Maude didn't cost that much in repairs
Sharon Nesbit now drives Edna the motor home. Not much has changed since she and Jean drove Maude in 2000.
It is a scurrilous lie that Maude's previous mechanic retired on the profits from repairing our ancient and decrepit motor home.
No matter what they are saying, he could not live on Maude alone. There are not enough orange and brown motor homes for an orange and brown motor home mechanic to make a living wage.
Or it may be that other owners of orange and brown motor homes fix their own rigs. Jean and I do not. We are often in a fix, but that is a different thing.
Jean's husband, Lloyd, previously repaired Maude. When he died, his legacy along with a 1978 motor home, was a huge pile of discarded parts, burnt-out headlights, old carburetors, split hoses, worn belts and various flimjams, whoozits and whatzits for said motor home.
"First thing we do," I told Jean, "is throw out everything we can't identify."
Thus streamlined, Maude hit the road with more doilies than distributor caps and two operators barely able to summon the talent to change a battery.
Funny how history goes around. That was the summer Iraq invaded Kuwait and gas shot up 5 cents a gallon in a single day. "Swell," Jean said then, "We start driving a motor home and the price goes up."
Maude, Saddam Hussein and the mystics who divine the price of gasoline have been in our thoughts and budgets ever since. Maude thrives on equal parts of gas, oil and cheap champagne. When she runs right, she is delightful. When she does not, she is unabashedly reliant on the laying on of men's hands. She is a shameless slut who throws herself into the arms of the nearest mechanic and lolls around over the grease pit like a fat lady at a massage parlor.
In the interests of economy, Jean and I limit Maude's visits to the spa. Each spring we go over our list of "repairs du jour," picking a priority item we think we can afford.
Last year it was her leaking roof. This year, remembering a 110-degree-day in Red Bluff, Calif., we were hoping to get her engine air-conditioner running again. Parked and plugged in, Maude's house A/C works and she is blissfully cool. But on the road on a hot day, she is several kinds of orange and brown hell.
Our old mechanic knew how piteous Maude could be and how pitiful were our pocketbooks. He doled out limited fixes in the same way one parcels out sweets to a demanding child. When we suggest probing Maude's deep inner workings, he'd say, "We don't want to go there."
Last fall, as Maude gagged, choked and wheezed into winter quarters, I worried that even a long winter's nap would not put spring in her step come spring. I feared that this year she might need extra attention and Maude's former mechanic thought it might be time for a tune up.
There is no truth to the dastardly rumor that he quit before he had to do that.
What is true is that Maude fell into the arms of a new guy who catered to her every whim, convinced her that she was victim of motor home abuse, and did everything but iron, wash and starch her doilies.
I had to cash in my life insurance to pay her bills, if they wanted me to wait they should have called it death insurance, but Maude runs like a clock, spins down the freeway without complaint and has been cured of several gastric complaints that threatened to drive us from her interior.
We'll be on the road again, just as soon as we raise the money for a tank of gas.
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