Nesbit: Rhoda's gone and I'm left with only a residue of joy
I keep telling myself that it's just a vehicle. It's just steel and parts, a comfy couch and a bad habit of using too much gasoline.
Rhoda, the motor home, was stolen last weekend in Boring. First they came for her catalytic converter, and then as she sat waiting for the tedium of insurance to kick in, they (I presume there is only one set of such criminals in Boring) came for her.
For the record, if your no-good kid has parked it behind your barn and told you he got a deal on it, get a lawyer and call the police. She is a 24-foot white box truck, a Tioga motor home on a 2003 Ford chassis, a slide on the left side and a pink flamingo on the back tire cover.
She is just a thing, I know, but she has been my respite and my joy for a long time, and I miss her. A few days camped on the Columbia River in Rhoda took care of many woes and ills. And there was always the solace of fried Spam for breakfast.
The police asked if there was anything valuable in it, and I had to admit there was not. No guns, no ammo and no electronics. Just an old TV. Oh, and a Scrabble game.
We define value differently. There are pictures, snapshots, mementoes and post cards of all the places Jean and I traveled when we took off in the first motor home, Maude. Those were the days we had to carry extra quarts of oil to keep Maude happy.
Then came Rhoda and we could travel farther with fewer stops at repair shops.
There is a Coca-Cola bottle on the kitchen counter. When my brother was dying in Arizona, it was presented to me as a vase with a rose in it. There is a wine bottle, from the winery at McMenamins Edgefield with my face on the label. There is a pillow Julie made, a homemade afghan that I made and a Mexican blanket, gift from friends, that works on cold nights to keep my feet warm. There are old jeans and T-shirts, extra sets cosmetics so I didn't have to move so much from home to rig.
But what can't be appraised is the residue of joy that made the motor home so pleasant.
There are memories of little boys spilling out of the top bunk. Memories of traveling with Maggie the cat who went nuts and paced the back and forth in front of the windshield when she saw a herd of wild horses in Montana. Of cooking huge pots of soup and stew for gatherings, cramming 10 people in for a party. (Ah yes, and the folding cart to carry the food. That is gone as well.)
I talked with the insurance people but there is no replacing the stuff I will miss the most and the comfort of her cozy interior. Her theft is much more than a material loss. Who knew you could love a truck?
If you see Rhoda, call the police.
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