Who were these people? Daisy sensed she had occasionally run across them as patients in the hospital, but now she was living among them.
Some never seemed to leave their rigs.
Some limped, used canes, walkers, staffs.
Several didn’t have vehicles.
Some had blanched faces.
Some barely had a face.
Those with dogs seemed happy.
Many were grossly overweight.
Many flew tattered American flags.
Most watched Fox News all day.
Daisy could tell some were addled in one way or another.
They were all friendly, but there was no community.
There was no bulletin board advertising park events
because there were no park events.
One afternoon, Daisy returned from the beach and a resident in a mobility scooter was driving around in a tight circle, over and over again. She went up to him and he stopped. They talked. She adjusted something on the back of the scooter and he put it in gear and began to drive forward. He thanked her. Daisy got a kick out of it. Helping him felt good. Just how long would he have driven around in circles had she not come along.
That was how it started.
Daisy drove Roy to get laid in Bandon.
George to the VA hospital in Roseburg.
Terry to the dentist, Lorenzo to the crabbing pier.
She walked their dogs when they couldn’t walk.
She picked up oxygen tanks, picked up groceries.
She helped change a truck battery.
She washed two trucks.
She loved doing it. It was effortless effort.
She never let on she was a nurse. This is why I became a nurse…thought Daisy, but this isn’t nursing. This is why I got into nursing and then I became a nurse and it ruined it all.
It was Christmas Eve and a spectacularly clear night, The stars were out. Daisy had a fire going and she pulled up a plastic lawn chair rescued from inside a hedge. She lit a cigarette and sipped a stout. Lorenzo came over with his dog. Daisy had discovered he was the saxophone player. She invited him to retrieve his saxophone, join her around the fire, and play some Christmas songs.
One simple invitation at Christmas can change a lot.
Lorenzo accepted. He began playing and Daisy tried to sing along. She goofed up the words and made up her own lyrics, some of them bawdy. Lorenzo cracked up a few times but kept playing.
George puttered over in his scooter with a jug of Gallo red. He parked near the fire and offered wine. Daisy sprinted to her rig for some Christmas mugs. Wine was shared. They toasted to Christmas.
It was a party of three for 30 minutes. A party of three for 30 minutes on Christmas Eve can change a lot.
As Daisy and George sipped wine, she entertained ideas for potlucks and game nights in the laundry room. Maybe a movie night there, too! Anything to encourage and facilitate face-to-face interaction, anything to get them out of their rigs and away from watching Fox News.
Sure, some ideas would fail. But some might succeed.
George and Lorenzo called it a night. It was 7:30. Daisy retired to the Vixen and searched Lorna’s VHS collection for a Christmas movie. Nothing, nothing, nothing, then White Christmas. Daisy laughed. What a cliche! She put the movie on, crawled into her bag, and cracked open another stout.
Tomorrow was Christmas Day. Daisy would get up at first light, get a jog in. It might rain a bit, then clear up. The sun might show and maybe a rainbow would appear. Either way, Daisy would get straight to work helping residents in the park. She imagined there would be a lot to do on Christmas Day. There was a lot to do every day, everywhere.