We climbed the retractable stairs into our weekend home (the family RV), leaving our sandy flip flops on a mat below. We had woken to the sun peeping over a distant mountain some lazy minutes before. The desert’s expanse shone with fresh sunlight, dazzling and dripping from cacti. My friend R and I had drifted to sleep the night before lullabied by wind, domesticated by the cradled shelter of the RV.
Papa had already started coffee in the tiny coffee maker hanging from the miniature kitchen cabinets. Atop the compact gas stovetop, he unhurriedly cooked bacon in a cast iron skillet as we chatted about an interesting newspaper article, then the temperature, then human rights. Mama contrasted her Japanese parents’ experiences in the 50’s; brow furrowed, chewing on an unexpected question; synthesizing old with new and different with same. We learned from each other. Bacon sizzled; flipped with a pair of chopsticks.
The RV door clattered open and cousin entered; she was happy to sit in the ambience, not offering opinions nor eating much. Pancakes next. Paper plates pulled from creviced cabinets. We filled our plates and walked out into the martian landscape to eat at our canopy-sheltered picnic table outside the RV. Cousin stayed in the armchair inside; it was a few minutes before we noticed.
The sand wasn’t too hot yet and the breeze was friendly and pleasant. Presently a few others from the group meandered around the RV’s berth to join, pulling up more folding lawn chairs and squeezing into newly created space. Some Asian; some white. Conservative parents of fledgling adults. The conversation became philosophical and then political. Voices in the circle sang different tunes. But the web of words we spun remained elastic; dynamic. Thoughtful and charitable rather than rigid and antagonistic. A successful sharing of ideas and cherished truths.
Gradually, those less inclined steered the conversation into shallower waters. Someone proffered a pan of rice crispy treats. We watched the doves and quail encroaching on our site streak away into the brush with tossed bits of bread. Our number dwindled as some returned to their own RV’s and began to pack up.
Moments to remember.