Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

South for the winter: Saga 1

By Trena Eiden
Posted 2/25/20

Gar hates winter and has wanted to get out of it since the day we met. I’ve ignored his grumbling because, for one thing, he’s had a job and for another, I like to eat.

One bleak day …

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Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

South for the winter: Saga 1

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Gar hates winter and has wanted to get out of it since the day we met. I’ve ignored his grumbling because, for one thing, he’s had a job and for another, I like to eat.

One bleak day in mid-November, Gar’s boss from Denver showed up, took Gar’s hand and, shaking it, babbled about what an asset Gar had been to the company. Then he said a quirky thing: “We’re closing this branch and today’s your last day.”

I’d have asked for my hand back. Gar didn’t actually dance a jig but he didn’t frown either, which concerned me just a little. Instead he said, “I think we should go south for the winter.” What about my three squares a day? He patted me on the head reassuringly, hoping I’d like it as much as the neighbor’s dog. (I did, which shows how close canines and I are in the food chain.)

I took a leave of absence and we started unpacking our camper. It was full of camping gear and who needs that if we’re going to live in civilization? After a scrubbing, I repacked it with essentials while Gar did manly stuff like kicking the tires and loading tools.

On the morning of our departure, we drove to the shop and when Gar started to hook up the camper, he realized the stabilizer bars had fallen off the truck hitch on the way over. Odd. They’d stayed perfectly gripped the night before when I’d brought the truck home. Gar mumbled a couple of things I won’t repeat because I’m refined, but when he got the camper attached and realized he didn’t have turn signals, nor clearance, brake or hazard lights, which it’d had the night before, he did a lot of talking in a language only known to men in similar circumstances.

As we drove around to the front of the house, we spied the stabilizer bars in the street, resting comfortably. Gar put them on and worked on the lights to no avail. The day before I said we should wash the truck. Due to freezing temps, Gar felt this was ridiculous but to please me, he washed the truck. He was pretty sure that was the culprit. Feeling bad, I used my blow dryer to force hot air on the electrical component. It laughed and stuck out its tongue.

We called our trusty mechanics, who are worth much more than I’m willing to pay. They checked the tow plug which, though dusty, tested fine. Thus, the truck washing was not the problem. (Gar’s still pretty sure it is.) They called another shop which had a diagnostic computer and as we traveled to it, the camper swayed like a pendulum. It was so unnerving, I had to bite my tongue, which Gar has prayed for daily.

We knew the fish-tailing was due to the camper carrying a lot of weight, and I don’t just mean the sag of my flabby thighs, though there is that. I’d like to say it was heavy due to taking the kids a large assortment of childhood paraphernalia, and that’d be true. I could also blame Gar for taking every tool he’s ever borrowed (a little joke) to work on the children’s homes and do mission work, but the real culprit was me. I needed things, and how much is too much? That’s like how thin is too thin or how rich is too rich?

We pulled over and moved things from side to side and front to back, drove again, stopped again, moved things again and finally arrived at the new shop, where we again redistributed weight.

We sat in the waiting room and in less than 10 minutes, a guy came out, said all was functioning perfectly and frankly, they couldn’t get it to not function, thus, the computer couldn’t diagnose, so we could go.

Gnashing our teeth at the timing and circumstances, but feeling it was obvious God didn’t want us to leave this day, I said we could work on things. Gar wanted to say, “Ya, like your attitude and then your cooking.” He stayed mum and kept himself safe.

I texted a friend, “We’re only getting 6 mpg so I’ll be selling my body en route; a kidney here, a cornea there. I have two of each and a heart my offspring swear I never use, so it’s pristine. Pray for whomever gets my kidney since it’ll be quite an adjustment. She’ll never pass a bathroom she doesn’t like.”

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