Community

One thing Desert Trails RV park does well is community. While we came here for a couple of months a year ago not knowing anyone in the park, we’ve met lots of friendly wanderers like ourselves and feel pretty much at home here.

That feeling begins with the Monday morning meeting, led by the park owner, Pericles Wyatt. We learned early on that “Desert Trails time” is different from that of the rest of our known world, where people tend to arrive just before (or after) the appointed time. Not so for any event at Desert Trails! The Monday meeting is on the schedule for 9 a.m. but if you aren’t in the rec hall by 8:30, you risk having no place to sit or, worse yet, having no doughnut! Pericles makes even the mundane announcements like what can and can’t be recycled seem like standup comedy. The park schedule is packed with activities and he details those, as well as community events like the celebrations for Arizona statehood and the rodeo parade, even giving tips on where to find accessible parking. When you come away, you feel as though you’ve had your laugh for the day and are informed on activities you’d like to try during the week.

This past week was the annual recycling picnic with hamburgers and hot dogs provided by the proceeds of the recycling program in the park. Interestingly enough, there are more recycling bins here than there are trash dumpsters! We got acquainted with the woman who is responsible for the Scrabble gathering in the Gallery building every Friday and I’m sure I will participate in that. The other couple at our table was from Pennsylvania. We enjoy hearing people’s stories, how they met, where they call home and how they came to be here, so we always have fun.

Another part of community at Desert Trails is entertainment. In the almost 3 weeks we’ve been here, we’ve heard a variety of music. The first week we heard a jazz, blues and boogie woogie piano player/singer who was quite an entertainer and made for very enjoyable listening. Since then we’ve heard last year’s top high school jazz band in the nation, a Celtic balladeer on Valentine’s Day, and a band called Midlife Crisis. Since I grew up not attending dances, it amazes me to see the dance floor packed with some pretty respectable dancers from my era. LeRoy and I even tried our hands (or feet) at a couple.

On Sunday evenings, the rec hall rings with the sounds of old fashioned camp meeting hymns, the kind I remember from childhood. Denominational backgrounds don’t matter there because Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists and even Friends blend in and just enjoy making a joyful noise.

We’ll miss the hymn sing this evening because the Friends church we attend is having a soup and sandwich supper with games following. We’re getting acquainted there, too. The members and regular attenders have name tags since there are quite a few “winter visitors” like us and we were pleasantly surprised on our first Sunday back to find that we had name tags of our own! They took our picture for their church directory, too, although I think it won’t be out until we are gone for the season. The pastor, Adam Kemper, was in the Northridge youth group when we were involved in the Tiny Group program and we’ve known his parents since before he was born. He and his wife Allie are expecting their first baby in just a couple of weeks and we helped them move into their first house yesterday.

So even though we’re a long ways from “home” as we know it, we’re building community everywhere we go. After all, it’s up to us, not someone else, to make the first move and we choose to find friends.

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