It was an especially long day…345 miles…about 8 hours with stops and a 2 hour wait at Denny’s because of a serious accident on I10.  I finally arrived only to hear, “I’m sorry but I don’t have you registered and we are full.  It was 5:45 and dark!  I went out in the van and got my reservation book and it said…Gulf Coast RV Park…Beaumont, TX…$40.50 deposit on VISA!!!  She repeated that she had no record of my reservation and that they never take a deposit…you just pay when you get there.
OK, THEN!  So, I sat in the office a minute to think about what to do.  Then I saw a page number next to my notes…I found the campground in my membership catalog.  I went out to the van and on that page was the name of a different campground.  I called them…thank goodness their office was open late…and they said THEY had my reservation and my deposit!  So while holding my breath, I told them where I was and asked where they were!!!  “Oh, honey you are only 3 miles from here.”
YES!!!!!!!  I got directions, apologized to the woman who must have thought I lost my mind, and off I went TO Hidden Lakes Resort.   I was only scheduled to stay 2 nights, but I was very glad to be there and the lake was lovely.

     I didn’t go off the grounds while there…no sightseeing, just chillin’.  BUT on my way out the last morning, I stopped in the office and met a very interesting woman.
BRIGHT SPOT – Melody works for Nutrition & Services for Seniors.  She was born and raised in Illinois.  She started working for Caterpillar as a contracted employee then was hired on a permanent basis.  She was with them for 20 years testing updated products.  When her mother took ill, she left to care for her.  When her mom passed, she got married and her husband, wanting to get away from the snow, took them to Texas.
Melody’s disabled brother came with them and lived under her care for several years.  when his condition required more care than she could give, she took him back to Illinois, where he resides in a full service facility that is able to meet his needs. Melody drove for a wholesale florist awhile after she returned to Texas, then became a school bus driver!  Not having any children of her own, she was totally out of her element, as she put it!  She stuck it out for one complete school year, but the salary was just not enough to pay the bills.  Now, she is doing great with Nutrition & Services for Seniors!  She feels good about working for a company whose clients love the services provided and who has a wonderful reputation.  With all the family care and job disruptions, you might think a person would be a bit worn…not Melody!  She was absolutely delightful and hopeful for more good things to come her way in the future.
     As a side note, once she mentioned driving a school bus, I had to ask a question that has concerned me for over 40 years.  Why aren’t there seat belts on school buses???  She shared an interesting story and also common concerns of the bus drivers.  First of all, years ago there was an accident involving students and chaperones in a charter bus with seat belts.  Sadly, two children died and one lost her arm…all who were in seat belts.  Strangely enough, shortly thereafter, a very similar type accident occurred involving a public school bus.  There were no deaths or serious injuries.  Maybe it was just a coincidence, maybe not.  What Melody was saying about the drivers was that there was a concern about what would one driver do if 50 kids were buckled in and there was a fire?  What if the belts jammed?  I never thought of that.  She also explained that the reason the windows are so small in school buses is because there is an extra wide heavy metal panel between them to support the roof in case of an accident, especially a roll.   That is also why the seat backs are so high.  It is required however that the driver be belted in.  That is probably a good thing.

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