Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quartzsite… so far

We arrived in Quartzsite, Arizona, on December 26th. A day earlier than originally planned. We were pleasantly greeted by Judy here at the Holiday Palms RV Park. She was friendly on the phone when I made the reservations, equally friendly when I called to inquire about arriving a day early, and was as welcoming as can be when we checked in. Just the way I expect to be treated because that's the way I treat others. Great first impression.

Because people we'd talked to said that lots of RVers come to Quartzsite every year to winter, that there is lots to do here, and a fun place to be, we thought we'd check it out on this trip. I'd done quite a bit of research as to where to stay while in Quartzsite. I'd checked the Trailer LIfe Directory and found that this park is a 'Good Sam Park'. That was the first good sign. I felt the fees were reasonable, although a little more expensive than other places, and that was also a good sign. I looked at the park, and others, on Google Earth, and found that this place had trees. Palm trees to be exact, hence the name 'Holiday Palms'. There are other trees in town, but not really in the RV parks. Not that they provide shade, but it does feel more green. Another good sign.

Being that we intend to be here only two weeks, we were put in the 'overnighters' area. No problem with that except that we meet people and then the next day they're gone. We are also right by the main street. Kind of noisy, but we're very close to the laundry room so that makes up for it in my opinion. We are also right by the community center so we know when something is going on. There are quite a few musicians here and they like to have jam sessions and everyone is invited to come listen and socialize. That was a good sign. Rob and I were excited about that and were eager to check it out—until we walked in and took a look. Everybody is OLD! The musicians are old. The audience is old. Nice as can be, but OLD! We felt entirely out of place. We aren't exactly spring chickens, but neither are we quite ready for this kind of socializing. I think even my mom would've felt too young for this crowd. Not that she's too young in age, but too young in heart and thinking. That's how it felt. And I know I could be completely wrong about these folks because we didn't really give them a fighting chance, but we just couldn't see ourselves mingling.

I did laundry yesterday morning. When I walked into the laundry room, a man well into his 80s was doing his. He acknowledged me with a nod and then proceeded to explain to me why not to use a particular washer that I was just about ready to use. I let him know I appreciated the tip and we started chatting. Nice man. I left and returned when my washers were finished. The same man looked at me and didn't say a word when I smiled and said 'Hello, again!' Did he not remember me? I think not. Sigh.

Later when I returned to the laundry room to fold my now dry clothes, there was a couple with their backs to the room looking at some sort of circular or publication while leaning over a high clothes-folding table. I wasn't trying to be stealthy but, when they turned around, they were obviously surprised to see that someone had entered without their knowledge. Then the man said with a twinkle in his eye, "I'm glad I didn't give my wife a little pat like I often do!" So I told him that it wouldn't have been anything I hadn't seen before, which got a chuckle and wide grin out of him. He left and I talked with the wife while I folded clothes and she added fabric softener to her wash. I watched her hands and arms shake a little as she filled the cap with softener. They've been coming here every year for 25 years spending 5 months at a time and she says it isn't like it used to be. I didn't ask where they were from, but I'm sure it snows there. She mentioned that she has Parkinson's and I told her I thought she was doing really well. She agreed that it appeared that way—until she tries to do anything that requires concentration and/or fine motor skills. She can no longer sign her name and feels badly that she can't pay the bills anymore, which had always been her job. Her husband has to do it now. He's nearly 90! She's 87. And they were adorable.

Quartzsite is a quirky, little place. Well, not so little. It's pretty spread out. 36.3 square miles to be exact. Their claim to fame is that it's the mineral and geode capitol of, if not the world, at least the southwest. Most years, we are told, RVs are found far and wide at the parks with full or partial hook-ups and on open land boondocking. There are swap meets galore and vendors of food, clothing, flags, RV supplies and services, antiques, art, some good art, some junk, junk and more junk, lining the streets. Some feel this town has had too long a history of crooked counsel members. They thought they got them out last year, but the new bunch aren't much better. According to the few locals we spoke to and some who come here every year, the town got greedy. They raised the rates and fees they charge the vendors to such a prohibitive level that the majority of vendors decided to just not come this year. Then there are other vendors who don't feel too much has changed, that the rates and fees are reasonable, and don't understand what the brouhaha is all about. They feel positive about the near future and that business will pick up in a week or two, just as it has in years past.

We had neighbors arrive yesterday two spaces over. They are staying two nights—leaving tomorrow. Patty and Brad are towing a huge storage trailer filled with radio controlled aircraft. Rob was in seventh heaven seeing that! We went out to an airfield set up for the local RC group to watch Brad and others fly their planes today, but I got engrossed walking through a very special place called Celia's Rainbow Garden located next to the air field. Celia was a child who started life fighting, and fighting hard, but died too young. I invite you to read Celia's story and how her garden got started at Celia's Rainbow Garden has become a beautiful memorial for many who once walked among us. For now, please enjoy the few photos I took there because, with all the negative in the world, all that is decent and worthy just needs another good sign—from all of us.

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