Columnist Sharon Nesbit has taken possession of her new motor home, replacing 'Rhoda,' which was stolen in December.

Blame it on the ghost of my father.

It was in early March many years ago that my father, not yet 40, died of a heart attack at work. My dad was a notorious tire kicker. He could not stay away when the new models came out, and he was putty in the hands of auto dealers.

NESBITNo surprise that he died with a new car in the garage, purchased weeks before with a trade-in and next to nothing down. Because of insurance, Mom got that car free and clear, just about the only benefit of her widowhood.

My brother inherited the car-trading gene and died with a half acre of junkers around his beat-up trailer, each a gem that would one day, he believed, prove useful. Of my grandchildren, one rarely drives and walks everywhere, and the other, Tiger, lives and breathes kicking tires.

He will drive me this week to collect the new-to-me motor home I bought to replace Rhoda, likely telling me the whole way that I left money on the table.

Rhoda, my last motor home, big toy and refuge, was stolen by scoundrels last December leaving me with insurance money but nothing to camp in. Worse, all my toys were in it. Games, music, books, dishes, cans of beans, my favorite griddle for pancakes, snug quilts, furry gloves, winter jacket, all my tools, hoses, extension cords and vice grips. Dang.

This new rig, though used, is empty — not so much as a can opener.

Friends have offered spare stuff because I will be camping before the month is out.

Readers will remember that Maude was the first motor home when Jean and I took off on our own. She was named for my great-aunt and Jonathan Winters' character, Maudie Frickert. Then came Rhoda, my grandmother, square and boxy, but comfy.

The new rig will be called Edna, my mother's name, ending a sequence of unlovely women's names in my family.

Just as well, because this will likely be my last rig. In calculating a possible long-term payment plan for this one, I realized I would be 102 when it was paid off.

My dad would have enjoyed that.

Sharon Nesbit is a former Outlook news reporter. She continues writing her column in retirement.

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