A recent adventure has lead me and my family to learn when a setback meets good people, that setback soon melts away and becomes a cherished memory.
Camping. You either love it or hate it. I don’t think there is any in between. I happen to love camping. I love primitive camping and I also like the little mini-homes-on-wheels all lined up in a park somewhere. Some piled in a small pop-up camper some in campers that are nicer than my home, complete with granite countertops and every size and shape in between.
When I was a child my family camped in tents primitive style. My parents woke up, started a fire and boiled water in a percolator pot for coffee, everything was cooked on an open fire, homemade treats were plenty. My husband’s family camped in a camper when he was young, mostly on the riverbank in the middle of nowhere. I used to make fun of him for his more cushioned style of camping, but I have since grown used to having a bed, refrigerator and everything you need all neatly packed up in the big white box we call a camper.
Our most recent trip started like most. I spent Friday baking up a storm. Blueberry muffins, apple hand pies, rice crispy treats and spaghetti for campfire spaghetti sandwiches. We were packed and ready when the kids arrived home from school. Soon my husband was home from work and we were on our way.
We made our way south and up a rather steep hill. My husband decided, since there was a passing lane, he would pass the slower moving camper in front of us. He jokingly asked if it was a Chevy or Ford as we began to speed up and move around it (we drive a Dodge truck). It was another Dodge.
As we reached the top of the hill something began spraying from the front of the truck. The truck began overheating. He found a place to pull off to accommodate our convoy. It was the parking lot of a hydraulics company. It also happened to be directly across the road from a good friend of mine.
As we pulled in and the truck engine resembled an old locomotive; steam rolled out from under the hood in a billowing cloud of antifreeze scented doom. My husband opened the hood to assess the damage. I did the only only natural thing any girl would do in these circumstances, I called my brother. He jumped into action immediately, went to pick up my vehicle incase we needed it to haul the kids to a better location, then he ran to the nearest auto parts store and picked up the new radiator we needed.
I texted my friend who lives across from where we broke down. The kids were worried we wouldn’t make our camping trip and were beginning to panic. I got them out of the truck and took them to an empty grassy lot and played dodge ball, ante over and jump the creek while my husband worked on getting the busted radiator out.
Several people stopped by to see if we were okay. My good friend from the paper, and photographer extraordinaire, stopped when she and her husband were coming back from a photoshoot. She caught me up on news from the newsroom and said I looked happier despite my current circumstances. I am. I’m so much more healthy, the stress headaches, panic attacks and anxiety are almost distant memories.
Soon, I saw my friend coming across the road with her husband, who also happened to have been a mechanic before he acquired a job with the county. We joked about her setting her phone down after my initial “Hello, what are you into?” text and me not just coming over and knocking on the door. Apparently, people still knock on doors, good to know. She kept me and the kids company as we ate our little roadside picnic of lunchables, rice crispy treats and pork rinds. My youngest son immediately made friends with her handing her one pork rind after another, then they played a riotous game of catch.
In no time the truck had a brand-new radiator and we were on our way. We arrived at the campground well after dark, tired and relieved the radiator decided to go out in such a perfect location.
Life is made better when good people come along and lend you a water jug or socket wrench, stop to check on you, keep you company or drive an extra 40 miles to pick up a radiator. I am blessed to have such people in my life.