Maggotty Mayhem

 



My sister’s new, new camper came with all the niceties: great queen-size bed, comfortable furnishings, plush carpeting, lots of storage, and nice appliances. After her last trip out, she unpacked her clothes, and after ensuring the camper was hooked to power, left her freezer stocked for the next trip. She’d need all those things next time for sure.

imageAs she packed for this trip and opened the freezer to put in some more goodies, she discovered the tragic aftermath of a power outage leaving her with the putrid remains of her previously frozen food mounded up with writhing maggots. The frisky, fat maggots seized the opportunity to leap for freedom all down the front of her shirt, leaving her awash in foul juices and previous generations of incarcerated maggots.  When her son called in the middle of the fiasco, he was appalled to learn such valuable fishing bait had been Continue reading

Maggotty Mayhem



See my sister’s camper. It comes with all the niceties, great queen-size bed, comfortable furnishings, plush carpeting, lots of storage, and great appliances. After her last trip out, she unpacked her clothes, and after ensuring the camper was hooked to power, left her freezer stocked for the next trip. She’d need all those things next time for sure.

imageAs she packed for this trip and opened the freezer to put in some more goodies, she discovered the tragic aftermath of a power outage leaving her with the putrid remains of her previously frozen food mounded up with writhing maggots. The frisky, fat maggots seized the opportunity to leap for freedom all down the front of her shirt, leaving her awash in foul juices and previous generations of incarcerated maggots.  When her son called in the middle of the fiasco, he was appalled to learn such valuable fishing bait had been Continue reading

Home is Where the Heart Is

image                                      Uncle Russ’s camper wasn’t this nice!

Bud’s Uncle Russ was ahead of his time, since he came up with the first camper/Tiny House anyone had seen in our part of the country.  Back in the late1950’s and 1960’s, the family occasionally awoke to find his old Ford truck with its homemade camper parked in their yard.  Enclosed within its two by four frame and galvanized sheet metal covering were a bunk and a bit of storage for his camp stove, personal belongings, and other gear, though his hygiene products didn’t take up a lot of room.

Uncle Russ was not encumbered with a regular job.  He travelled till he ran out of money, then stopped off and found a little job like mowing, helping with a harvest, or pumping gas to get enough ahead to make be on down the road a bit.  He never went naked or hungry, and always had a roof over his head.

When the Bethea boys, Dell and Louis were growing up on a farm in Warren, Arkansas, their Uncle Russell would show up from time to time.  He’d hang around and work with his brother Joseph till they got crosswise and he’d get mad and leave or Joseph would run him off.  Apparently, his grooming was lacking even then, since the boys, “I don’t know how you boys can stand to wash your face and comb your hair before every meal.  I don’t comb my hair but about every six months and it nearly kills me then.”

Early one Saturday morning, Miss Mary noticed his truck in the drive and called out to let Dell, Bud’s Dad know his uncle had come to call.  Uncle Russ knocked when he saw them up and about.  Miss Mary let him in and went to put the kettle on for coffee. Without a doubt, Uncle Russ had just acquired some instant coffee he was curious about, since he asked Miss Mary if she minded if he made his own.  “Not at all.  The water will be hot in just a minute.”

He stirred in four or five heaping teaspoons of granules.  Knowing he had concocted a powerful potion, she and Dell watched with interest as he tried to choke it down.  He made two or three attempts before remarking, “I made that a little stout.  I’m gonna had to pour it and have a little of yours.”

When Bud was about seventeen.  Uncle Russ made a trip down, asking Bud to sign a signature card to be put on a joint checking account, though Bud assured him he wouldn’t have anything to deposit.  “That’s okay.  You just sign this here card and feel free to write a check anytime you need to.”

Bud signed the card and never gave it another thought, knowing how odd Uncle Russ was.  Several months later, he got a letter from Uncle Russ, telling him how disappointed in him he was.  In fact, he was going to take him out of his will. Bud never saw Uncle Russ again.   Uncle Russ retired, an interesting move for a man who never worked more than a day or two at a time.  He sold his old truck and its fixtures, somehow acquired an old mobile home, and moved it to the family farm.  He died a few months later.  Bud never heard who beat him out of his inheritance.

 

 

 

 

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?

Common Sense and the Camper (Part 2)

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/common-sense-and-the-camper/

CamperOne of the great benefits of my parent’s cross-country camping trip was that they had the opportunity to share their cab-over camper for three weeks with two hormone-ridden teenage girls.  For some reason, they’d taken leave of their senses and forced my sixteen-year-old sister Marilyn to accompany them, though she could have stayed with either me or Phyllis, either of whom were as married and dull as Mother and Daddy ever thought of being.  They sweetened the pot by letting her friend Rhonda who became every bit as unpleasant as Marilyn after a few snug hours together.

In the way of teenagers everywhere, the girls snored snugly in their bunks all day as the camper passed the glorious sites of the Americas.  As a result, both were wide-awake and ready to go when they stopped to make camp every evening.  At an RV camp in Las Vegas, two young ladies who looked to have complicated social situations dawdled about the office as they checked in.  Before, I go on with this story, you need to know, my dad was a no-nonsense “I ain’t worried if you like me.  I’m your Daddy” kind of guy.  He didn’t put up with any nonsense.  He pointed out that RV Camp Girls looked trampy.  Though Marilyn and Rhonda didn’t even talk to them, they got a nice lecture just in case they’d ever thought of dressing or acting “like them trashy gals,”  a term he often used make a point and make his girls’ blood boil.

They made camp and cooked supper outdoors.  About ten o’clock as their evening drew to a close Daddy told his disgusted girls it was about time to turn out the lights and settle in for the night.  After a long day of napping, naturally, they dawdled.  After a couple of warnings, just as the lights went out, there was a knock at the camper door.  He opened it to find the two young lovelies they’d seen at the office earlier in the day.  One of them was obviously pregnant below her brief halter-top.

“Can your girls go out for a while?  We’ve got dates for them?” they asked, invitingly.

Behind him, Mother and the big-eyed girls waited for him to explode into a vitriolic diatribe at their request.  Instead, he replied as calmly as if he had been at a tea-party and asked if he wanted “one lump or two.”

“Well, I guess not, but thanks for inviting them.  We have to leave pretty early in the morning.”

Pigs flew and Hell froze over.

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

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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.

Dutch-Oven Cooking and Table Idea

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Bud built this Dutch-oven cooking table out of an old aluminum toolbox, table legs from Home Depot and old piano hinges. Total cost $25 for table legs.  So far it has supported more than 500 lbs.  I only bought two of the Dutch-ovens new.  Total cost probably less than $200.  It folds flat with a handle on back for easy carry.

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Pictured above scalloped potatoes, peach pulled pork, and peach cobbler.