At 82, she’s still an adventurer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

If you watched the feature on women RV’ers on the Today Show Wednesday morning, you saw my friend Billie, along with some of her friends. Her e-mail informing me of this exciting event was titled, “Texas Rambling Roses News Flash!” A second one shouted, “RV Breaking News—We’re On TV.” I got a big smile on my face as I read that because I knew Billie meets no strangers. I suspected she had gotten the interviewer’s attention. She said if I would like to see it, tune in. “I hope that we will look slim and rich, but especially look like we are doing what we like to do best—having fun.” That’s Billie. My countenance fell when I looked at the date and time of the airing. She said it would be Tuesday morning between eight and nine a.m., just the time I’d be in my doctor’s office. That morning as I sat waiting to see the doctor, I kept thinking about Billie’s TV debut, regretting I was missing it. As it turned out, it wasn’t shown until Wednesday morning. I missed it then too because I didn’t know about it in time. But all was not lost. Billie’s reply to my regrets included information on how to get it on the Internet. I clicked on the URL, sat back, relaxed, and tuned in. Yes, I was right; Billie had captured the attention of the interviewer. They even showed her at the wheel of her RV. Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill mentioned her in their comments after the segment aired. She had driven 800 miles to join the Texas Ramlin’ Roses Chapter of RVing Women at Banderas, Texas, on their January trip.

I’ve known about Billie’s adventurous spirit for years. We first met at Tannehill Historic State Park campground more than 20 years ago. My husband and I were attending the Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Festival and she and her husband were on a genealogy quest. She was so captivated by the sweet dulcimer music and the camaraderie of the group that they returned the next year. That’s when we began our “snail mail” correspondence that eventually merged into e-mail. After her husband died, she continued to drive her Class B motor home to join fellow RV’ers on monthly trips. For several years now, she has returned to Tannehill for the dulcimer festival. I think she knows just about every one of the dulcimer festival campers. I’m sure she had a wide audience for her “11 seconds of fame” as she called it.

When I visited Billie in Arizona last March, her first question every morning was “Where do you want to go today?” Then away we went. At 82, she’s determined to keep on RV’ing and doing what she likes best—having fun. When I asked her to let me know when she signed her first TV contract, her reply was, “The film crew said I wasn’t ready for the Screen Actors Guild.”