When Your Friends Are Squatters (Guest Post)

By Heather (aka Raindrop)

You know that feeling that invades when you haven’t seen someone in a long time?  The one that sits squarely in your gut, reminding you things might not be the same as they were the last time you spent hours on end with this person. 

I had that feeling before Tracy and Shelly parked their home at my home.  I worried the Airstream wouldn’t fit in the driveway quite right, I fretted over the pandemic and its endless limitations on socializing, I strained my brain to remember just how uncomfortable 30 mph coastal wind gusts could be during happy hour.

And then they showed up. The Airstream didn’t just fit, it looked damn good in our driveway. The iconic aluminum shell dazzled in the sun as the solar panels soaked up power.  The interior, with everything in its place, overflowed with warmth and light, negating my preconceived notion of cramped claustrophobic living. Shelly and Tracy are basically living outside with a thin yet strong, protective layer between them and the wonders of nature.  

Now I fully understand how living in the trailer transports Shelly to the place she has always felt most at home: outdoors.

Navigating Covid quickly became old hat as we shifted our bodies from one deck to another, seeking the sun amidst the cool north winds.  When the sun took its leave, we huddled around the firepit enjoying Shelly’s ukulele skills.  And here is what those of you who haven’t had the privilege of listening in person need to know:  she’s not the struggling newbie she purports herself to be.  She knows dozens of songs by heart, and she can even sing while she plays. A few of her renditions drew spontaneous applause from me, George, and Tracy.  Really.  Good.  Stuff. Bravo, Shel!

The week wouldn’t have been complete without a bit of drama.  Elsie, our 11-year-old mixed-breed pup, started off strong by eating 40 pieces of sugar-free gum containing xylitol.  Turns out one piece is enough to kill a small dog.  Needless to say, that put a damper on our first happy hour as George and I scurried off to the animal hospital where said pup spent a few days on an IV drip recovering from her gastric adventure.  

True to form, this is where a 30+ year friendship shines.  I felt not one ounce of guilt or weirdness over the next few days.  Had this happened while I was at home and Shelly was on the road, she would have been the first person I called.  Instead of a phone call, we strolled the beach while I shared all the scary details.

This morning Tracy and Shelly loaded up Banjo, expertly and efficiently hitched the Airstream to the truck (you can tell they’ve had lots of practice) and pulled out of our driveway.  I am excited for their next few weeks as they make their way to William & Mary to celebrate Finn’s graduation.  Admittedly, I am also a bit nostalgic for the months leading up to their visit here.  It was awfully fun to anticipate our week together.  

Tracy and Shelly, may the climate suit the very few clothes you own, and if you have to travel to where the chilly wind blows, please make it to my beach driveway.