The Adventure Continues…
Two-Minute Friend At Ninety-Eight Degrees
― Krystle Kotara
Approximately ten miles from the laptop where I, moments prior, posted on the Pen To Paper Writers Circle Facebook group…
Since October 1st, I have driven over 2,500 miles, spent a week in southwest Arkansas parked next to a lake and went prospecting for quartz crystals twice.
Where is the last place you went on vacation?
…it dawned on me I have an internal conflict. Funny how those things crop up from time to time.
I’m not on vacation. This is my lifestyle. I have freedom and that concept (a year later) still wobbles. If I want to spent time in Texas, I can hitch my home to the truck and drive there. If the desire to step into the Atlantic Ocean and hunt for shark teeth with my sister in North Carolina, I wait for hurricane season to conclude and park at the nearby campground. Vacation – HA!
This lifestyle is providing me the opportunities to meet an abundance of two-minute friends that I would not have otherwise had the pleasure of meeting. Best part, unlike social media sites, I get to talk to them face-to-face and give them a hug if I want.
On my whirl-wind trip to the southwest region of Arkansas, it was not coincidence that I met Maggie (name changed for privacy) and her husband of more than twenty years. What a loving couple. And, I have Willie James to thank for the initial, break-the-ice conversation.
Maggie and her husband set up camp two sites up the hill from me. Both of us exited our home on wheels at similar times to walk our dogs. Her fur baby is five years old, dainty and was not impressed with Willie James’ tenacious (and intense welcoming) attitude. No matter what we tried, her dog was not impressed nor wanted to be friends with Willie James.
Maggie sat on the asphalt slab at the campsite between us to pet Willie James. He bounced and climbed all over her lap and occasionally stretched up to lick her face.
I learned she was from Texas, and she found out I’m from Michigan. The ninety-eight degree temperature of the day prior was one of the casual topics, the beauty of the lakeside views was another and then we found something that brought us closer as moms – our sons.
Maggie shared with me the reason they bought their camper was to be near their twenty-something year old son while he underwent treatment for a brain tumor. The hospital he was admitted to has a campground for family members of patients to stay with full hook-ups for free while their, in their case, son was undergoing treatment and a registered patient. They took time away from their business and lived next to the hospital for three or four months.
My compassionate heart reached out to hers as I listened to how he found out about the cancer, how he told his parents and that he’s been in remission for over a year and a half. Maggie explained how his employer is working with him as he adjusts to life of being blind. What a blessing it is that they are accommodating to his needs.
“Life is full of adjustments,” was a phrase I used somewhere in the dialog moments before I told her about my oldest son’s suicide. Now it was my turn to bare a bit of my soul.
Earlier Maggie asked if I was retired or if I worked from the road (thank goodness she added the second part of the phrase). I have found that telling strangers I decided to sell off everything and travel for a couple of years is easier on my heart than explaining the “why”. Well, Maggie learned the backstory to why I’m traveling.
We both reached a point where a shift in topics was necessary. I took the opportunity to share I was looking to upgrade to a larger camper. We walked up to hers and she and her husband gave me a tour of theirs. He, in all his kindness, made sure I knew what look for when I purchase my next home. Their home-on-wheels is roomier than mine with a walk around bed versus the bed crammed sideways at the front end. A walk around bed. Oh, to be able to get out of either side of my bed versus the one. Oh my… That immediately went on my want list.
Our time together was abruptly interrupted when I found myself getting bitten by fire ants! Holy cow those little buggers have a painful bite! But, then I guess if someone was standing on my home, I’d bite too.
That afternoon, I made a lifelong friend that lasted several hours. After I pulled out of the campground to head back north, I kicked myself for not connecting with her on social media or even letting her know that she could follow Willie James’ story via this blog series. A lesson I will not forget as I continue living location to location.
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
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