Better Mobile Homes and Gardens


I like reading newspapers, especially big, hefty Sunday papers from the big, mixed-up city.

I like to lug along some of those big papers to my favorite good eats place on Sunday morning and hole up in my favorite booth and drink lots of hot, black coffee and read them.

One thing I always like to read are those long, probing articles that tell you how to be a better person, get along better with people, teach you how to appreciate others and be appreciated.

Those that suggest, for instance, ten ways to better appreciate people. And ten ways to be appreciated.

Read one just last Sunday. Took lots of coffee to get through that one.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

Then I left my good eats place all inspired, all fired up about the idea of better appreciating someone.

But who?

Well, when I got home, there just happened to be an e-mail from the very person I instinctively knew I should appreciate more.

My nephew.

He had just sent via the internet a bundle of nice, color photographs showing me this wonderful place he had just bought out in the country, something he long had wanted to do.

A place to escape to from the chaotic mess of the big city.

And here he was offering to let me share it. Nephew always was rather subtle like that. Didn’t just come right out and say it. But I knew he wanted me to share his country place.

I appreciate that about him.

The instant I saw those photographs of his new, spacious place in the country, I knew I should get busy and appreciate my nephew right back. Knew there was a way I should appreciate him more and he, in turn, should appreciate me more.

So, I just sat down right then and there and started a letter of appreciation to him.

“What a blessing you are, nephew,” I began to write.

“ Why, I can tell from your captivating photos that your new place in the relaxing, restorative countryside with the running river and the abundance of trees and the mixture of rolling and flat terrain and the array of seasonal colors is the perfect spot for a permanent home for my 1930s-era mobile home.

“As you may have heard, nephew, my neighbors here in the crowded city have been griping about this mobile home of mine that is parked – dumped, as they insensitively put it — in my back yard. They fume incessantly that it is an eyesore and is discolored, dilapidated, beyond repair.



“But I know you know better, nephew. You know my decades-old mobile home has character.  And to think I picked it up for a mere 25 bucks. What a steal! What were those former owners thinkin’?  I know a bargain when I see it. You know that, don’t you, nephew?

“And now I know you will welcome my cherished mobile home at your blessed country place out in the wide open, peaceful land. Right there by the pleasant river that runs through it. (Why, come to think of it, Hollywood should make a movie with that title.) So, nephew, just give me the word and I will have Jake who has this big ol’ truck haul it down to your new place. Now, the big ol’ truck does spew an awful lot of smoke but it is good at hauling stuff. It has been making runs to the city garbage dump for decades.

“Moving my mobile home to your new place will be a good deal for me and a good deal for you. I know you will agree.

“And if Jake’s big ol’ truck should break down there on your place, well, never you mind, nephew. Jake can just hole up there in my mobile home until he can scrounge around for used parts or get somebody to make ‘em to get his truck runnin’ again. Then he’ll be off. You’ll hardly even notice he has been there.

“Now, I should point out, nephew, that the wheels and rims long ago rusted and rotted off of my ol’ mobile home so I would appreciate it if you would get some concrete blocks – if you don’t already have some – so Jake can set my mobile home on them.

“And, if you do have to drive into town to buy concrete blocks, you might pick up a case or two of oil for Jake’s ol’ truck. I mean, that dude of a truck is a work horse but, man, does it blow the blackest, most toxic, smelly smoky oil you ever saw.

“And you might pick up some beef jerky for Jake while you are in town. Jake just about lives on beef jerky. And, if it isn’t too much of a bother, please get ‘im some soft beef jerky. You wouldn’t believe how bad Jake’s teeth are. Well, you’ll see the first time he talks to you. And Jake talks a lot. I mean, a lot. If you can’t find any soft jerky, well, nephew, just let Jake use your microwave to soften it. It might get your microwave a little sticky but the softened beef jerky sure will make Jake happy. Plus, the jerky will keep his stomach from growling. That can get annoying.

“So, nephew, we are all set, right?

“Going to be nice to finally have a permanent home for my rickety old mobile home, out there in the country where there are no nearby neighbors to condemn it and it can be appreciated. And we can see more, much more, of each other.

“Mobile Molly, I call ‘er. You can call ‘er that too, nephew. I think she smiles when she hears that term of endearment. As I am sure you will notice, Mobile Molly – which you can just call MM for short — deserves a final resting place. And now you will be providing it. I’ll get down to stay in ‘er often, since I am retired these days. But don’t fret none about me. I’ll be no bother. Just think of me as family. Which I am, of course. Which really will make our arrangement on your little ranch nice ‘n’ special. And, of course, when you go off to travel the world, as you so often do, well, nephew, I’ll be there to watch after your place for you.

“Bet you appreciate that, don’t you. I know I do.

“And by the way, nephew, feel free to live in Mobile Molly if you want while you are building your new house there in the country. Many a time she’s been a blessed port in a storm when the little wifey has gotten riled at me and thrown me out of our house.

“Why, on those nights I sleep like a baby. She just doesn’t know it.

“Well, that is, I slept well except when it rained and the water poured in through MM’s roof. But Jake mostly fixed the leakin’.  He found this big tarp down at the dump and put it up on Mobile Molly’s roof and then found a few truck and car axles and put them on top of the tarp to hold it down. Works right well in tornadoes. So the rain that used to flow through the roof has slowed to a mere trickle.

“And when there comes a drought – like I hear droughts often do there where you just plunked down those piles of money for your country spread – why Mobile Molly will get bone dry in just jiffies. All dried out and comfy again

“Like Martha Stewart says, nephew, that’s a good thing.

“That just about covers it, nephew.

“Oh, except I know Jake is a bit rough around the edges and can take some getting used to but he is a lot better than he used to be. Doesn’t smoke or drink or do dope nearly as much as he once did. And he does now shave and bath at least once a month. Been that way ever since he got out of jail. Said he was going to follow the straight and narrow and, by golly, ever since he was released he has been doing just that. Well, mostly. He does backslide now and then. But who doesn’t?

“Oh, and before I forget, have I told you lately how much I appreciate you, nephew?

“Well, I do.

“Doggone tootin’ I do.

“Just like that ten-point-suggestion article in the big city paper told me I should do.

“So, really, really glad we have that country get-away the both of us can get away to.

“Appreciate it.

“See you at our ranch.”

Uncle Rog

Washboard RoadRoger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He can be reached at

Please click the book cover image to read more about Roger Summers short story collection.

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