Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Lucky We Be!

Here in Benson, AZ, we are coming to realize just how lucky we are. As the seasons go by and we watch the national news or read the headlines, we rejoice in our weather and our location. No floods, no tornadoes, no earthquakes to speak of, no hurricanes, no huge ice storms, no levees breaking, no blizzards.

(Just as we finished writing this post, Daughter Deb emailed us that there had been a 4.4 earthquake in her area. Of course, by Bay Area standards, 4.4 is a small quake, but it’s still scary if you are in it!)

Yes, the temperature does climb above 100 degrees in the summer, but here in Benson, at 3500 feet elevation, it doesn’t get as hot as in Yuma, Phoenix, or even Tucson. Yes, it gets cold in winter, but not as cold as a whole lot of other places. We’ve even had snow! It stays on the ground a few hours, then it melts.

We have a wonderful home base. Our lot is 50 by 72 feet, 3600 square feet of ground that doesn’t need mowing. Our water and sewer systems are provided; electricity we do pay for separately. We don’t even pay for garbage pickup; just take your trash to the dumpster and, while you are there, recycle newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic, and flattened cardboard.

When you walk or drive around this park, neighbors wave, and you know many of their names, and they probably know yours. You have a chance to participate in community activities, and to vote on the important issues (“Should we purchase new washers for the laundry room?” “Should patio awnings be allowed to be attached to structures?”) Committees take care of major stuff: landscaping the park (not your own site – that’s yours to do), architectural details, rules, by-laws, pumping propane, club house, helping hands. There’s even a Sunshine Lady who sends get well or condolence cards.

First class entertainment is brought in; usually they pass the hat. The weekly movie night is free, and you can buy popcorn and hot dogs. Sometime they have baked potatoes! Hobbies are encouraged: there is a computer club, a beading class, a quilting group, genealogy, wood carving, 4-wheel drive events. Games? Poker three nights a week, including Texas Hold’em; there’s bingo and bunco, there have been bridge lessons. Our pool room has two tables.

Hungry? There is a monthly fish fry during the season; major feasts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, an omelet party, a pizza party, a Valentines’ Day dinner, finger food parties with plenty to eat. Six months of the year, there’s an ice cream social, honoring birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

Health issues? We have a weekly blood pressure clinic, with a retired RN in charge. There is a fitness room with loads of equipment. There are group hikes. Lots of folks walk around the park, many of them led by dogs and carrying plastic bags.

Environment? We can sit on our casita porch, or in the back yard, and look out on the Dragoon Mountains as the sun goes down, casting pastel shades of pink, magenta, violet on the peaks and across the San Pedro River Valley. We can see rabbits, quail, and the occasional Road Runner in our front yard.

Bored? The park has an extensive library, plus a free video shop. There are always jigsaw puzzles on the table, and a TV if you really have nothing better to do.

This park, SKP Saguaro Co-op, has been recognized as the best SKP Co-op park in the system (of course, other parks may contest that claim). And what is it about? It’s about us: 300 individual leaseholders, scads of yearly, half-yearly, monthly, weekly, daily renters, and bunches of boondockers, all making it work. This park is so in demand that, for the 300 leasehold sites, every one of which is full, there are nearly 450 names on the “Hotlist!”

How do we, Jerry and Suzy, fit in? We work on the propane committee and the architectural committee. We help out the club house committee from time to time. We vote on the issues. We pay our annual Maintenance and Operations Fees plus the capital and special assessments. We put our site on the rental pool when we are out of the park for any time at all, so that rental fees help pay for all the good stuff here.

We plan to spend the rest of our lives here at the SKP Saguaro Co-op Park. Right now we can travel some of the time. There will come a day when we have to “hang up the keys.” Before that happens, we’ll buy a “Park Trailer” to put on the lot, so that Rosie, our faithful motorhome, can be retired.

Until then, and maybe after, we’ll continue to blog our lives so you can share … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Dear Jerry and Suzy:
    Today, the First of April, it snowed. We thought it might be somesort of celestial April Fools prank, but the snow took it seriously and so did the biting wind. However inspite of that bulbs and bushes are blooming; shivering but blooming. But am I complaining?
    This is our last full week of classes before Holy Week. Good Friday is a holiday (and that gives the adjective "good" a whole new meaning for us) and Easter Monday is also a holiday. But am I complaining?
    This Holy Week I will help preside at the Good Friday service at Our Lady of Fatima Parish right here in town. And on Easter Sunday I will have Mass with the Sisters of Providence in the convent attached to Sacred Heart Medical Center. So my liturgical duties will be light. But am I complaining.
    Last weekend I was in Wallace, Idaho with some twenty-five of our students. I was the priest on the retreat. A very generous family, the Magnusons, own the Wallace Inn and allow us to use it six times a year for these retreats. No charge for room or board. And my duties were quite light, compared to my duties in years gone by for the many Search Weekends on which I worked while in Campus Ministry. But am I complaining?
    But it's getting late and I have the 9:10 p.m. Mass. And I guess I am complaining.

    Ken as in Krall

  2. You guys certainly are enjoying the perfect climate in an area where being outdoors is easy and rewarding. We've returned from our winter travels and are getting re-acquainted with more spacious living conditions. Based upon your description, I wouldn't be surprised to see your comments incorporated into a park brochure . . . better yet . . . a new advertisement committee with you guys as chair persons!
    Thanks for the wonderful blog!

  3. The two of you live such a wonderful life!! I am so glad you share it with me!!

    Donna Daniel

  4. Jerry,
    You are a one man Chamber of Commerce for Benson and the SKP park. Have they thought about putting you on the payroll?

    After experiencing some really exciting weather the past week or so, we can understand why your area looks so good to many. Maybe someday it will look good to us too but not just yet.

    Thank you for writing such an informative and interesting blog. We love hearing about your daily lives. Keep 'em coming!

    Joy and Phil


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