The Trailer Park
He showed up for work at Shawster Market as usual at 7:30 in the morning. Today's first assignment was to gather ten items from the shelves and deliver them to S18 at a trailer park. Wait, a trailer park? Trailer parks were supposed to be in the middle of nowehere, not on the edge of a city of 700,000 on the Eastern Seaboard. But he couldn't argue with his assignment. He needed the money, so he dutifully gathered the merchandise, put them in his car, looked at the directions for finding the place, and set off in the car.
Getting to the big intersection was easy. He turned left at the light, that was easy too. But what came next was much harder. The Park's street number was 1515, but there was a big apartment building under construction, and when he tried to turn into it, he was blocked. "This is not the place," the construction worker told him. "This is 1545."
So he got on his cell phone and called the customer, who seemed used to dealing with baffled delivery people.
"Go down to the next intersection, take the jughandle, and go back to the big intersection, and make a U-turn. This time, when you see the gas station, take a right down the ramp at the '1515' sign. This is the Beantown Trailer park. At the bottom of the ramp, take a left onto S Street. I'm in the tenth trailer on the right."
Right. He cautiously turned down the ramp in question. The right side of the ramp was filled with parked cars – construction workers for the apartment buildings? The left side had a guard rail, behind which someone had planted a narrow but extensive garden running from top to bottom. There were peonies in bloom. There was a very tall rose bush that seemed to have two types of roses – one kind dark red, the other kind pink. Further down, there were a dozen dwarf Alberta Spruces, between which there were sprawling hostas. And two holly bushes. And lovely pale blue irises. Someone had lavished a lot of work on that garden. But thick vegetation was creeping over the fence that separated the garden from the apartment construction area.
At the bottom of the ramp, there was a smaller garden to the right. This was getting overgrown, too, but it had some more irises and roses.
He took the left turn onto S Street and slowly scanned the trailers as he passed them. Every single one was unique. Every yard reflected a different approach to trailer park living. Some people kept their lawns mowed. Some had junk and weeds and who knows what else? There was a fence along the street, separating the park from the apartment buildings. An elderly man who must have been in his late eighties hobbled along the edge of the street. A tiny child was playing with toys in one yard, laughing with delight.
Now he was in front of some recycling bins. Ahead, up against the fence, were a couple of dumpsters piled high with trash. Stuff was piled on the ground betwen them – old washing machines, mattresses, bits of lumber, bags of yard waste.Someone had tried to plant a little garden near the dumpsters, too – some tea roses, salvia, tiger lilies, even a potted arborvitae that was browning in the center. Weeds were threatening to choke these noble plants.
Then he looked to his left and saw a sign – S18 – in the window of a modest gray trailer that was set back from the road, half-hidden by a tall arborvitae tree to the right of it. He called the number he'd been given, and an elderly man in a green bathrobe came out to thank him for the groceries. "I'm sorry it's so hard to find this place," he apologized.
As he was leaving the park, he wondered what it must be like to live there, with vegetation impinging from every direction, tenants who ran the gamut from neat to messy, and the prospect of a huge apartment complex looming over everything once it was finished.
But there was also a beautiful riverbank further into the Park. He could see the river from the spot where he first came down the ramp. Geese flew overhead. It was a strange mix of people, perhaps, but judging from the age of some of the trailers, some residents must stay put once they came to live there. A friendly lady walking her dog waved as he turned back up the ramp to get backo n the highway.