In the morning I made another run to Wal*Mart and picked up a few odds and ends: a sharpening steel (all the knives in Gertie's drawers were very dull), some replacement fluorescent tubes for the light over the table (GE "Natural Color," much less oppressive than the usual blue-green color of cool-white fluorescents)...and ten apples for tonight's apple pie. After lunch (a pan pizza at Pizza Hut, for which I had to wait over half an hour—excruciating boredom with nothing to read!), Judie stopped by. I really enjoy sitting in Gertie chatting with her; it makes the place seem so homelike.
Then she and I went in one car and David and Lisa in another to the small towns of Sonoita and Patagonia, where we visited several galleries and gift shops. I didn't buy anything, but I did spend a pleasant ten minutes sitting with a large, friendly mackerel tabby outside one sculpture and ceramics place. It was my first contact with a cat in over a week, and made me miss Marie. Well, I'll be with her tomorrow night. All in all it was a pleasant, unhurried afternoon.
— Later —
Well, the pie didn't quite happen. Although I had been promising it to everyone for several days, when the time came two things interfered: first, Judie's neighbor Pauline had made a carrot cake (which turned out to be absolutely superb, perhaps the best I have ever eaten). Second, after I had prepared the apple filling and was ready to start on the crust, it turned out that there were no rolling pins in sight—Gertie had none, and Judie's was somewhere at the Cottonwood house (she rarely makes pies, apparently because she disapproves of crusts). So given that we already had a dessert (two, actually, because there was still quite a surprising amount of Pauline's chocolate cake left over), I decided to bag the pie—literally. I put the filling in a Ziploc bag and stuck it into Gertie's refrigerator, and Judie made it into a cobbler later in the week, after I'd gone.
Tonight's dinner was "scraps," as Judie described it, but very tasty scraps they were! We had our choice of black quinoa (a grain I had never had before, with a beautiful look and texture), basmati rice, lentils, pasta, meat sauce, Brussels sprouts, mini-pizzas with onions and red bell peppers, and of course the two cakes. Delicious! As a cook, Judie is a superb improviser.
We all sat around afterward and chatted until David and Lisa finally went back to their monster Monaco; then Gary and I talked for another half hour or so about this and that. I hope he feels that I'm worthy of Gertie. I know that if she were mine, I'd be very protective of her...and probably just as reluctant to sell her as he is.
There were so many things we wanted to do and didn't...visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Biosphere II, the local circus...and so much to talk about. I had good opportunities to talk with Judie, but Gary's crazy work schedule offered less time to be with him, and I regret that. Well, as he said, once I have Gertie and they have Gertie II, maybe we can meet somewhere and hang out. He even suggested that they might follow me partway across the country when I finally do buy Gertie. I'd love that. We could take our time, visit a few factories...
Well, it's 22:23 and I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow, so I'd better brush my teeth and get to bed. It's hard to believe that the week has slipped by so fast, and that this is my last night with Gertie. At least Bev is feeling well enough to come along with Judie and me to the Tucson airport tomorrow, so I'll get a last chance to talk with her.
It's been quite an adventure—unlike anything I've done before. I owe a lot to Judie and Gary. By gently feeding me info about RVing without any pressure, Judie opened up a whole new world to me, one that offers horizons much broader than my nearsighted existence in recent years has afforded.
She and Gary generously opened their homes (Tessie and Gertie) to me, fed me, put up with the fumblings of an enthusiastic but still relatively ignorant RVing beginner, and patiently instructed me in Gertie's care and feeding. (Oh, I know there's a lot more to learn, but that's part of the fun.) I just hope someday I can repay their generosity—if not to them, then perhaps to some other RVing beginner. But for now, I have my work cut out for me: learning and planning for the time when I can actually begin my travels with Gertie.