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Finding Sharon

One More RV Trip
From RV Trader
One More RV Trip

 

Joe shut the microwave moving his lunch to the nook table.  He sits facing the window to the backyard.  This is his favorite time of the day.  The birds are active; landing on the ground around the feeder.  The window is open and his cell phone is running an app that identifies each bird call.  He opens his laptop.  The map immediately lights up the screen.  Joe is investigating a road trip.

He has not ever wanted to travel via car.  He has not really bought into the idea.  Joe is married but separated.  He enjoys his solitude and is a homebody.  His wife was always pushing him to take a road trip.  His wife had tried many times to get Joe to explore the USA but he was reluctant.  Sharon was an adventurer through and through.  She died three months ago.

Sharon toured in her RV across all forty-eight states.  The RV was four years old and had 178,000 miles on the odometer.  Sharon and Joe remained friends and talked regularly.

He was included in her will.  She gave him her RV, a request and a package tied up with a red bow.  The RV is now parked in Joe’s driveway.  The request was opened this morning.  The request was positioned in front of him on the table.  Even from the grave, she was pushing him.  The request was really a challenge to go on one RV trip.  The package was a detail plan for that trip.  Each state was laid out with points of interest he would like to explore. There were envelopes for each stop.

The plan included some people she had met on her previous trips.  She had the plan laid out to the day, four months of adventure.  The doorbell rang.

Joe is sitting down with a FedEx packet.  The letter in the packet was from Sharon’s lawyer.  Shron ordered the lawyer to deliver the package on this date.  There was a memory stick included.  Joe inserted the stick into the usb slot.  A few seconds later Sharon appeared.

Joe shut down the recording.  She had wanted him to branch out and still loved him.  He felt her reaching inside him and it was hard to deny her request.

The RV was loaded.  Of course, Sharon included a packing list.  She told him to open the center console storage and put what I found on the dashboard and play the first CD.  It was her picture and 5 CDs.  On the first CD, she told him what to enter in the GPS.

About 3 hours later, I am near my first stop for gas.  I saw the stop she had indicated in the instructions.  A one-horse gas station and car repair shop.  A lady approached the RV.  She walked around the RV and began filling the tank.  I got some coffee. She looked me up and down, “You’re Joe, right?  I knew Sharon, I recognize the RV.  I saw she passed some time ago.  She told me I would probably see you afterwards.  We talked a little each time she stopped in.  You were always on her mind.”  I could only smile and shake her hand.  Kathy checked the RV over making sure it was working well.  We talked while she worked.  I opened the door and took my seat.  She looked up at me, told me to wait.  She came out with an envelope with my name in Sharon’s hand writing on it. I opened it.  It was Sharon telling me great job! There was a note for Kathy.  Kathy read her note then looked up at me.  “Thank you for stopping.  I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again.”

I pull into the RV camp according to Sharon’s instructions.  I have reservations for camps all along this trip.  I park in front of the office and I hear Sharon’s name being shouted.  A man was walking up to the RV.  He asked, “Are you driving this RV?”  I look at him nodding my head. “You must be Joe.  Sharon was here many times.  She passed right?” It seemed everyone knew of her and that she was dying.

I checked in and found my space.  I set up the RV.  I am sitting with a glass of wine relaxing when several folks came by to pay respects for Sharon.  I talk to each person who stopped by.  Susan was the last visitor.  She invited me to come and enjoy a BBQ with her and her sister.  I told her I will be there in a couple of minutes.  I reach in and open Sharon’s packet.  I get the envelope reading the name of the RV stop.  There are several notes inside addressed to people in the RV camp, residents I am suppose.

I had a good time at the BBQ.  I handed out all but one note.  I was told Roxey was not able to drive lately so she was not here now.  I talked to the camp manager the next morning to see if I could contact Roxey and let her know I had a note for her from Sharon.  Mark contacted Roxey and asked how she was doing.  It turns out she broke her arm but was doing better.  Mark let her know I was here and he had a note from Sharon.  She said she would be here mid-day today.

Roxie arrived in her RV.  When I gave her Sharon’s note, she hugged me.   After three days scouting the area for points of interest and multiple BBQ dinners, it was time to leave as Sharon’s agenda indicated.  I exited the camp with a small crowd waving good bye.  I make several planned stops.  The next camp was situated along a major river with several restaurants to choose from.  I entered the River Run Family Diner.  I ask for a booth but none was available right then.  I gave the waitress my name.  She stopped writing.  “You’re Joe?  Is Sharon with you?”  I explained Sharon had died recently.  Cissy came back when a booth opened up.  I gave her Sharon’s note for her. Cissy cried and smiled at me.  She asked me to stick around until her shift ended. We spent some time of her telling me about her life and what Sharon meant to her.

I am on the next leg of the trip; I had listened to all of the CDs.  I had thought about why this trip was so important to Sharon.  I finally had to admit the idea of traveling this way was starting to intrigue me.  I have had long conversations with Sharon in my head.  I am a stubborn man and did not want to give in to all the cajoling and begging me to come with her when she was alive.

Somewhere in Utah, I pulled in to an RV camp.  For some reason, Sharon had a star on this stop.  I enter the camp manager’s office.  The woman at the desk was looking at me and she moved to the door looking at my RV.  She closed the door, locked it and swung the closed/open sign to closed.  She asked me if I wanted something to drink.

She set my drink on the table in the back room.  She looked a lot like Sharon, a whole lot.  She introduced herself as Sharon’s twin sister, Shelby.  She and Sharon had been on the outs since high school.  Sharon had shown up about a year before she died.  Sharon and Shelby spent several weeks working through decades of separation.  Shelby told me Sharon talked about me and our problems.

I was scheduled to spend three days here.  It turned out to be three weeks.  Shelby and I grew to like each other.  Shelby is helping me to understand Sharon’s need to search for her sister.  I am different with Shelby.  We understand each other intuitively.  I also understood Sharon better by knowing Shelby.

It is a year later now; Shelby and I are together.  We tour in a larger RV traveling six months of the year.    It is amazing the people that had met Sharon and the stories have woven the mesh of her life.  We have collected them and will be publishing a book of short stories about her travels.

I found Sharon after she was gone, too late to change for her but not too late to listen to the messages she left behind.

 

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About the Contributor
Stan Washington
Stan Washington, Contributing Writer
Stan Washington is a contributing writer for Cape Fear Voices.

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    Dolores M MortonJul 8, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    I like it.

    Reply