You Can’t Choose Your Neighbors, Either

The Harper Lee quote is about not being able to choose your family, but it applies just as well to neighbors in campgrounds.

Every time we pull in to a new location, we’re in for a surprise about what our site will be like exactly (wooded? sunny? level? small?) but also who our very close neighbors will be for the chunk of time we’re staying there.

Stockton Lake, Missouri

When we pulled in here before the weekend campers arrived, we had three neighbors.

They were (are, because they’re still here) a:

  • crazy old guy,
  • drug dealer,
  • hyperactive kid.

I don’t want to stereotype individuals, but these three neighbors are something else. The old guy yells obscenities to himself and, of course, to his off-leash dog. The drug dealer has a girlfriend and baby in the trailer who have come out maybe once, and his truck tire was completely flat when we pulled in, causing me to think about those neighbors in Ohio whom we were afraid couldn’t leave. And the kid, gah. Yelling, running, early in the morning, late at night.

Since then, more screaming kids riding those obnoxious razor scooters have arrived, plus more free-roaming dogs. Right now I’m watching a young man wash his breakfast dishes directly under a sign that says, “No dishwashing here.” And the photo above of a fire ring filled with trash is a not common but definitely a thing.

On the bright side, I walked down to the water this morning with this young man who complimented Banjo kindly and agreed to let me photograph him.

Plus, we always have our tent to retreat to, with music inside, and, coming up, privacy walls (when we pick them up in Texas). Note I took this shot before the neighbors moved in.

Stockton Lake

The lake we’re on is a huge reservoir, and the shoreline is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. Tracy says they lower the lake every winter, revealing the rocks and tree stumps we walk around when we’re on the shoreline, and in the spring it rises signficantly.

Walking along the shore and seeing the line of trees way above the water makes you feel like you’re walking on the bottom of a lake. Kinda are.

There are miles and miles of public use areas here: marinas, campgrounds, boat docks, even a bridle trail. Except for the crowded campgrounds, the roads and trails among them make for great walking.

We don’t know what this is; Tracy has a better photo of it in its dried-up cycle that I need to grab.

Can you spot Banjo’s tail here? She’s become quite the hunter, of small rodents and discarded fish parts.

Post script

The full quote I mangled for this title is, “You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” I’ve been lucky to have an offshoot family that I did choose, that of my ex-husband’s, who has continued to include me and even Tracy. This week they lost the patriarch of the family, a good man.

Also, the top photo is from downtown St. Joe.

You guys take care, and give ‘em hell.

4 thoughts to “You Can’t Choose Your Neighbors, Either”

  1. There is app called Seek (It has a leaf logo) that is free and you should download. It utilizes your phone camera. When you see something unknown – fungi, fauna or bug- simply point your camera & app at the object and it will pull up all of the necessary details Genus, species, common names, where typically found. I use it daily. Enjoy!

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