Last Day at Berkshire Vista

Tomorrow will be our last day at Berkshire Vista.

We've said our good-byes to all our friends. We've missed a few here and there, I guess, but we did get to see most of you at the dance Saturday night. I had wanted to come down to the fire one last time, but was just too tired. Bob - keep those fires burning; they'll always burn in my memory.
This morning, around 6:00 AM, I stood for a while outside our trailer door, looking down over the grounds and the mountains below. This is such a beautiful place, but the damn tears kept clouding my vision.

I stepped down and took a walk around the Snob Hill circle. Not too many folks here on Monday, and it looks like the only ones awake were Cathy and Ralph. Pretty soon Mike will be up, puttering around fixing something. Donna will come out to check her flowers. Sheila and Paul get up fairly early too, but no sounds were coming from their trailer. Jack and Judy at the bottom of the hill are still here; I warned Judy that I'd be blubbering on her shoulder sometime today. She says she won't let me, but I will anyway.

We'll be busy today with the final clean-out and clean up. I'm writing this and thinking that next weekend Bruce will be sitting right here pecking away at his keyboard, and Deb will be tending to Linda's gardens. Damn tears make it hard to type.

A pretty little dark purple bird just landed on the railing just outside the door. She cocked her head at me. "What are you doing in there? Come out, walk around, try to burn what you can into your memory. Get out here."

Ayup. That's what I need to do. Linda is still sleeping. I don't want to disturb her, but I don't want her to miss the day either. Damn tears.

So I did. I walked down to the Ghetto, saw Deb and Paul on their way out the gate, Spencer walking toward the showers. Bob and Moe are awake; their TV is on anyway, and Bob and Diane are here, as are Rick and Fredda. Otherwise, the Ghetto is empty. Hey, Todd and Caroline, sorry we missed you.
I sat for a moment at the fire pit and brought back memories of dancing flames and familiar faces lit by its glow. I walked over to Skip and Robin's place; our first camper here. Gosh, the pines have grown. There's Bob and Carla's next door: you two are so special to so many of us in so many ways. And Eric on the other side, of course. Ghetto punch, is there anything more to say?

Gary and Pam's place. Gary's laughter has rolled over this mountain so many times. How could I ever forget that? And Pam's flowers...

There are ghosts here too. People who left before us. The old shed below the fire pit was a gift from folks who left about the time we first came. Matt Cooper's place: bagels and lox. Breakfast at Bob and Moe's, building the Pavilion, the Spaghetto's, Judy riding that little bicycle, Squeeze cooking up that wonderful chicken, Herman stopping by to trade breakfast coffee for the latest gossip, Skip howling at the fire, the potato gun, Wicked Wanda at the dances, philosophy with Ken, Linda falling through the deck, me struggling with our awning. Scrabble with Robbie and Julie. Jim on his little scooter. Andrew's incredible trailer renovations. Bill and Fran, Steve and Helen, the Daryl Brothers, the Berkshire Beavers, Dick's plans for Heaven, Bob and Jeanne's wedding - so many memories. Did I forget anyone? Of course I have. It's too much, too many smiling faces. Rich and Penny, Mark and Karen, Rick and Bugs, Bill and Irene.. we will miss you all.

I walked back up. As I came toward our place, the crooked old deck drew my eye. They say part of that deck could be thirty years old: Mike has shown us old, old pictures and it looks much the same. It's got to come down soon; Bruce and Deb say they may do a patio instead of a deck. Crooked old deck, how many naked feet have trod on its boards? When it reaches the fire, treat it with sacred respect: this was Big Lou's deck, Mike's Deck, Paul's deck; it holds memories of Birch Acres and BVR that only a few people even know.

I noticed the grass at the edge of the garden needed trimming. I always do that by hand; I could use the weed whacker, but I like to do it with hand clippers. It's relaxing. I dug the clippers out of the car and trimmed it up. I want it to look nice for Linda as we take our final look tomorrow, and for Deb when she drives in on Thursday. Damn tears made it hard to see the stalks; I probably missed some..
Bruce and Deb: we hope you fill your new BVR home with laughter every weekend. Put Chris to work on the caulking and sealing, and keep those gardens growing. We want pictures, dammit!
George and Tom: I hope you enjoy your new place too. I know Deb has scrubbed it top to bottom, and is as happy for you as we are for them. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you and I hope you have many years of enjoyment here.

Ed: good thing Marianne is there to push that bucket up the steep parts - and always with a smile.

Greg: somebody has to walk around the circle after I'm gone. It keeps the weeds down, and gives the folks sitting on their decks something to look at. All you need is a straw hat, your feet, and a smile.

Paul and Deb: when we lived in the Ghetto, it was always nice to spend a few minutes before sun-down with you at the fire.

Randy and Alison: I'll always think of you surrounded by blenders. You take care of yourselves.

Jackie and Bob: best of luck to you. I know it will be hard for you to leave too, but you are wonderful people and I wish you all the best. Yes, I know my ass looks big in everything.

Rita: I sold my ladder to Bruce, but I'm sure he'll let you borrow it to fix your satellite dish.

Cheryl and Steve: two people who always have a smile and a kind word. I'll miss seeing you.

Dave and Carol: keep on giggling, Carol. And Dave: you keep giving her reasons to.

Don: Dude! We saw you on TV! That was so neat...

Jon and Carol: special folks. Keep on truckin'.

Brenda: I hope you sell your place soon. Linda has been watering and doing a little weeding over there to keep it pretty for whoever buys it.

Tom: whenever I see you two playing tennis, Corrine seems to be beating you - why is that? Too much thinking about baseball, maybe?

Brooks and Cappy: please remember to keep that vicious mutt tied up. Brooks: why isn't Cappy's name on the cart?

Jeannie: make sure Paul keeps that trailer clean. He's almost as lazy as Mike, you know.

Fred and Donna: Deb has said the coffee window remains open for you, Fred, and I'm sure she'll appreciate Donna's floral wisdom as much as Linda did. You two take special care of yourselves. For those of you who don't know Fred, take the time to come up here and talk to him: he has great stories of the very old days at Birch Acres.

I'm forgetting people; I know I am. Your faces are swimming in front of me...

We'll miss each of you so much.

Oh, how could I leave without mentioning our All Mighty Master? Dan and Ginny - we'll miss you too. And Bob and Donna and Paul. Don't worry Paul, I'll dirty up the bathroom one more time before I leave. Of course Diane won't be at the gate as we drive away, but maybe Don will be out doing something by the pond - we'll miss seeing that, too. And Paula, of course - boop-boop-a-doop, kiddo.

Myra and my apparent distant relative Bob will be day-tripping next year, I hear. I wish you the best.
Many of you have asked if we'll be back to visit. We hope so, we'd like to think we can, but realistically, probably not. For Linda, it's just too hard now. She can't walk around, she can't go to the dance, her diet is restricted: it's just too hard to come here. If her health improves, yes, we'll be back.

But...

Many, many years ago we first drove up Kittle road. Driving down it tomorrow is going to be a hard, hard trip. In the years we were here we filled our hearts with joy. It is so damn hard to leave.

Hey folks, we'll miss you all. Damn these tears.



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