I got to have one more nice last visit with the Vagabond. It was somewhat trashed, of course, but still retained the character of its old self. And, like the Giving Tree, some more of my stuff had miraculously returned to it.
One year, my friend Will went to the Army surplus in Fort Lewis and bought brown, scratchy but truly warm expedition weight polypropylene long underwear for me and all our female friends who were working outside or in cold warehouses that winter. Reunited with the old Poly Pro!
And, most amazing was the return of the fabled Chicago Sweater. Many years ago, before I was born, probably, my Dad went to Chicago on a business trip. It was cold. So he bought this blue wool turtleneck sweater. Somehow, the Chicago Sweater became mine, then got relegated as beachwear. It is riddled with moth holes the size of quarters. Hugo thinks it is the cat’s pajamas.
I could not believe my good fortune in being able to retrieve such priceless artifacts! After everything is gone, all relics have sentimental value.
They even took the Vagabond signage. I should have snagged it myself. What was I thinking? I guess I never wanted to destroy it.
I was ready for it to go in the ocean.
Also, it must be noted that I am pretty sick of the drive here by now, after fourteen years. The night driving. The “smart” phone’s Weather setting that does not differentiate between “Rain” and “Coastal Flooding.” The demure signage of Grayland: “Water Over Roadway”, which should read “Prepare To Hydroplane.” The inevitable Tacoma traffic.
Why do I keep coming here? I stayed away for a long while, only focusing on the drive, the arduous means, not the end. But one night I drove down, and after the record-breaking rainfall, all the drainage ditches were full of high, brown water.
From these swamps, in the darkness, rose the reverb and grooves of some truly magnificent music: the songs of frogs in Spring. That is the sound of hopefulness, of promise. I had forgotten something critical.
I have recently been told, by separate people, that I have “bad energy”, and that I’m a self-absorbed ass. Oh, yes, you’re right, I’m sorry! Talk is cheap. Zen Tai Chi!
And so, it came to pass that while out on a stroll with Marcy I noticed that the Vagabond had disappeared. An Easter miracle! Neighbors, I learned, asked Pacific County that the whole assortment of derelict trailers go away. Infinite blessings.
The old ocean keeps eating this place, but slowly, at the moment. It would sure be nice if my friend Kenny got another year.There is a nice fort on the beach right now, which contains a plastic Fisher-Price house from the ’70s. I had one just like this!
You know what else I’m thankful for, dear readers? You, who have let me bend your ear, all these years. You have offered me sage advice in my times of need that has really, truly helped me. The perspective of strangers has felt like family, when family has felt like strangers. You comforted me when I lost my place, and you comfort me still.
Someone recently asked me if blogging pays. Well, no, not money, but yes, it absolutely does. Your feedback is currency. It’s worth keeping this thing going, just to spend time with you. I’m a selfish ass, after all.
P.S. I’ve updated my Washaway website to reflect my own story of doom. Check it out! http://www.washawaybeach.com