On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 24, 2018:

IMG_1717Several times lately I’ve written about our motor home, and since this was one of those “I-got-nothin” weeks, I thought I’d share a short excerpt from my memoir about how we came to own it. If you don’t recognize some of the location references, that’s because this happened in 2007, and we were living in Florida at the time.

About two months ago, David and I bought our first RV. We tried not to buy it—we really did! We spent weeks shopping and developing an extensive wish list: diesel pusher, side radiator, light wood interior, double-door refrigerator, computer desk, and then some.

Then, our salesman called.

“I know you’re not ready to buy yet,” he said, “but I have a trade-in that sounds perfect. Another customer has first right of refusal, but I’d like to email you some pictures. Would that be okay?”

“Let me get my list,” I said.

I went down the list item by item. “Does it have a computer desk?”

“Yes.”

“Light wood?”

“Yes.”

The answer was affirmative to every item. I couldn’t help but be a little bit excited.

“Okay. Send some pictures. It won’t hurt to look.” And it didn’t. It was beautiful.

It also didn’t hurt to put down a five hundred dollar, fully refundable deposit to secure

David inside the RV

Moving in.

second place on the waiting list. Then, when the first customer chose another RV, it didn’t hurt to apply for financing. When our application was approved, it hurt a little to see the amount owed, but we signed on the dotted line anyway. Just like that, we became the proud owners of an eight-year-old, forty-foot American Eagle motor home with everything including a kitchen sink.

We took delivery on a Friday and spent our first two nights as RV owners at Rally Park, an RV campground next to the dealership. We took to the gypsy life like we were born on the road. I felt like I was playing house in the tiny kitchen, and David found lots of toys to play with as he explored the workings of the awnings, the generator, and all those other guy things.

Rainy Day GamesMom and Dad joined us for our second night, and although they were rarely enthusiastic about much except nap time and ice cream, they seemed enthusiastic about this experience. It went so well that we wanted to do it again as soon as possible.

Over the next few weeks, we returned to Rally Park a couple of times, and one weekend we ventured north a few miles to O’Leno State Park. We were beginning to feel like real pros, and I decided it was time for us to take it on the road for more than a day or two.

“David, we’ve talked about taking the coach to Anastasia State Park for a few days. What would you think about extending that trip a little bit?”

“Sounds good to me. How long did you have in mind?”

“About seven weeks.”

Met with an incredulous silence, I hurried on: “We could stay at Anastasia for a few daysWe like it! and then head west. We could stop in Louisiana to visit with your family and then go to Texas to visit with family and friends.”

His interest seemed piqued, so I continued. “We could go to Colorado and visit the kids. From there we could go to Missouri to visit Jim, and then maybe Mom and Dad could stay with him for a week or so, while we drive back home on our own. They could fly back to Tampa once we’re back.”

“That sounds great,” he said, “but what about your job?” We were both retired, but I still worked twelve hours a week at the counseling center at church.

“I’ll talk to Pastor Henry,” I said. “He knows our caregiving situation and knows we need a break. Maybe he can find someone to fill in for me.”

David had no more objections, and the decision was made. Praying that we weren’t planning a disaster instead of a vacation, I took an extended leave of absence, and we started making preparations. D-Day (date of departure) was set.

In the rest of the chapter, I went on to describe the complications of preparing for an extended trip while dealing with two senior citizens with Alzheimer’s. In spite of mishaps, storms, frustrations, and disappointments, it was a wonderful trip. We took a couple of longer trips and lots of shorter ones over the next few years. The last trip was in July of 2011, a few months after we moved to Emory. That’s way too long, and it’s time to hit the road again.

Blessings,

Linda

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