I met Brent and Sharon Harmon in early 2007 when David and I first got serious about the RV lifestyle. I’m not sure how our interest was first piqued. The first thing I remember is David showing me a luxury motorhome on his computer. It sported a mid-six figure price tag, and we laughed over the impossibility of owning one as we oohed and aahed over the fancy, tricked-out bus.
Not long after that, we were spending a beautiful Florida afternoon on the Harley, and we passed an RV dealership. The unit in the front of the lot had a price tag that was much lower than the one on the Internet. When we got home, I told David about it, and we were hooked. For the next several weeks, our motorcycle outings took on a purpose other than giving us a break from caregiving duties. We visited every RV dealership close to home, making notes of what we liked and what we didn’t, and then we expanded our search to nearby towns. It was fun and exciting, but we told ourselves we were just looking – then we visited the Lazydays RV Supercenter in Seffner.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Lazydays, it’s the Disneyland of RV dealerships. It has acres of RVs ranging from tiny pop-up trailers to luxurious coaches, and it offers lots of perks for customers, the best of which is a staff of experienced sales consultants. When we walked in, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist. She took our names and asked a couple of questions, and then she called the salesman who was next up on the rotation. It was Brent.
Brent loved people and he loved his job, and it showed. He had a friendly, easy-going manner that put even the greenest novice at ease, and he shared his extensive knowledge without a hint of condescension. After that first visit we went back again and again. Regardless of how busy he was, he was never too busy for a cheerful hello and a warm hug. And if he was with another customer, we visited with his wife Sharon, also a Lazydays sales consultant. Both of them spent hours driving us around the lot in a golf cart, showing us all the options. They answered endless questions and asked many of their own, helping us create a picture of what we wanted. And then they found it for us.
We went in just looking, and we found the perfect RV. In the process, we found two wonderful friends. Over the next few years, we visited Lazydays often, sometimes to see what was new on the lot, but more often to have lunch with Brent and Sharon. We talked not just about RVs, but also about other things we loved: dogs and horses, kids and grandkids, the stock market, and God. We shared stories about our travels, and they encouraged us to trade up so they could buy our RV which they liked almost as much as we did. We planned the trips we would take together when they retired and David and I were no longer caregivers. And then Brent got sick.
It was just a small spot under his toenail, but in one of those why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people chains of events, it became stage four lung cancer. Sharon scoured the Internet and became an expert on all the latest drug trials, and Brent defied medical science, living long beyond to doctors’ expectations. Between tests and treatments and doctor visits, they made the most of their time. Sharon continued to work at Lazydays during the busy season, and the rest of the year they traveled in their little motorhome. They visited friends and family, they attended car shows, and they enjoyed life and each other.
We got a call from Sharon shortly after we moved back to Texas. She and Brent were at M.D.Anderson in Houston for another trial. He was between treatments and was bored, and they wanted to come for a visit. We were delighted. We were still re-habbing our home from some less than responsible tenants, so Sharon and Brent parked their RV behind the house and asked what they could do to help. In the next few days, we repaired and painted the front porch, we replaced the baseboards that had been removed to lay new floor tile, and we ran wiring for an RV hook-up. Brent worked when he felt like it, and he rested when he needed to, but he never lost his smile or his positive attitude.
Since that visit, we’ve kept in touch by phone and Facebook – and we’ve prayed for healing. God answers prayers, but His healing doesn’t always take place here on Earth. Brent died yesterday. He lost his earthly battle with cancer, but he won his eternal race and is at home with his heavenly Father. We’ll all miss him terribly – Sharon most of all – but he’ll have some really special stories to share the next time we meet. I wonder if, instead of a mansion, he found that perfect motorhome waiting for him.