Thursday, March 26, 2009



I'm fast approaching my 69th birthday. What the heck? I'm not upset about this, I'm simply amazed, and curious. I don't FEEL 69, but then -- how is a 69-year-old supposed to feel, anyway? I think I stopped feeling older somewhere in my mid forties.

I think 69 says "hey, I've been here longer than you, Pal, so quit your griping." I think it says "I've paid my dues, now I no longer have to care what others think." "I'll do what I darn well please, thank you very much." I like the fact that people exclaim "oh, you can't be THAT old." I laugh when my younger friends say, "let Jeanne do it, she can still bend."

Several years ago I wrote a tribute to aging:

I look in the mirror and what do I see? An older, grayer, wrinkled me! Age has its own beauty, so I’ve been told and we have nothing to fear in growing old.

I tend to agree, there’s nothing to hide; the wrinkles and bags are only outside. I’ve known this truth for many years, and the inside of me laughs at all those fears.

Sometimes I sag and my old bones creak, and I wish to be kind of young and sleek, just a little while longer, I’ve sometimes said in charming sweet dreams in my old head.

The truth be known, it’s freedom I seek, and I get closer with each passing week; nail polish was tossed a long time ago, hair color rejected as frivolous show.

Debt is no friend, and I long for the end of those monthly payments I dutifully send. I’m now quite convinced I have all I need and less is more, so I’ve been freed!

Youth doesn’t leave, it just hides itself, like a mischievous imp up on a shelf waiting with glee for someone to see its delightful, insightful energy!

Older is wiser? Yes, sirree --- Older has seen life’s misery and won’t collapse on aging knee, because older knows just how to be in tune with all the ups and downs, accepting all the smiles and frowns.

In peace, in trust, in harmony, Older dances with the clowns, Happily!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Many years ago I had a fantasy involving myself, my three brothers, my sister, and our respective families, all living on a large plot of land as a kind of family commune. We would share the tasks of vegetable gardening, raising chickens, housekeeping, babysitting, building maintenance, and working outside the home. All of our children would develop strong bonds to one another and would share in the communal chores. My fantasy never materialized, and we're now spread out all over the country.

I was talking to a friend about my fantasy, and found out he, too, would love to be surrounded by his own family in a similar way. Then he said "but that isn't the American way of life." Hmmm. How sad. I know it used to be, but that was "back in the day" I reckon. Time marches on. Things change. We're pulled in different directions for all kinds of different reasons. Greener grass somewhere else tugs at the restless feet of the young adults as they leave the nest, eager to strike out on their own. I don't see anything wrong with that either. I guess it just is what it is. Still, as rare as it seems to be, the extended family living and working in close proximity, is a thing of beauty.

My fantasy is probably a distant memory of one of my previous lives that was particularly enjoyable!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I guess I’m not the “typical” fulltime rv’er. I don’t wander from place to place, I don’t have new experiences in places I’ve never been before; I don’t have a photo album of a thousand wonderful sights I’ve never seen before. I simply go to the same place every spring and stay there until the end of fall. Then I go to my home state, to the same place, and have basically the same relaxing winter experience every year. Nonetheless, I’m in love with my life.

I’m in love with the Hagerstown Maryland part of the country. I’m in deep love with the gardens I tend in this campground that I‘m in love with, I love the owners and their kids and grandkids, I love my co-workers, I love seeing the “regular” campers that return every year, and oh, boy I really love meeting new folks that come to the campground each year.

I arrived in Maryland a few days ago. I spent delicious hours setting up my summer homestead, putting up my little fence so Panda can be outdoors but not tied up, putting out my awning, arranging my patio furniture, stocking up my empty larder, walking around and surveying my garden kingdom, making mental notes about what needs to be done and what should be done first.

The truth is, I don’t have to travel to unknown parts to see things I’ve never seen before: that happens here all the time -- my first ever sighting of an oriole; my delight seeing a birdhouse inhabited, smack in the middle of our mini golf course; a little grey bunny scurrying from our veggie garden. I take pictures of plants that are new here this year, and of gardens that have just been created, or changed. Every year brings new friendships and old friendship renewals.

Someday I will spend my time traveling to parts unknown; just not yet, because -- wow, my life is just so perfect today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Considering how seldom I'm actually "on the road" it feels good to say it. I'm enroute to my "summer home" in Williamsport MD. This will be my third season working at the campground, but the first time I'm taking six days to get there.

In previous years I'd take three days to get to Richmond, stay there and visit kids, then a half day to the end destination. This year I decided to bypass Richmond and take a different route. And take it easy. I can sleep late, drive leisurely (that means let everyone in the world pass me by), stop as often as I want to for a doggie walk or food break or just because, arrive early at my overnight stop, and relax for many hours before bedtime.

