Situating, Helicoptering, Celebrating

Getting Situated in Honeydale

We’ve been here about three weeks, but I still stumble when friends ask how I like our new winter digs. They’re asking and I’m stumbling because, several times before we got here, I talked about how this could be the place we pick to come back to each winter. But the jury’s still out.

The Town

I was excited for us to ride our bikes through a small, historic town. Turns out Brownsville is pretty damn big. The bike trails are about as consistent as the sidewalks (not), and as an old border town, there’s a lot of poverty.

Which doesn’t freak me out. The loose dogs do.

Tracy told me about street dogs in Mexico, and, heck, the last time I was in the West Indies, Finn and I befriended so many I created a digital photo album of them as a way to show off our trip. But none of that prepared me for the German Shephard whizzing past me, barking with intent, chasing a bright blue car that seriously looked like it had been up to no good and was trying to lose that dog fast. They each almost wrecked as they weaved in and out of traffic (and me).

Then there are the chihuahua mixes that hide behind bushes to RUSH you unawares. They roam the streets in packs like tribbles, but evil universe tribbles.

The jury’s still out.

The RV Park

Honeydale itself really is a mobile home park; most residents live and work (or are retired) in Brownsville fulltime. We happen to be parked in the middle of a handful of snowbirds: they divide their time between overseeing upgrades on their mobile homes, meticulously attending to their tiny lawns, and starting happy hour in each other’s car decks around 3 pm. There’s bingo and karaoke but I haven’t ventured there yet.

I walk Banjo inside the big ole fence that keeps out the chickens and stray dogs and would-be bicycle thieves (everyone keeps telling me about those). I walk myself out on the bike path by the county park with a playground and athletic fields and perpetual soccer games.

We’re still ordering stuff to catch up with our to-do list plus getting ready for Finn’s visit (see below). One major thing at a time. Too early to tell. Yadda yadda.

Helicopter Parenting

Finn started his day of travel on Dec 30 in West Virginia around 1 pm. Poor guy: by midnight his second flight tried to land in Brownsville twice but turned tail and went back to Dallas due to amazingly thick fog.

He has some flying experience, even a good bit internationally, but I don’t think he’d ever had to rebook a flight, never at midnight in a strange city. So, after Tracy and I got back from the airport (I’d paced the empty gate area as Finn’s flight circled), I frantically texted with him about next available flights, googled how to try to sleep in DFW, and calculated if a hotel would be worth it. Nothing was the clear choice.

By 2 am while he was at the gate desk in Dallas, it dawned on me that Karen—of my three glorious Karen friends, she’s the oldest friend, aka Karen of The Show—lives nearby.

I text her. It goes something like this.

Me: “Are you awake?”

Karen: “Well, yes, I am.”

“How far are you from the airport?”

“20 mins”

“Can Finn come to your house?”



“I’ll go get him.”

This is the secret about old friends that young people don’t know. Maybe you’ve grown into adults who don’t share all the same views. Maybe you live across the country and don’t see each other for years. But you both can still sing the Oscar Mayer commercial in an opera voice in harmony like you did together at age 6, and you both would go get the other’s kid at the airport at 2 am totally out of the blue.

By 2:30 am Finn had rebooked a flight and smartly Ubered to Karen’s house.

By 10 the next morning, he and Karen were getting to know each other.

By noon he was raking her yard.

By 3 pm they were texting me separately as new members of the Finn and Karen Mutual Admiration Society.

By 7 pm he was in Honeydale.

Celebrating Being Together

It was New Year’s Eve.

We moved the camp chairs to the front of the trailer where we had a better view of fireworks from yards all around us. I made French 75s and hors d’oeuvres from the NYTimes food app (butter boards and roasted grapes, oh my). We decompressed. We reminisced. We simply chilled together.

Let the new year begin with a huge sigh of relief.

And a sleeping young man on the couch, and more dishes than we’ve even had in the Airstream piled in the kitchen by his head, and a dog who’s relieved that the night of fireworks and gunshots is over.

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