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Observations of an RV Park

The NO Princess Palace under the pecan trees

The NO Princess Palace under the pecan trees

Second week of being displaced against my will from the Puckerbrush and the giddy high of the escape has been replaced with the realization there will be no paycheck electronically transferred into my account on Thursday.  I had months to plan out the inevitable job upheaval and I thought I had it well in hand.  I had stocked up on supplies while the getting was good.  UPS Charlie was a weekly regular there toward the last.  I picked up several bowling type items in the past six months solely for barter/trade/sale.  When I am working that angle I troll the various online for-sale venues just like a real job and it paid off with some tasty bargains.  As with all things though, the best laid plans seem to go awry the minute they see implementation.

The dentist is a perfect example.  I had dental work as numero uno priority as soon as my gate guard duties were put by.  No gettin’ around it; have to case.  I researched slipping across the Rio Grande at Del Rio or Laredo to get some cheap work done by a Mexican dentist.  When it got down to nut cuttin’ time, I just didn’t have the nerve to trip across the border.  Plain and simple.  I ended up in New Braunfels at a capable, no frills, all business dentist man who spoke English as a first language and a degree from USC.  I had a finite number of dollars allotted for his services plus an ample cushion.  I was in control and all set.  Lets’ get this thing done!

Tuco the Dog on vacay.

Tuco the Dog on vacay.

X-rays, mirrors in my mouth, questions asked and answers noted.   Doctor V. comes out and says ‘You want the good news or bad news?’  I hate crap like that!  The good news was he could get everything I needed done in a one day marathon.  Bad news was his fee was 3X my budget.  Oh I know, I know there is always an up sell.  When you get your oil changed they try to sell you an air filter.  When you buy a new TV at Best Buy, they peddle that extended warranty.  Looks like being a dentist man  is no different.  So we haggled and traded and went back and forth. He would cross somethings off the list and slide the new payment figure over and I would stand my ground.  It wasn’t easy; he was damned good.  All said and done,  we settled on services that exceeded my max allowable limit by $5 bucks.  A good part of the discount had to do with pain management and patient comfort.  it.  I could stand some hurt for a thousand bucks.  I had cause to revisit that statement over the course of the next few hours.  Done and done.  I survived and lived to talk about it. Move along, move along.

I got a phone call at 8pm that night.  I usually don’t answer calls I don’t know.  I answered this one.  “Is this Mr. Tough Guy?”  the caller asked.  It was Dr. V. checkin’ up on me to make sure I had made the trek back to the Pecan Grove and that everything was okey dokey.  He didn’t have to do that.   I would let him stick his fingers in my mouth again.  I would recommend him to friends and neighbors.

The DTB with the propane tanks i a puzzlement to most.

The DTB with the propane tanks is a puzzlement to most.

With my ready cash reserve drawn dangerously low and the first of the month bills eating away at the little bit left, Tuco the Dog and me had a family meeting.  Tuco loves this place because there are new dog smells most every day.  The deer come out about dark every night for canine entertainment and the best part is there is an orange cat that lives in the dumpster.  If you whop the side of the container or throw a sack of garbage in, that cat comes streakin’ outta there like an orange laser beam.  Took Tuco about 3 visits to figure out I could initiate the fun. Now she sits and waits with pent anticipation for me to launch the cat.  Smart pup.  I love this place because it satisfies that Old School itch I got and it costs $14.28 a night.  Even so, that few dollars is drain on the bank and we must be movin’ along real shortly.

Being in an RV park amongst other RVers is fairly strange to the two of us.  Tuco the Dog is not the only one who strains against the unfamiliar leash.   There are a few folks here who were here when I arrived and then there are ones who seem to come and go every day or two.  Most of the transients are a talky bunch and the spot directly behind me seems reserved for those staying just a night or two at most.  As hard as I try,  I seem to get drawn into unasked conversation.

Golf Ball Memorial

Golf Ball Memorial

I knew I was due to pump water Friday evening. With the night temps into  the low 20’s for days  I was not running on city water hookups.  I procrastinated all day long and just about the time I finally geared up to go outside, a diesel coach with Arizona tags pulled in behind me.  As soon as the coach was leveled,  out popped Mr. and Mrs. in an obviously well honed routine.  Satellite cube out on the ground on a small piece of blue tarp,  table cloth on the picnic table and camp chairs arranged.  I was impressed.   They did a quick retreat back into the coach and emerged with a gaggle of pug dogs and red drink cups.  It was cool outside but bearable with a sweatshirt or light jacket.  Mrs. had on sweatshirt that said “I may be from Arizona but my heart belongs to Alabama.” ; also emblazoned with the Confederate Battle Flag.  I waited until the red cups were on the third refill and ventured out. I immediately got nailed by the Mrs.  who also sported dangly Confederate Flag earrings. Now that was different and I did my best not to stare. She was a loud and boisterous woman and carried on a conversation non-stop with hands, lotsa hands.  I would disappear around the edge of the NO Princess Palace attending to the water hose and return to the conversation which was still proceeding unabated and at full tilt. Being hard of hearing does have its’ advantages because if the conversation is uninteresting I find it easy to ignore.  I did catch enough bits and pieces to understand she was not a fan of our present administration in Washington.  I interjected a few ‘Those bastards!’ at what I could only guess was the appropriate times. She was still rattlin’ on when I said “Y’all have a good evening.’ and retreated.

