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A camper’s goodbye!

As my last couple of days here in Golden come to a close I think back on all of the families that have walked behind me on the bike path. I have heard many stories, seen many fights between strangers over masks, and conflicts with bikers vs. walkers. I have seen familiar faces that walk the path every day and always have a smile to lighten up the day. I have seen families play in the creek, children throwing rocks, and overheard deep philosophy. I am sure these are the memories that kids will remember as they grow up, the times they played in the creek (the location unknown, as most kids won’t recall that), and the times they played with siblings in an outdoor wonder land.

Today as I was sitting on the couch eating my breakfast a certain family caught my attention. A dad in a wheelchair with two very young boys passed the path and stopped at the stairs near me which lead to the river. The kids went bolting into the river with the mother while the dad stayed above on the bike path. Three stairs was holding a dad back from grabbing the hands of his young boys and playing in the river, or kissing his wife in appreciation of life, or standing as one as they shared one of the simplest moment in life. He sat monitoring the bikes, watched from a distance and attempted to parent from a distance away. The frustration on his face was visible for the river over took his voice.

The dad gave instruction that play time was done and the wife cleaned their feet and put on their white socks and shoes. The youngest boy with the brightest blonde hair came back to his dad and tried to climb on his lap, but after a few seconds, did not want any part. The oldest boy, climbed over the fence into my land. The dad, which I appreciated yelled at him and told him to not walk on my draining hose. I thought how frustrating that must be to have a few stairs separate you from interacting with your family. I guess depending on what the situation was you get used to having these obstacles, but in time it seems like it would build up.

I struggle and have become depressed over the condition of my knee, and even though it goes in and out all of the time and the pain is horrible, I can still walk. I might not be able to hike or step on the rocks that I treasure so much in life, but at least I can still feel the ground under me. Every day (well almost everyday) I see the same women walk by. Her smile is electrifying. She is always dressed in business attire, no matter of the day, and carries a mid size black purse. I sometimes wonder what she carries in the mid size purse, for it always lays flat amongst her body. Her nicely groomed white hair is never out of place and she will stand near RV row smiling. Today she was near mine and as I opened the door I instantly became happy to see her. She smiled and I said hello. She saw that I was holding Joe and must have thought he was a puppy, for she commented on his size. She proceeded to tell me that when her children were young she got a puppy so they could grow up together. We exchanged our pleasantries and then I continued to walk to Joe with a large smile on my face. I really want to get know this women, for her life seems a mystery to me. She seems beyond delightful and full of life and knowledge. I feel that she would have so much to give and share about her experiences, but something holds me back from asking.

I thought of all of the people who walk the path and why they do it. Some walk the path for exercise, to re-live a moment in time, to go from one location to another, or to find a home for the night along the cold river. They all have touched my life in one way or another. I have found an amazing amount of protection from either my neighbors or passing cars ensuring that I get home safely. I have enjoyed seeing the faces and being a part of their lives even if we are separated by a fence. I have enjoyed smelling their perfume, laundry soap, or sunscreen (which is a smell that I hate after working in a theme park for so many years).

I joke to my family and friends that I live in a zoo and behind a fence for a reason. I am like a wild animal that is just missing the following signs: do not feed, or touch and are here to be observed for behavioral patterns. I will miss watching the faces of the young and old walk by each RV and talk about the set up, hoses and hooks up. I watch their faces as they imagine their lives here. Some people might just walk by and think who are these crazy people living in an RV along a river in a parking lot near the City of Golden water treatment offices.

To me this place was the life saver when I needed a home fast. The management team was amazing and worked with the RVers during the COVID stay at home order and communicated regularly the plan. I was happy to have the ability to see people daily, have them smile over Joe as he carried his toy, Mr. Hedge Hog, and had the ability to grill out. I continually received praise over the food I cooked from walkers and was asked questions about the RV. I can say that no matter what, I am grateful for this life and this spot. The next journey will come soon, but for now, I will embrace the final days and the final memories that filled my heart.

Here is a song that comes to mind as I sat by the river! Enjoy

Photo taken in Golden, Colorado, 2020.

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