<All similarities to people living or dead is purely coincidental>
FINDING HOME, AGAIN
THE GRAND TOUR
Art and Debbie both retired in their late fifties. Traveling and seeing the country from behind the wheel of a large RV was everything they had hoped it would be. Seeing it all from a flatscreen windshield. Driving their living room down the highway from a second story window was worth more to them than all the petty annoyances associated with driving a large vehicle anywhere. Art spent most of his working life selling insurance to growers and ranchers in a dusty corner of rural America while Debbie answered the phones and seemed to know everyone in the three counties. In those days, every summer they took off for their “Grand Tour,” as they liked to call it. Every July, like clockwork. Questions Art asked himself as a young man were being answered and the vines of their life experiences were bearing fruit. When they retired, they decided to Tour full-time.
Debbie too had dreams of seeing the country. She took pride in her home, but longed for adventure. Looking longingly out the front windows at the dusty sage, Debbie dreamed of the ocean gliding past the windows of the RV. On the refrigerator were pictures of her grandkids playing on the beach, sent to her in Christmas cards, stuck there with wedges of plastic watermelon magnets.
MAKING IT A REALITY
Selling the house, or “Home Base” as they called it, turned out to be easier than they thought. Neither Debbie nor Art had been much for collecting things, so when they finally decided to travel in the RV full-time, most of the items from their daily lives fit right in without much trouble at all. Even Pixie, their tan Cockapoo mix, found a place up front to leave her nose prints on the windshield while watching the world unfold. Still, memories can be tricky things sometimes, and it wasn’t without a twinge of melancholy as they pulled out of their old driveway for the last time.
Art and Debbie saw the country. They traveled to see their kids and their grandkids at Christmas and on birthdays. They went coast to coast and everywhere they wanted in between. Overtime, however, too much of a good thing, stopped being such a good thing and just became too much. It started to feel more and more, like they needed a “Home Base” again. A place they could call home, in a way, a place they could return to. A place of their own, something they could potentially rent out for a month or two or even a year. An unassuming place out of the way, but still close enough to town to feel part of a community again.
It was in the morning. Sitting outside the RV on creaking lawn chairs of interwoven nylon, Art and Debbie were sipping coffee and watching the sky. Stan the camp host stopped by on his rounds, rolling up on his ancient golf cart.
“How’s the AC in there?” Stand the camp host asked. “Septic hasn’t reversed or anything I hope.”
Art and Debbie both laughed politely. Meeting new people was something they looked forward to and was one of the main reasons they loved traveling.
Art said, “Nope. Not yet. The day is still young, however.”
“Does that happen a lot around here, Stan?” Debbie said.
Chuckling Stan said, “bout as often as you might think.”
“Tell me Stan, we’ve been thinking about buying a place, taking a break from the road for a little while. Know of any good places around here?”
“Now why would you go and do a thing like that for? My park not good enough for you anymore?”
“Well, you know how it is. That Farmer’s Market down by the river is hard to pass up and the beaches in the summer time, don’t get me started.”
“Yeah. Amazing isn’t. It’s crowded out there if you see another person a quarter mile away.” Stan’s smile flattened a bit, then he said half-joking with a serious tone, “Don’t tell anyone.”
Debbie and Art sat there silently nodding, awkward smiles on their faces trying not to glance at each other out the corner of their eyes.
Stan leaned back, stretching his arm on the backrest and crossing his legs. He rubbed his chin. “Yup. You know, there’s a place up the road here just across 101. Nice big yard, shop garage, plenty of room to park if you want, just outside of town.”
They collected stories and acquaintances like some people collect menageries. On a whim, Debbie Googled Bandon real estate on her tablet. She clicked on the Beach Loop Realty website and scrolled through the featured properties until one caught her eye.
The address was 87623 East Beach Loop. “Art,” Debbie said, “that’s just…” looking up at the tops of the trees and sheltering her eyes with her hand on her forehead, “over there,” she said pointing. “Oh, let’s set up an appointment and go take a look.”
Stan said, “That’s a great house too. They remodeled a while back and finished off the attic above the garage. I have half a mind to buy it myself and make that room my home theatre.”
Debbie nudged Art in the ribs gently a couple times.
Stan continued, “I’ve been over there a few times, actually. One thing I’ve noticed is once you’re on the property itself, you really feel secluded behind all the trees. In fact, I believe there’s an old myrtle tree on that property.”
Leaning in Stan looked at them over the square plastic frames of his glasses and said, “If you’re serious about this place, don’t wait.”
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