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The Grand Popito

The Grand Popito

Over the summer I learned something new about myself, a little bit of trivia about my history I had never heard before. 

We went to visit my family in Idaho and attend my younger brother's wedding.

My dad borrowed and set up a couple of trailers should anyone like to 'camp' on his property. The town's only hotel was already at capacity with out of town guests, nearly all in anticipation of my brother's wedding.  

On a patch of grass looking far out into my dad's backyard beyond the goats and wandering chickens toward the sloping hills of Idaho's Treasure Valley, is where we set our pop-up camper while we stayed there for a short while this summer.  Over to the right of us was one of my dad's borrowed campers.

One was a classic Shasta trailer, with wings. My dad walked me over to it. That's where he told me something that I had never heard before.

 He told me when I was born, he and my mom brought me home to a little Shasta trailer much like the borrowed one parked before us. That's where they lived. My very first home, a trailer. I was born a camper.  The spoon in my mouth was much more aluminum siding than silver and the hard wood beneath our feet, ply-wood. I have no memory of that home and until this past summer, had no knowledge of it. When he told me, I smiled. I love that my very first home is still one that I treasure to this day, although I never realized it. Camper trailers have a special place in my heart. I am still unpacking all the reasons why. 

Later in my life, my dad would take a school bus and make it into a camper. We lived in it on a cliff above the sea in the coastal city of Pacifica. Yep, this school girl, also lived in a school bus. I loved it and have many fond memories of what we affectionately called simply, The Bus.  

Ryan and I always wanted to have a trailer, probably me slightly more than him. (Who knew I was just always longing for that first home?) We picked up a little pop-up camper at the start of summer 2015.  It was a big deal for me. Still is. 

I have always loved campers. I mean camper trailers. But I am finding out I also mean campers (the people).  They're my people. 

A couple of weekends ago as I write, Ryan and I were able to getaway just the two of us and our camper. Ryan had just been selected for jury duty despite the fact that school was about to open. He needed time to work. He didn't get that much work done while we were camping but was able to relax and get some much needed rest. Sometimes, rest is important work in and of itself. 

While we were there we met a few families, families who lived there. In fact everyone we met, called their camper home. 

Some lived there simply by choice, convenience, fun. Other's made a camper their home out of extreme circumstance, desperation. There were children, pets, stories. 

As we looked around the campground we saw just for fun-sies trailers (that we know to be worth $80,000+) parked next to little old trailers there for the long haul (literally). 

For some of us a camper is a surplus, a bonus, for others it's meeting a need. 

One woman I met asked me if I had a home to go back to. I guess not having a home to go back to is an option too. It was for her. She had only just moved out of a tent and into her camper home.

 I want to give her something. Share. We only shared stories because I showed up with nothing to physically pass on. Camping doesn't lend itself easily to surplus supplies. Yet I felt that something tangible, a kindness I could have put in her hands, would have been appreciated. 

My pop-up camper, though by no real stretch, luxurious, is in fact a luxury. I am grateful for it. I do have a home to go back to. 

We just took our 'Grand Popito,' as we affectionately call our tiny pop-up camper, back to that same campground. We bought a year pass and intend to put it to good use there. This time I didn't show up empty handed. Surplus and kindness is possible with a little fore thought. We went back this time with our kids, Ryan's mom, and a box to give away of pantry items and toiletries. We were able to put our box into some very appreciative hands. 

I think of my mom and dad bringing a little pink bundle home to a tiny Shasta trailer. Home. My mom, learning to be a mom at 20 years old in aluminum siding and ply-wood on wheels. I hope there were unexpected kindnesses in her story. I hope that during the days when a camper trailer wasn't a luxury, simply a home, that there was someone who saw her, heard her, was kind to her.

I see you camper people, I hear you, I love you. I am you.

Thanks for reading!



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