of the 1930’s to the behemoth Winnebagos of today. 

RV parks are actually big housing tracts, where the houses come and go at will.

They come in all sizes and prices, from small, used ones at a few thousand dollars to huge, ritzy ones at half-a million and more. They have brand names that recall calmer times, like “Tropical”, “Solitude”, and “Bighorn”, and better times, like “Minnie” and “Thor” , the brand my friend owned.

“This Coach is a gift from our children… paid for with their inheritance” says a sign on one RV. The couple sitting in lawn chairs next to it nod as we chuckle. “Absolutely true”, she says.

Like RV’s, there are a variety of people in RV parks.

There is a couple in their 60’s, he with a German accent and she with a Hispanic lilt. He has left others in charge of his MD group in Illinois so he and his S.O. can roam for a few months. His RV is also a Thor, although not the same model. He shares a few tips he has learned about the vehicle and the lifestyle.

While we are chatting, two white haired people in motorized wheel chairs, ride by us and wave. 

On the one hand, this is a world I have never visited. On the other hand it is vaguely familiar. People are relaxed and happy, eager to interact without posturing or artifice, and instinctively considerate.  Although there are dogs everywhere, each one is leashed. Kids dash in and out and ride bikes as freely as they did before grownups filled their lives with playdates and after school activities. 

A movie star beautiful woman is walking her puppy. Her three kids run and laugh as she stops to chat. She and her husband had made a living with their food cart, but Covid killed their business, so they sold their house and now live out of their RV, where she home schools the kids and he works part time. 

We pet the puppy and ask its name. “Seven”, she says with a soft smile and explains he is named after an infant son who died seven years ago in a car accident.

Her candor speaks to a sense of community and trust rarely encountered between strangers in today’s world. Indeed, the whole park has the feel of an era when life was slower, when it provided real, not manufactured drama, but also gave us the breathing space to deal with it. 

President Biden may seem like a boring prospect, but after this weekend, boring seems pretty exciting right now.

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)