Vacation Men/Women

Bud went camping and trout fishing with a buddy for a few days.  We shared the drama of list-making, packing, and lengthy instructions on all that needed attention while he was gone.  In the spirit of a true imbecile, I prepared enough easy food for an army, all homemade of course.  I never purchase quick foods.  He left with an ice-chest stuffed with boiled eggs, sausage biscuitDavis Creek campingts, chicken salad, and pimento cheese spread, all the high-cholesterol joy a couple of guys could wish for.  The guys left in high spirits.

While he was gone, I gardened, worked in the yard, wrote, went out to lunch a couple of times, and crocheted.  I didn’t cook.  I didn’t clean, till today.  I didn’t shop for groceries.  I wonder who had the best vacation?

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Common Sense and the Camper

CamperDaddy had come into some money, so he immediately set to thinking what he had to spend it on.  That was the way he thought.  If you had money, you had to buy something.  He finally settled on three things:  a big Ford Truck, the biggest cab-over camper it could carry and a fine Ford tractor.  The total of these items was three times his windfall, but that was the way he did things. Angered at the amount he’d spent, Mother ordered six pair of slacks and matching blouses from Montgomery-Ward.  He raged at her extravagance.   That was also the way they did things.

Anyway, back to the truck and camper.  They set off on the typical American road trip.  Daddy quickly found the big camper, though rated for that truck, was really too big and made the truck hard to handle.  Even passing eighteen wheelers buffeted it about on the interstate.  Imagine the challenge it presented on narrow mountain passes.  Once, when they decided to go to Pike’s Peak, he unloaded it and left it in the RV camp, not wanting to deal with the excitement.

After they’d been travelling long enough that the refuse tank on the camper had reached near capacity, he pulled up to a dumping station in a national park to empty it.  Never one to read directions, he knew he could figure out how it worked on his own, relying on his “common sense.”

He flipped a switch, and “Voila!”  The tank emptied on the pad at the dumping station, its contents, solid and liquid, streamed across the busy road.  Mother puttered nearby and noticed what he’d done, but didn’t get the big picture.  “Why did you dump it here?  Is it supposed to go here?”

Meanwhile, passing cars zipped through the refuse, flinging tissue and other unpleasant souvenirs up to await the nearest carwash!  Daddy was in a panic, trying to get Mother to hush and get in the truck so they could flee the scene before his ghastly error was caught by a ranger.  Mother nattered on, trying to figure out why he’d dumped the tank there, until she realized he was about to leave without her.  All’s well that ends well.  They managed to get away Scott-free as Mother dug out the instruction book and Daddy fumed.

 

 

Fifty Dollars Worth of Camper

th3EKZ50VW bus 2See this great old school bus.  It is so much nicer than the one Daddy acquired for the unbelievable sum of fifty dollars. He purchased it from his brother-in-law, who’d gotten stuck with it as payment body work.  Daddy was ahead of his time In acquiring this Tiny House.  Mother was furious.  Fifty dollars would have bought more than two week’s supply of groceries.  Though he gave Mother no end of grief about her extravagant spending at the grocery store, he wasn’t short-sighted and saw the great potential in this bus-camper.  It would be a wonderful shelter when he and his buddies went deer hunting, and oh yes, the family could use it for camping, too!  Now our camper wasn’t nearly so nice as the one pictured above.  It had been partially hand-painted bright silver and lacked a motor. The good news was, we could finish it up any color we liked and motors take up a lot of unnecessary space better used for storage.  In that special storage area, items were stored in boxes on one deep shelf or in  boxes on the floor beneath the shelf.  While the rest of us were out fishing, swimming, or just running wild in general, Mother drug boxes out and dug through them for dishes, pots and pans, and food, all this with two babies in diapers.  She complained about her back constantly.  What a whiner!

.nice inside

See how comfortable and well-appointed the camper pictured above is.  Ours was nothing like this.  There was no refrigerator, lighting, water, bathroom, hard-wood floors, or Benjamin Franklin wood burning stove.  There was, however, an ancient gas range Daddy hooked to a propane bottle.  It had two functioning burners and a defunct oven.  That was okay, since Mother insisted it had a propane leak and she was scared to use it longer than it took to heat a can of beans or cook eggs.  She cooked with all the windows open and made Daddy cut the fuel off every time she got through.  In fact, it did have a propane leak in the line, but that’s a story for another day.

Two full-size bunk beds filled the rear of the camper.  Two sets of old army bunks were stacked along either side.  Of course, we fought over the top bunks.  The lower bunks served as seating.  A lantern and flash lights served when light was needed.

It was perfect.  I remember one wonderful camping trip when Daddy pulled it to a creek bank.  We swam, fished, swatted mosquitoes, cooked outdoors, only going in to sleep, so exhausted we hardly moved till morning.  Mother got up several times every night to spray to camper with bug killer and spray the covers and any exposed skin with mosquito repellent.  We scratched bug bites and poison ivy for days after we got home.

That was our only family camping trip.  Daddy used it a time or two for hunting, then gave it up as too much trouble.  It had a couple of other incarnations as a home for a farm laborer who confirmed the stove fuel line leak before it descended so far down the social scale it ended life as a junk shed on Daddy’s farm.

To me, that camper was worth every cent!

Camping

   image Dirty Dog

image

We just got back from camping on the Gulf Coast.  We had fun and I learned a couple of things. First of all, if you think you might fall and bust your fanny, carry your extra glasses.  I was standing behind the trailer trying to wave Bud in as he backed the trailer up and Buzzy wrapped me in his leash, plopping me flat on my keester. I fell flat, banging right on my glasses.   I hadn’t gotten in Bud’s line of vision yet, so he thought I’d wandered off, as I am prone to do.  He continued backing up, but fortunately I was able to get out of the way before he flattened me.

Although the fall did kill my glasses, I escaped.  I was worried whether I would have a black eye, but luckily I didn’t.  If I had, I would have to have blacked both Bud’s eyes or I would have been ashamed to be seen when we met friends later.  I was able to get the frames replaced, using the same lenses.  What a relief.  I had dreaded trying to get by with just reading glasses till I could get new ones made.  I will never go off without a spare again.

Buzzy had a fine time camping as always.  We patrolled the camp several times a day.  He got to meet new dogs, see an alligator, smell the Gulf, roll in some different flavors of mud, walk on the beach, and sleep in the camper.  His favorite part of camping is sitting on the bench seat between us at meals.  He doesn’t get a place at the table at home.