When I get to my campground I'll put Willie Nelson away until next fall when I'll be on the road again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Yep, for me at least! Every March, when spring has come full force to south Louisiana, I delight in the buds and the flowering trees and all the azaleas; I watch folks cutting their grass, I walk through garden centers and salivate at all the bedding plants.

Then I drive to northwest Maryland (Hagerstown area) and I'm smack dab in the middle of winter's end, where the lows are in the 20s or low 30s and the highs are just a bit above that; where the trees are still winter skeletons and you can actually see clear to the other side of the woods. The upside of this is that I get to experience spring all over again, and it usually lasts longer than the southern spring.

The same thing happens to my falls: first in Maryland, September through October, then in Louisiana beginning in November. This year southwest Louisiana didn't even have winter, so it was a four-month fall.

What a life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Some people say that we should keep our expectations low so we won't be disappointed. When I realized that my expectations have almost always been met, I decided to raise my expectations and not give voice or thought to any negative ones. Sometimes that's really hard to do --- especially when I'm with people who have a habit of voicing the negative.

I have some really good friends who tend toward the negative, but I love them anyway. I guess that's because, behind the apparent negativity, I see wonderful attributes that are worthy of my respect. My good-but-negative friends don't have a negative effect on me because I know and love them. So what do I do with the negative strangers?!? I really don't like to argue and I refuse to confront; I just remain pleasant and change the subject. It may be cowardly, but I sure do sleep well at night!

A lot of words to just say, my expectations are always positive, and it sure pays off!

Monday, March 2, 2009


I've been sitting here in sunny, warm, southwest Louisiana since Mid-November. Wearing mostly summer clothes and sandals. Now it's time to start packing all that stuff away and making sure the winter clothes are handy, because in four days I'll be heading north where it's still winter!

Departure time always sneaks up on me. Wow! Only four more days! I gotta get some good red beans and rice before I leave, gotta stock up on Community Coffee, too. I have to air up my tires, check propane, wash the front of my trailer, stow/secure the loose items, pack up the truck bed, and double check my checklist so I don't forget anything.

My warm winter sojourn is always a nice change of pace from my summer work; I get lazy and enjoy the heck out of that; staying up late at night, sleeping until late morning; not so much on TV so books get read and one even gets written; my winter host feeds me 'way too much good food and I'm overall spoiled rotten.

In spite of all this, It never fails: once I'm on the road I feel exhilarated and eager to move forward. The part of me that craves hard physical activity beckons, and I'm anxious to begin again the garden renewal.

It's going to take me exactly seven days to get where I'm going because I'm making a stop along the way to visit my son. If I'm lucky, in those seven days winter will be magically whisked away by the time I arrive in Maryland. Hah! It hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it can't happen, right?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I may be broad-stroking this, and someone's going to be offended, but . . . there really are two kinds of campers.

The first kind is the "true" camper. This group reads the campground rules and adheres to them; they keep their dogs on leash, they pick up after their dogs (scoop poop), they know where their kids are and what they're doing. They've taught their kids the campground etiquette of not taking shortcuts through another's campsite; they've taught them to respect others' property. Some of them even have taught their kids to say "yes ma'am". When these campers leave, there are no cigarette butts and candy wrappers on the ground, and no leftover food thrown into the firepit. The campsite is clean. Man, these campers are SO MUCH APPRECIATED by everyone!

The others appear to be "motel" campers. They're expecting maid service to clean up after them, so they make no effort to that end. Their campsite is littered and the campground becomes the babysitter: kids are sent to the pool or the game room or the playground or just away. Then the parents can get out the beer and just relax, because that's what camping's all about, right? One 12-year-old was overheard saying (about some playground equipment) "so what if I break it? It's not mine!" When night rolls around, these campers party into the wee hours, some drinking too much and playing really loud music -- even though the rules specify quiet time, usually around 10pm or so.

There are lots of "motel" campers that don't have kids, they have dogs. Some of these dogs aren't leashed because "oh, he doesn't wander. . . wouldn't hurt a flea". When these campers walk their dog, they never, ever notice that Fido has deposited a large, nasty pile, so the pile remains for someone to walk through. These campers will leave the dog at the campsite, tied up and barking for many hours, while they go sightseeing.

When these campers are reminded of the rules, their indignation is surpassed only by their incredible response: "Rules? What rules?" Duh, the ones prominently posted in our office, or in the brochure you were given when you registered.

However happy we might be to see our motel campers leave, we heave a big sigh because we know what's in store for us at their campsite: cigarette butts, candy wrappers, chicken bones, beer can tabs, and last night's leftovers in the firepit.

I worship the ground walked upon by the first kind of camper.