Ode to The Grand Popito
We didn’t know that the last trip in The Grand Popito, our beloved little popup camper, was the last trip.
When we bought the popup, it was what our minivan could pull. When we moved up to a passenger van with a much higher towing capacity we knew it was with the hopes of one day being able to tow a larger camper. We are, after all, a larger family. Things fell into place more quickly than we ever thought.
We wanted a hybrid camper, not too large. I took Ryan lunch on Monday, he had gone down to the school for awhile on Labor Day. We talked about our hopes of one day finding a hybrid and just for fun he scrolled Craigslist. I had already scrolled Craigslist earlier in a daydream and found nothing, not that we were truly looking, just talking.
He found it. A rare hybrid. Right price and size. Looked like it was in good shape and close enough we could go see it in person. We ended up seeing it that evening and towing it home less than a week later.
Just now I am out writing in it. I couldn’t sleep. There is a camper in my driveway!!! Obviously that means I should be out in it at 5:30 on a Sunday morning. Totally normal.
Yet nostalgia surrounds as I think of The Grand Popito while I sit in our nameless new camper. Our last trip together was only a couple of short weeks ago. On that trip I emptied out the popup and put everything neatly back while taking an inventory. I wrote out the entire contents of our Popito. Totally normal. (Have I mentioned that I love camping and written words?)
I didn’t know that would be our last trip. I was inventorying to see what was actually getting used, what needed replacing, what was missing, and what we loved. Each trip I am always looking to improve the quality of the next trip. Training in a way. Taking notes. Totally normal.
Then we met Jim. Jim sold us our new camper. Our dream come true camper. Our someday camper.
We toured the camper together exploring her inside and out. Getting to know her as well as you can know anything that you don’t have memories with. He knew his camper. He loved her. There were memories there. He included all the maps to his favorite camp spots with the favorite sites circled in case he made it back. We do the same thing on our trips, always planing to make it back.
I can’t help but wonder if he knew that his last voyage in the hybrid would be his last. I think not. He ended up sharing that an unexpected medical diagnosis last spring would mean no more camping trips. He said sometimes you get thrown a curve ball.
A few days ago Tyler asked me if we were going to run out of days. I tried to unpack it a little. What did he mean? He said he didn’t want to run out of days. He tried to unpack it a little. I realized that my 4 four year old just pulled me into the deep ocean in the middle of our normal life. I was helping him get dressed and then suddenly talking about the mysteries and inevitabilities of life.
I didn’t know what to say. I confessed that I didn’t want to run out of days either but would try and take careful care of all my days. Make them good ones. Ones that I want to count. Inventory worthy days.
I sit in this new camper trying to get to know her, but knowing full well I won’t truly know her until we have memories together. I think of my children and all the memories I want to collect with them, to truly know them. My husband and all the memories we have together and all the memories we have only dreamt of together.
I look at a little blank wall in the camper and I realize what will go there, a picture of The Grand Popito. Our days together were short but we knew each other well. Our memories countless, cherished.
Thanks for reading! (I don't actually write poems.)
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