For the past several months, Don Waggoner has been greeting customers in his role as cashier at The Corner.
Don enjoys a nomadic lifestyle, calling himself a cross between a ‘vagabond’ and a ‘gypsy.’ His restless nature is revealed in his meandering career path.
“We got married on Treasure Island,” said Don of his 58 year marriage to his wife Doris. He became a submariner, serving on a “brand new Polaris nuclear sub.” He did eight war patrols, and served seven and a half years in the Navy.
After his discharge, he returned to his south central Nebraska home and entered into the family business. “We did general repairs and welding and worked on irrigation engines which developed into center pivots, which was my baby.” They sold the business in 1992 and began RVing full time in 1993.
They managed and marketed for retirement communities in Omaha, Wichita, and Cedar Park, TX and finally retired in 2012 when they began ‘work camping.’
“We’ve worked for Amazon three different times in three different jobs,” said Don. “We like to volunteer periodically to pay back – wildlife refuges are what we enjoy the most.”
Their ‘work camping’ employment brought them to Sully County where they were to work at a fishing resort. “They lost reservations because of the pandemic, so my job fell through completely,” said Don. “My wife is a cook, and cooks are priceless, so she worked the resort for a while.”
Don says that he learned about the job opening at The Corner through the beer distributor. “Carey took pity on me and hired me,” said Don. “My wife came as well, but now she’s cooking for the guides again at the Paul Nelson Farm.”
This is the second year the Waggoners have parked their camper at the resort. “They’re extremely accommodating up there,” said Don. “We’ve moved inside of a building with a heated water floor in there. Last year, the coldest it got was 62 degrees. It’s really roughing it.”
They held on to their home for several years after their retirement, eventually selling in 1998. “We bought a cabin to hold our stuff we couldn’t part with,” said Don. “We call it our cabin – that’s more romantic than shack.” The building was little more than a shack when they acquired it, but over time they’ve made improvements to turn it into a cabin. “It’s almost a new home now,” said Don.
By way of illustrating how he and his wife make a balanced couple, Don explains that “If we were to jump from a plane, I’d look back and ask my wife if she’d packed our parachutes,” Don being more of a leaper balanced by his wife’s more thoughtful ways.
Don confesses that he gets restless if he’s in one place too long, but says that they’re committed to staying here a year, having rented a house in Onida.
“We’ve got some major projects to do on our little cabin,” said Don. “We like it here – all up and down the central part of the United States, flyover country, the people are great.”
“We’re of the age we should be concerned about the virus, but we’re not,” said Don in regards to the pandemic. “We’d prefer not to get it, but if we do, we do.
Don says that he and his wife have been blessed with a daughter and a son, have five grandchildren, and are expecting their first great-grandchild before the end of the year.
He has parlayed his years of RVing into an RV tank cleaning business, Waggoner Enterprises All Pro Water Flow franchise. “If our RV tanks get to stinking, my wife says she knows someone who can clean it,” said Don. “Brown is my new green – we hire out.”
Don can be reached by phone at 402-699-3643. “Right now we’re at PO Box 4 in Onida,” said Don.