Sunday, March 1, 2015
For the FOURTH time in the last two months of our stay here in paradise, we had rain. This was not the usual half-dozen drops, and then clouds for the rest of the day. This was actual legitimate Oregon-type rain. It came down steadily, ALL DAY. Rain, that ran down the streets of FOY in small rivers. Rain that puddled up and became small, lake-like bodies of water. Rain, that brought life to a halt in this senior haven. In no way, do I want it to be assumed that I am complaining. Just the opposite. I like rain. I am an Oregonian, after all.
California is in the worst drought in many, many years. They need every drop that falls here, and especially every snowflake that lands in the mountains. (At almost 100 feet below sea level, I am pretty sure that snow will arrive here about the same time that Hell freezes over. That would be close to NEVER. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.) This area is parched, and so rain is a good thing. Different, but good.
The other thing that accompanies rain in these parts is a power outage. It seems that some force of nature is at work not WHEN it’s actually raining, but when it STOPS raining. This has happened to us twice before and this time I prepared. All electronic devices were charged up. The flashlights always sit in plain view. We are self-contained, so a power outage shouldn’t be a big deal for us, except that we have been parked here for some time. We would need to start up the Hag and let her run for a while to charge the batteries. So, we could have lights…….but no TV……or Internet. This makes a lack of power just another inconvenience.
With or without the rain, although I sure the impending rain made the decision easy for many campers, this is the time of mass exodus from the park. Folks head farther south, or home. For the 75% of the park that are Canadian, many need to head back for fear of jeopardizing their health care by staying longer than their allotted time. As we sat at breakfast this morning, at Freddy’s Café, I watched a steady stream of motor homes, trailers, and 5th-wheels hastily leaving. The park is clearing out. Only the brave stay into March, April, and beyond. Apparently, the weather heats up in a steady climb to mid-summer’s high of 120°F plus or minus a few degrees. And then there are the flies. The locals (those who stay here year-round) refer to them as “bombers,” and carry a fly swatter to the pool to fend them off. This also makes no mention that the local fauna roam the streets during the summer months. We arrived at our site this year to find several piles of someone’s scat. It is up in the air as to what left this rabbit-like deposit of pellets, but, personally I feel that if, in fact, it was a rabbit as some claim, it would have been the size of a “Jackalope” to leave a gift of that volume. Perhaps that is what it was. This is an isolated spot, in the middle of nowhere. Again, I don’t know and anything is possible.
So, people left in droves this weekend. Those who remained did not venture out in the rain. Things were VERY quiet around here. The monthly “Sunday Sundae” was cancelled due to the weather. This forced the Daisies to buy ice cream from Freddy’s Mercantile and enjoy it in the privacy of the Hag, minus the whipped cream and sprinkles. Who knew that 2 small cartons of Ben and Jerry’s could procure such happiness?
Myself, I had arranged a sewing date with my friend, Renate, in the Craft Room, which (not surprisingly) happened to be full of women. Women who were happily sewing and visiting and not subjecting themselves to cabin fever in their respective rigs with their significant others. I took my felting machine and Renate brought her wool roving, and we had one big successful experiment.
But digressing somewhat, the biggest event of the day occurred early this morning. There was a fire at Bombay Beach. We could see flames and smoke from here at the park, and FOY folks were concerned that it was possibly the American Legion that was on fire. One of our neighbors is quite active in the Legion, and we asked him if he thought it could be burning. His response was, “No. They would have called me.”
We, as did 95% of the remaining folks at the park, drove out to see what had caught on fire. It was a devastating, sobering, scene. A home, across the street from the Legion Hall burned, and it was a total loss.
This is an impoverished area, and it is quite obvious that the residents lost everything. Again, one of those things that serve as a not-so-subtle reminder. Although we are on a furlough from our everyday life, the place we have chosen to go as a get-away, is very much living a reality that is hard to see and easy to go eat a doughnut and turn a blind eye. That said there is a woman who manages the bottle return/recycling here at the park. The money collected goes to fund scholarships for El Centro High School. There are a group of women who make small quilts and teddy bears for the pediatric wards at both the hospital in Brawley and in El Centro, and also for the families who live in the dump (yes, they live in a landfill) just across the border, in Mexico. These are the folks I know about. I am sure there are others who do good things without recognition. Really, as it should be. Or perhaps, as I often heard many years ago, in my much younger life:
“Do good and a rainbow of joy will arch over your soul.” May we all find this peace through our daily life.