When leading the gypsy life, as we are, with new neighbors each time we change locale, we find ourselves taking stock of our surroundings on a regular basis. Call it “getting the lay of the land,” call it passing judgement, it is a basic human instinct in which we inevitably participate.

Our usual milieu is freebie BLM camping or other Federal land but in the vicinity of Sierra Vista we were unable to score any of that. So, for the last week we have resided at a small RV park in Huachuca City whose chief attraction initially was its cheapness. At $15/day (or even better, $200/mo.) it is quite a bargain, offering as it does full hook-ups and the security of watchful neighbors. But as we have settled in and observed the comings and goings around us, we find ourselves indulging in the ongoing drama of life in a trailer park as an added attraction.

The park is small – perhaps twenty spaces. All of the other residents seem to be long-term. Their “accommodations” are uniformly vintage RVs of modest size and faded exterior. The general impression we have of them is that these are people who did not draw winning tickets in the lottery of life.

[At this point, I should remind the reader that my comments are based on nothing more than a week’s casual observation and are subject to all the usual biases and hasty conclusions that constitute gossip, but since it is unlikely that neither this blog’s readers nor the park residents will ever meet, I don’t think there is anything improper in “flapping my lips.”]

Nan, the park owner, is a cheerful woman who lives elsewhere but maintains an office in the park to which she visits each day and at which she “holds court” to converse in friendly chatter with her clientele. Mary and I independently came to the conclusion that Nan is a business woman but she is also a benefactor of sorts. One gets the impression that she thinks of her down-and-out clientele as her charges and she is looking out for them. They seem to like her and she cares for them.

Nan wasn’t here when we first pulled in. One of the residents named Brenda greeted us and gave us a glowing rundown of all the park’s amenities. I admit that we were somewhat hesitant to stay because of the careworn look of many of the RVs but the bargain price overcame whatever reluctance we had. Brenda stayed with us to guide us into our stall that first day. She has been a friendly neighbor ever since. In fact, all of our neighbors that we have met have been friendly. Dressed in pajamas and walking their little dogs at ten o’clock in the morning is when we encounter many of the elderly among them.

A few days after we arrived, we returned from the day’s outing to find a dilapidated trailer filling the formerly vacant space next to us. Not only was the trailer’s exterior sheathed in duct tape and peeling paint, but the interior was bare of all furnishing. Late in the day our new neighbors arrived, transported to their new home by (we later learned) the man’s employer. As best we can piece together, their situation is this: Young couple (late twenties or early thirties,) no possessions, no vehicle, new job, employer -provided trailer. Apparently, they literally had nothing but the clothes on their backs and each day they bring home a few items as they go about building a life for themselves. Their first night they had no window coverings so it was all I could do to avoid looking into their barren trailer which was dimly illuminated by a feeble light or two. (The windows are now covered by some kind of brown cloth.) Yesterday, the guy brought home a propane canister, which leads me to believe that until then they had no way to cook or heat their trailer (nights have been in the 30s.)

At this moment I am sitting at my writing desk and looking across the parking lot at Brenda as she hangs her wash on a clothesline strung between her trailer and a nearby tree. A white-whiskered old guy dressed in a cowboy hat and a bathrobe hobbles from the shower house back to his trailer. His little dog follows.

And so, life goes on at Corte Del Rey. Nan should be arriving any time now to see how her charges are doing and we are left to wonder what housekeeping necessity our next-door neighbors will bring with them when they come home from their new jobs.