America’s Road Ahead: Notes From a Real Roadie

The day after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared President- and Vice President-elect, I sat down to express my thoughts in this blog…and quickly realized someone had already expressed them for me. “Raven and Chickadee” is the blog of my friends Laurel and Eric, who left their home in Ashland, OR several years ago for a life on the road as full-time RV-ers. Until COVID, which…well, I’ll let Chickadee (Laurel) tell it. The photos are by Raven (Eric).

Bridging The Divide

Wow. Is it really over? I hope so. I am deeply relieved to step off of this insane election roller coaster.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows us that we did not vote for the incumbent. But this election has made me think long and hard about the state of our country.

Strangers In A Strange Land

Our hometown—Ashland, Oregon—is about as liberal a town as you’ll find anywhere. That’s one of the things that drew both Eric and me to live there many years ago. For decades, we lived in a town of like-minded folks, where the biggest controversy was how to humanely manage the deer mowing down people’s gardens.

We now find ourselves in Eastpoint, Florida—a stronghold of conservatives, where we are liberal outliers in a community rife with Trump flags and signs.

When we took to the road for our fulltime travels seven-and-a-half years ago, one of my fears was that we wouldn’t find people with whom we had anything in common. That has not turned out to be true. Our network of friends has expanded to a rich and satisfying tribe that extends from coast to coast.

In our travels, we’ve also discovered that people, by a vast majority, are decent. Even if we aren’t destined to become close friends, we’ve been touched time and again by the kindness of strangers, no matter what their political or religious beliefs. That includes our neighbors here in Eastpoint, who have been unfailingly kind and generous as we’ve navigated these difficult months of dealing with my parents’ home, my father’s death, and the pandemic.

The piney woods in North Florida

The Long Road Ahead

This election was certainly not the Blue Wave that we anticipated. While we are thrilled to have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our new president and vice-president, it is painfully clear that we have a long road of healing ahead. And it’s up to us, the people, to heal our nation.

I hope we will be kind to one another, that we will approach each other in a spirit of generosity, that we will listen to each other’s concerns, that we will try to understand, and that we won’t fall into the seductive trap of labeling and dismissing anyone who votes or thinks differently. (I am excluding anyone who voted for Trump for racist reasons. That includes anyone flying a Confederate flag or wearing a MAGA hat. The time of white supremacy is long over, so get over it. )

We do not have an easy task ahead. Personally, I’ve had a field day with the absurdities of Trump over the past four years (along with feeling terrified and outraged). But along with the vast majority of our neighbors here in Eastpoint who voted for Trump, Eric and I both have family members and friends who voted for him. These are not racist, unkind, ungenerous people. They had their reasons for voting for Trump, just as we had our reasons for voting for Biden. Somehow, we need to find compromises.

The chasm is wide. But we have to bridge it, for the sake of one another, our country, and our world.

A utility trailer in Appalachicola

One Week After…Not Quite Ready To Leave The Bubble

I finally turned on the news today, a week after the election. I lasted exactly 11 minutes before turning it off again.

I know. I’m a wuss. I promise I’ll get tougher. But right now I want to stay in my bubble a little longer…a bubble I created, by scheming behind my husband’s back for six months.

…for a surprise birthday party, people! What were you thinking? Really! For shame.

Yeah, my Mate turns 70 in two weeks. I figured the only way to truly surprise him was to have the party two weeks early. Since that date coincided with a three-day weekend (thank you, Veterans!), my Evite received many Yesses.

I sent that Evite out first in May. I’ve been party-planning ever since. The triumph of the surprise, I knew, would be the arrival of Son One (all the way from Puerto Rico) and Son Two (from Vermont)  And when election day blew up in our faces happened, the anticipation of that surprise kept me going like a warm stove in an otherwise frozen house. Like a light at the end of a tunnel. Like…oh, just pick a simile, would you? You know what I mean.

The only problem? I couldn’t share that anticipation with my Mate. Miserable as we both were last week, my misery was alleviated by hope and love, and his…well, his had to wait till Friday at 2 pm, when Sons One and Two snuck in the back door and said, “Hi, Dad.”

At that, my Mate entered the bubble with me. Finally.

I’ll get back to regular posting soon enough. I’m already hard at work on my writing, and the other components that make up the life of a baking ex-teacher.

We'll think about the election tomorrow...or maybe the day after that...

We’ll think about the election tomorrow…or maybe the day after that…

But for now…I think I’d like to stay in my bubble just a few more days. Can you blame me? There was lots of love and lots of pie.