I never saw one prairie dog. That’s what I took away from my time in the desert. Sure, I saw scorpions and road runners and tons of lizards and all, but no prairie…waitaminute. Do they only live in the prairie? Is that why they’re called that? What exactly is a prairie anyway? Oh dear, now I feel stupid. So just ignore what I said. My time in the desert was just fine.
The campsite was tiny and mostly unoccupied when I arrived. Only one site was full, crammed to the gills with an RV clearly made for a lot twice the size. This was no weekend camper, these people were prepared to be here for a loooong time. A sign on the RV door said “Camp Host” so I pulled up outside and cut the engine. After eight hours of driving I was tired. Not nap tired or “I just need to lay down” tired, but the kind of weary where it feels like your very life force has been drained out of your toes. And I still had to set up camp.
I pried myself out of the car and approached the RV door, knees complaining the whole way. The door opened before I reached it and an odd little man stuck his head out, peering at me through the desert haze. He wore a plaid oxford button down and khaki pants, the kind of thing I’d expect to see my dad in if he and my mom were going out to dinner. Definitely out of place in this crusty, dry wilderness.
The camp host looked me up and down, taking in my fleshy rolls and blue hair. I looked as out of place as he did, I bet. I offered my hand and he took it, his dry palm scratching against my relatively soft one. I was still pretty green at that point, my only camping experience a two-day overnight in a state park back in Oregon. I’d spent most of the trip in my car, reading a magazine, eating a package of fudge grahams from Safeway, licking my fingers and then turning the page. I can’t say I really enjoyed the trip, but it was good to get my first camping experience out of the way. I hoped I still remembered how to assemble the tent.
Prompt: Prairie, Parlor, Purple