No matter where we are, it's the people who make the difference. The other volunteers, the permanent staff, the public, when we have contact with them. We have been here at Casa Grande Ruins for over two months now, plus six weeks last winter. We know all of the staff, as well as the volunteers. The volunteer parking compound, the VIP room, the visitor center--all of them feel like home. It really feels like family.
We are very private people. This is the first time we have been parked with five other couples who are also volunteers and we wondered what it would be like. At some volunteer sites, there are nightly campfires or weekly pot luck dinners. We sure weren't interested in that. Thankfully, we have had only one cocktail hour gathering,
one potluck and one dinner outing to a neighborhood restaurant. That is reasonable and helps us feel like we are a team.
At three of our volunteer assignments, we were the only VIPs. At one site in Oregon, the closest house was one-half mile away. At one state park in Texas, several nights mid-week we were the only people in the park. We love that kind of solitude or isolation.
But whether we live near others or far away, work with a large team or only a few, it is the people who make the difference. Twice, we couldn't wait to get away from the staff. And in at least one of those instances, the feeling was probably mutual. They merely tolerated having volunteers and we never hit it off with them.
In other cases, the people we worked with were so nice that we loved the assignment, even though the work itself wasn't really that great.
The people are also what make the difference as we live on the road. We have gotten to know other RVers as we encountered them on the road or as we read their blogs. We keep in contact, we make arrangements to get together. Last winter, we drove to Yuma to visit Bruce and Nancy, who we had met as we traveled through the Maritime Provinces of Canada. We also visited David and Joanna at Organ Pipe National Monument. We first met them along the California coast on our way to Oregon. They came here to see us last month. Just last week, Ron and Barbara, who we learned about from Barbara's blog, came by the Monument to show their visiting family this local tourist site. They also picked up some plexiglass that we have no further use for, but Ron could put to good use.
As I said in an earlier blog, we also me a couple, Jim and Jeri, for lunch last week. We worked with them last summer. And we had hoped to get together with Nan and Norm, who we worked with in Colorado last summer and who are also in Arizona for the winter. That hasn't worked out.
This year we also have made contact with people here in Arizona that we had known in Colorado, as well. By the time we move on, we will have met with at least three couples from home.
We may be private, solitary people. But people make a difference in our lives, wherever we are.