Now here is the unusual part.  Remember me saying Mr. and Mrs. spread a tablecloth on the picnic table?  Well sir, there were 4 golf balls on that picnic table sitting horizontal in one of the board cracks when I pulled in.  With all the comings and goings and even after being displaced by a rebel tablecloth, they were back in the exact same spot the next morning.  Is this another one of those karmic feng shui deals like I have experienced before?  It is pure-d odd for sure!

First and last time - Olen's Ice Box. Llano, TX

First and last time – Olen’s Ice Box. Llano, TX

Saturday rolled around and I realized I was running low on whiskey.  Why not kill two birds with one stone and adventure out into some new country on the whiskey buying errand?  Now depending on how strong the Good Baptists are, not every county in Texas is going to have whiskey readily available for a man to just walk in off the street and buy. Google is your friend when it comes to driving across miles of Texas to satisfy a thirst and I decided a visit to Olen’s Ice Box in Llano,TX was a good destination.  Google said Olen’s was founded in 1945 and it was still in the same building.  Good enough for me.   I said ‘hidee’ to the lady when I walked in and headed straight for the Jim Beam.  A big bottle was priced for highway robbery at $30.50!!!  Whoa damn!  For some perspective, in the Big City at a place like Spec’s or Gabriel’s I pay between $22 and $24 for the same same bottle all day long!  I have never paid over $30 for a bottle ever – that is until now.  Even when I was working for My Bro outside of Newton in Deep East Texas it was only $28!  That spirits place was about as big as an outdoor equipment shed and the entire time I was stopping in there over the course fo almost a year, I was the only white man I ever saw.  Even then, it got to the point, the man would take a personal out of town check from me for a bottle of Beam.   I did tell the lady thanks at Olen’s when she give me the two quarters change back from the $20+$10+$1 I handed her. Didn’t even get a bag sack to put the big ol’ square bottle in!  Lord only knows how they been in business 70 years with prices high as a cat’s back and that kinda indifference.  I was a foreigner but I was wearing the local uniform and drivin’ a big truck that shoulda fit right in.

I am sure next week’s post will find us someplace else up the road.  Until then folks.

End Note:  Ragged Company by Janiva Magness from the Stronger For It cd.

“It’s hard to heed the warning when you cannot see the crime.”

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6 comments to Observations of an RV Park

  • Ken

    Andy, you are a hoot. You keep coming up with things that jar my memory. As it happens I bought my first (legal) intoxicants from Olen, well, maybe from Red. Olen and my father-ib-law were best friends, Nonner and my motherin-law likewise. My wife used to get snockered with Olen’s daughter playing dolls under the table while the adults played dominoes at the store. Their house was the back of the store. Red worked the counter at the icebox from the time the dirt was warm until he had to go to a nursing home.
    Around Olen, Dutch and Red, the conversation was never far from bowling equipment and the proper use thereof. The all knew where the best hunting was, even after dark. They could go on and on telling escapades, either hunting or hiding from the wardens. They put me rolling on the floor lots of time laughing.
    Thanks for jarring my memory.

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    • Andy

      I always enjoy your stories Ken. The gal that waited on me was a youngish 30 and she was engaged in conversation with an older woman behind the counter.

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  • Joel

    Another funny story in the annals of American ethnography.

    Good on you to prioritize the dental work. Dental abscesses can kill ya. Literally.

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  • Nancy1340

    It will be interesting to see where you land Andy.
    I wish you could just travel and spend your time charming the lady RV’ers but it doens’t sound like that’s in your plans.
    Any decisions on the job market?

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    • Andy

      You make me blush Nancy!

      I slept past 4am for just the first time today which means I have throwed off the schedule of the Gate. I also had a call to go back to work on a gate which I declined.

      Give it two more weeks I say. Everything happens for a reason and what I should do next has not been made clear yet.

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  • Larry

    Andy, I discovered your blog several years ago while I was still working nights at an Austin Emergency Department. My life’s working time saw 3 different Career changes, w/ #3 being a slave owner/operator of a Breeder Egg farm that never became the IT job for me and my family. Of course I was too dumb to realize that I had it made w/ Career #2 but convinced myself otherwise. Thanks to you, your life kept me entertained, awake, amused, as I laughed to myself and occasionally out loud when reading along. Bottom LINE: Peace began to flow, when I quit fighting w/ myself and let the water find it’s own level, which physics says it will. When finally accepting and acknowledging to operate within my own level of ability, and stopped pushing to get away from a life I understood. Things do happen for reasons that aren’t apparent to oneself. I am blessed w/ a solid workmate wife, who was able to stay home w/ our kids while I was working in the 80’s-90’s, and who was able to NOT listen to my ignorant pleas to not become a Realtor when she did. I was kicked out the corporate Health care door at age 60,reduction in force they said, (but I know they hired 2.5 cheaper others the week after I was RIF’ed out) it took awhile to realize it, but being canned probably saved me from a heart attack, as I was literally sick of dealing w/ the many loafers, welfare abusers, and general screw-balls over those last 13 years of working. Now I work when my wife needs help, work at traveling that I enjoy, work at being a Granddad, and work at doing nothing if that is my goal of the day. Now if I can just get her to agree to let me pack my pistol to go along w/ my CHL. Good luck, I know you find good fortune.

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