After my recent visit to Arizona for Sarah Keller's wedding [my dear friend from high school], I have a lot to say. I'm going to do it in installments. This is one of them.

My grandparents unknowingly did me a great service while I was growing up: they moved into a 55+ mobile home park when I was 5.

Grandpa could no longer handle the high altitude of their mountain home, and Grammy had just spent a month in the hospital recovering from a horrible infection, so they needed something in the valley, and the sooner the better. My grandpa's sister and her husband had a mobile home in this park that they were looking to sell, so my grandpa traded them a piece of land for it, and they moved in.

Their community was called Mesa Village, and despite the lack of children, with the exception of when my cousins came to visit, it was a dreamland. White and grey (unless they used artificial color) haired people rode around the palm lined streets in golf carts and on three-wheeled bicycles. There was a heated pool and a car wash, shuffleboard courts, a clubhouse, weekly bingo, pool tables, and one of those toning machines with a strap you wrap around whatever part of your body you're looking to work and it wiggles and jiggles you into perfect form. And there was so much artificial turf.

I made friends with a few of the residents. I would make my way down to their mobile homes for conversation and treats, mind not to splash their hair in the pool, get rides in their golf carts (and when I got older, they let me get behind the wheel), and waved as I would pass by on the macaroni and cheese colored three-wheeled bicycle my grandparents eventually got. It's the same trike my cousin Megan and I had a major wreck on while riding around the park. She was pedaling, and I was in the back basket sitting on top of old Reader's Digests. It was a little wobbly, and we were going a little fast around a corner. We tipped over around space 188. Some of the residents came out to two crying girls, and one walked down to space 11 to get our Grandma and parents.

I practiced driving on the straight and winding roads with the 10 MPH speed limit, and I'm sure I left many a burned skin cells on the asphalt in the summer when I would forget to wear shoes to the pool. Oh that pool. It's where I learned to swim. And I was certain a boa constrictor lived in one of the corners of the deep end.

My grandpa died in his sleep in their home in 2001, so on my way home from the rehearsal dinner, I decided to revisit Mesa Village. As soon as I turned in, I was overwhelmed. I passed the row of houses until I got to space 11, taking note that the Peaches [Kent and Karen] still lived next door in space 9. They always went all out with Christmas lights, and this year is no different. I sat for a while in front of my grandparents'. I thought of all of the family visits, the sleep overs, the pancake breakfasts and chicken seasoned with Mrs. Dash dinners. There were two large bushes growing in the yard that hadn't always been there. One spring, a tomato plant came up, and delivered hundreds of cherry tomatoes for the season. It was way too many for my grandparents to eat, so it was open to neighbors. Grammy would fill used Country Crock tubs full, and we'd eat them on everything.  Another year, in the back yard, a century plant bloomed, and they had another plant that was the talk of the park.

When I got back to my Aunt Brenda's house, I mentioned that I went by, and Grammy said that her brother took her by last year, and she knocked on the Peaches door, but nobody answered. I told her I'd take her the next day, and after a bit of help with the wedding the following morning, I picked her up and away we went. The Peaches were home this time, and we spent about 15 minutes visiting with them. Kent offered to send a small stool home for my girls. After our visit, we drove around the park. The car wash has been gone for a long time, but they've added a putting green. There's something so super rad about streets filled with perfectly angled, metal sided homes with awnings and a screened-in porch or carport on either side. I feel like a soundtrack by John Swihart should constantly be playing because it sets the perfect tone.

When we left, we searched in vain for a Bahama Bucks, but ended up at Sonic for a "cold drink." We talked about things I'll write about in another installment, like sweet moments she had with her in-laws. While chomping on a fry, I asked her, "If you could be anywhere in the whole wide world right now, where would it be?" She thought for a moment, and gave me an unexpected answer.

"Right here with you, Breezy. I loved our little adventure." And I sat and thought for a moment, and knew she'd so simply summed up exactly what was in my heart.


  1. As soon as I saw your post was about Mesa Village,I thought about our little bike accident! So many memories in that community. I too remember burning the bottom of my feet racing to the pool!

  2. Bahama Bucks at Southern & Mesa Drive is still there, and the other one I know of is on Power and.... South of Baseline...

    Amy Brown.. mom2bjm

  3. Many good times at that place. I remember when we were all there how we upped the volume of that place by exponential quantities lol. And probably drove most of the neighbors nuts but it sure holds some good memories.



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