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Holidays Far From Home

Bob Hazlett - Yucca Valley, CA
(Americans from Every Corner of the Land, All Enjoying a Day of Thanks)

The Joshua tree will never be a Christmas tree and most people call it ugly. My feeling is more one of appreciation. I have never seen anything in nature that is ugly -- just different. And, the difference is why we roam the country in our fifth wheel.

This Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years is different than any other in our life. We are from Ohio (read: north--cold, and east--wet).

Family and friends are spread around the country. Our son and his family live in Denver. One daughter and her family are in Fayetteville, NC. Our other daughter and her family live in Cincinnati, OH. Friends are scattered around the country, with a large contingent in Titusville, FL.

So where are we as the 2012 holiday season comes upon us? We are in the high desert of California, volunteering as camp hosts at Black Rock Canyon Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, Yucca Valley, CA. As you might guess, days are warm, nights are cold, and humidity is lowwwwwww all the time. Flies and mosquitoes do not live here.

The campground was full for Thanksgiving, many folks here for a four day weekend. Some just stopped for a respite in their greater journey. Others are locals looking to hide from the insanity of traditional celebrations (read: Black Friday).

Our typical population here is about half and half tent campers and RV campers. Wandering around on
Thanksgiving afternoon, we met folks cooking turkey in more different ways than I can name -- deep frying was a popular choice. However, I didn't see any turkeys being done over an open campfire.

Young couples camping out of their car and sleeping in tiny tents remind me of our early years. Troops of Boy Scouts make me feel good about our future. Seniors, in all manner of RVs and towables, cheer me about what is possible in this great land of ours. As my mind rolled over the years from our own tiny tent, through years of camping with kids, to our present freelance life style, I am very thankful for the life we have been able to live and the country that has made it possible.

We did not sit at a big table overflowing with bounty. We did not enjoy the live company of family and close friends, but modern technology made it possible to speak with everyone in our life that matters. We spent the day with our larger family -- Americans from every corner of the land, all enjoying a day of thanks in our great outdoors.

The smells of Thanksgiving dinners cooking in 99 campsites was delicious and I'm sure the aroma reached all the critters in the mountains around us. I wonder what they thought.

Thanksgiving this year was different for us, but it was good -- very good.

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