As dusk settled in over the park, Daisy smoked a cigarette outside the Vixen and beheld her Christmas display. Behind her, a fire in the fire pit crackled and sparked and Daisy loved smelling the woodsmoke. It smelled like comfort. In the distance, she her the saxophone lilting through the trees, another Christmas song, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
She had strewn lights all over the rig and stood the Santas in front. The nativity scene was set up between the Santas on a TV tray Daisy found in the laundry room. A mishmash of other decorations were weaved into the RV’s grille, mirrors, bumper and aerial, Pretty funky, thought Daisy, but funky is good, especially at Christmas.
As she decorated, Daisy met several residents of the park and their dogs. She struck up conversations with them and they learned she’d bought Lorna’s rig and was staying indefinitely. “Time for a new start,” was how Daisy succinctly described it. They all seemed satisfied with that explanation, and each one gave her an inside tip on park living.
It was closing in on 8:00 p.m. and Daisy sat at the picnic table, poking the fire with a stick, drinking a stout, and wondering what the next day would bring. She checked her phone again for messages and found fifteen more. She didn’t respond. She probably never would. For a brief moment, Daisy thought she might have to drive to Charleston to clean out her apartment, but then rejected the idea. She’d call the manager and say she wasn’t coming back—family emergency—and was sorry for the hassle, but the security deposit should cover it.
There wasn’t a single thing of value in that apartment. Why return?
Daisy finished the stout and went to bed. She watched the A Muppet Family Christmas on VHS and bawled the whole way through.
Over the next few days, with Christmas fast approaching, Daisy developed a routine, get up early, smoke, walk and jog the beach, get washed up, head into town for supplies, hike a nearby mountain or beach trail, explore more of the town, and perhaps take coffee inside a bookstore or drink porter at one of the dive bars along Highway 101. She also perused the local job market and discovered there were lots of nursing and other health care positions that needed filling. But was that what she really wanted to do? No.
It was also over these next few days, that Daisy met more residents of the park, learned their names, and noticed their living habits, some of them quite peculiar. She also began helping some of them out, because, well, they needed help and there wasn’t anyone else around to help them.