Perhaps the most telling sign that our imminent summer move northward is getting closer is the state of our dining room table. It becomes a staging area for numerous odds and ends that are "going to go into the bus."
There is no real pattern. You'll find dog chewys, Frogmore stew spices and some new shorts that I'm not allowed to wear yet. Not shown are two clothes baskets full of bedding and stuff. Since the loading of the bus is like moving into a furnished apartment, we old farts spread the process over several weeks. I'll pick it up on Wednesday, park it in the driveway and plug it in. We can't start the refrigerator because the driveway is not level enough. I'll park it curbside for the last day to give the refrigerator time to pull down to temperature. Cindy will be a great help, and Mark will get here two days before we depart. We are looking forward to escaping the heat and humidity of Charleston and reconnecting with all our camping friends in Maine.
In thinking about those camping friends I have recently spent some time thinking about our many friendships. We all have many categories of friends and family. Durelle and I no longer have any aunts and uncles, but we each have a sibling, assorted cousins, two kids and a burgeoning assortment of descendants. We are just as close to the ****-in -laws. But beyond family, there are college classmates with whom we have stayed in touch for six decades and some high school classmates for even longer. There are friends from many Air Force assignments and from the post USAF career. There are neighbors, though they come and go more often. Many of you count close friends from church activities. In a separate category is Estelle Anderson, the neighboring teenager who carried baby Durelle into the house when she and her mother came home from the hospital. Then there is that special category of camping friends. It is not the scenery or the adventuresome cuisines that sets the RVing lifestyle apart. It is the almost instant camaraderie that forms when another rig pulls into the adjacent site and asks, "Where are you from?"
We have been fortunate, over the last decade (+) to have spent a large part of each summer camped on the edge of Penobscot Bay in the mid-coast of Maine. For most of that time there have been six to eight couples that have been equally regular inhabitants. It frightens me to think that without the RV we would have never met. It frightens me because these several friendships seem a little closer than all the rest. While we do have some things in common, we are a pretty eclectic group with a variety of traditions and interests. Nonetheless, there is a special bond here, and it gives me pause because this may be our last summer there.
On a lighter note, here is a picture of a picture.
Melissa Cloutier Zotos sent many nice pictures of our second great-granddaughter, Madeleine, from Sydney, Australia. Our daughter, Cindy, selected one and had it converted into thousand piece picture puzzle. Because of large blocks of solid color, it took Durelle many hours to finish it. Now she does not want to disassemble it.