Daisy awoke at first light. Rain had stopped. She exhaled and could see her breath. She got out of the Volvo to stretch and smoke and heard two distinct sounds—the churning roar of the ocean and a saxophone playing what she recognized as a Christmas Carol but couldn’t recall its title or any lyrics. Daisy knew the ocean was behind her, but the exact source of the saxophone mystified her. It was apparently coming from one of the rigs and was obviously not a recording. Someone was playing right then! A Christmas carol! Who does that?
Some 30 quail darted across Daisy’s path as she walked to the restroom. A couple gulls flew overhead. She saw morning doves and blackbirds. blue jays and crows. Perched in a shore pine was a chipmunk nibbling what appeared to be a mushroom. A short distance away, two deer bolted past one of the RVs.
“Angels We Have Heard on High.” That was it! Daisy remembered the name of the carol and found herself singing the falalalalalalalalala….gloria chorus in an exaggerated choral voice that made her chuckle.
After using the restroom and washing up, Daisy saw a Beach Access sign and followed it. Not long thereafter, she descended a cliff with the assistance of a rope and landed on a beach populated by thousands upon thousand pieces of driftwood. Daisy walked and walked, never in a straight line. (No one at the beach ever does if you’re experiencing an existential crisis.) She pocketed shells and rocks. She kicked at foam and played with kelp. She breathed in the brine. At one point, Daisy surprised herself by jogging. She’d never jogged in her life. She stopped 75 yards into the jog and lit a cigarette. She smoked and stared at the ocean and saw a tiny boat out to sea. I’m never going back to Coos Bay, she said to herself.She said it twice. It sounded good. It sounded like a damn good country song about a faded, jaded, junky nurse who let it bleed.
After her walk, Daisy grabbed a cup of coffee and some beef jerky from the store and decided to check out the laundry room and lending library for no other reason that she had absolutely nothing to do and was living out of car. Who knows? She might even find a book to read, something she hadn’t done in years.
She opened the door and beheld more of a thrift store than a laundry room or lending library, although a dryer was drying and a white-washed shelf listing at five degrees held an enormous amount of books.
Daisy entered and what struck her first was all the apparel hanging from the exposed overhead pipes. Several rows. About half of it was still covered in dry cleaning bags. Several seconds into her inspection of the apparel, Daisy knew she had stumbled across perhaps the greatest collection of vintage women’s Western wear in the country. Shirts. Skirts. Vests. Boots. Hats. Jackets with fringes all the colors of the rainbow. And here the collection was in an RV park laundry room! For free! Daisy didn’t even wear this kind of fashion. She would now! Yee haw! She ripped off her coat and sneakers and began trying on items as if it was Black Friday. Everything fit perfectly, including a rhinestone-encrusted leather belt with a buckle the size of a dollar bill. The buckle was pewter with an inlaid design colored a shiny gold. The design was of a woman in pigtails wearing a cowboy hat riding a horse. The horse was jumping over a barrel. The text read MOLALLA BUCKEROO CHAMPION.
It dawned upon Daisy that all this fantastic Western wear had belonged to one person and that person was gone. She was unbuckling the belt when Bruce came inside the room.