The road called (road calls are not blocked in retirement), and my grandson Cody and I answered. We loaded up the ol’ RV and hit the road.
As we headed out on a corn-field-lined country road, early on Thursday morning, we were distracted from the pastoral beauty by the sound of a small plane’s motor. The corn stood about half as tall as our RV. We became concerned as the distance between our heads, the top of the RV and the bottom of the plane became narrower and narrower. After narrowly missing us, the plane continued its descent and appeared to roll across the tops of the corn stalks. As the bottom of the plane met the top of the corn, the plane began to loose its powdered pesticide. Cody and I closed the windows on the RV. Our trip was off to an exciting, if somewhat toxic, start.
We were comforted and concerned following our close encounter with the crop duster by our knowledge that the crop was well dusted . We were comforted by the fact that we were still alive, and concerned that humans may be among the pests targeted by the crop-duster-dispensed pesticide. In the spirit of summer vacation optimism, we continued along the country road towards our camping destination. As we approached the crossroad, we spotted a pick-up truck in the fringes of the corn field, with a man standing in the bed of the truck, and a rifle resting on the hood of the cab. He didn’t shoot at us, but I have to say, that I don’t remember camping trips of my childhood as being this hazard filled. Cody’s childhood memories are going to be much different from mine.
As we continued towards our destination of Clayton Lake State Park, we encountered, but happily not closely, a lot of animal life. We saw many, many, many cows; many, many horses; billions of bunnies, a few handfuls of antelope; two alpaca; two burros and two squashed skunks (let us bow our heads). Our wildlife spotting did not include any more rifle toting, redneck, pick-up drivers.
We broke our trip, to prepare sandwiches, and then continued North towards our destination. It was a long drive. Cody was in agreement with this distance determination. After one or two wrong turns (we came to understand why the road less traveled is traveled less), we pulled into our reserved lakeside camp site. It was beautiful and well worth the hazard-filled, lengthy drive.
Our campsite neighbors were a lovely couple who are raising their grandson. They were working to squeeze one more adventure into the summer before their grandson returned to school. Their campsite was well appointed with mosquito netting, rugs, American flags and decorated with brightly-colored paper lanterns. They were generous and gracious. They offered the use of citronella candles as they watched Cody and me swat at flies and other small flying insects. They even invited Cody to go fishing with the grandpa and grandson. The grandmother, originally from El Salvador, told Cody that Grandpa would help him to bate his line, and to have fun. After the menfolk headed down to the water, Margarita (just like the drink she told me) and I, discussed our mutual love of the traditional El Salvadorian dish: papusas. It was a very good morning despite the fact that no fish were hooked.
While the drive was lengthy, the trip was short, so Cody and I loaded up, waved good bye to our new friends, and hit the road heading home. Our trip home included more wrong turns. One took us through the small (that does not adequately describe the size of the town – it was very small) town of Roy, NM. Cody had been reading a graphic novel about the undead, when the roadside scenery was uninspiring. He felt that Roy was just the type of town that might be inhabited by the undead. His fears were simultaneously confirmed and alleviated when we turned a corner and saw a large mural painted on the side of a building proclaiming Roy’s claim to fame as the former home of the founder of Country Swing music, Bob Wills. To those of us who enjoyed the resurgence of Country Swing in the seventies, Bob Wills lives on, making him undead in my book.
We rolled into Cody’s family’s driveway at about 5 p.m. on Friday. I love that retirement provides me with more time to spend with my grandchildren, I just hope that spending more time with me doesn’t give them nightmares.