Thanksgiving 2003 found me dry camping in the desert near Quartzsite in my travel trailer home. I woke to a clear blue sky with air so clean I could see forever. The solar corona appeared thrice its normal size and hurtled hot, white fire. A brisk breeze blew from the north so my back baked and my face froze, a contrast sharp as yin-yang.
Also in sharp contrast was where I planned to be on Thanksgiving — surrounded by thick gray fog, safe and warm in my big old farm house, sitting at a linen-draped table eating fancy food and watching the game — compared to where I was: Full-Time RVing. Things change!
An elderly couple named Sara and Curly who lived in a motorhome invited me to their Thanksgiving potluck. Curly bragged he was a chef announced his intention to deep-fry a turkey in a tall kettle balanced on some rocks near his RV.
Other guests included Chief (he lived in a camper), Slow Poke (conversion van), Bungee (no clue) — who walked by using a Bungee cord to move one foot — Sleepy and her husband, whom everyone called Jerk.
Conversation revolved around roads, RV repairs and rattlesnakes. I felt welcome, as if I was part of an odd gang.
Curly carefully lowered the turkey into the boiling oil, but then he just stood and stared down at it. Finally we started teasing him, laughing about how since nobody had TV we will, by golly, watch anything that moves.
“No, by golly,” Curly defended himself. “I’m a-waitin’ t’see if this thing’s gonna tip over. That breeze is a-pickin’ up.”
Chief saved the day. He found a folding windshield screen and duct-taped it to the front of Curly’s motorhome.
The wind grew steadily stronger and I found myself glad of the intense solar radiation on my back. The turkey smelled amazing. I tried not to drool.
Forty-five minutes later we dined al fresco on a perfectly cooked moist, tender, juicy, delicious turkey dinner. The only sound was clicking of dentures and forks on plates in the desert breeze.
I could not have imagined, or wished, a more delightful day. When we have less, we appreciate more.
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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website, click here.