When I mentioned I was looking for a used camping trailer, daughter Amanda, delighted, immediately went hunting the ads. After seeing an advertisement for a refurbished 1979 model, she messaged the seller:
“Hello! Can you tell me more about the camper you have for sale? I am very interested, as I’m looking for a small camper for my parents. Has it been smoked in? Have you had mice in it since you’ve redone it (beautiful job, by the way)? Have you ever used mothballs in it? Are there any soft spots in the floor or the walls? Is it winterized with plumbing antifreeze or by blowing air through the lines? Anything else you can think of that would be helpful to know?….”
I don’t blame the seller for not answering. But Amanda and Kendall know trailers – their family has owned several and spend their summers in one, parked at a seasonal site at their church campground.
We looked and asked questions until I grew tired of looking and asking. The trailers were too small, too big, too old or too expensive. We had a pretty firm budget.
I gave up. “Amanda, we are rent-a-cabin people,” I told her. “As much as I like the idea of a trailer, I think we’d be better off just renting a place when we decide to get away. Sorry for all the time you’ve spent, but let’s call the whole thing off.”
Less than thirty six hours later, the phone rang. “My neighbour’s selling his trailer,” our good friend, Ken, said. “You should come and look. It looks pretty good.”
That trailer was perfect, in fact. Even Amanda couldn’t question that. (And we loved the sellers, a pair of friendly Newfies we hope to have over for coffee this summer, along with Ken and Sharon.) It also passed the rigorous inspection of our son-in-law, who generously offered to haul it to a seasonal site near theirs.
One day that old camper will fall apart. We’ll use it up and wear it out, because lovely as it is, we didn’t buy it as a monetary investment. We bought it for what it doesn’t have installed yet: memories of precious times spent with family and friends. For the promise of a temporary disconnect from the sometimes dreary routines of work. For the opportunity to take a ten minute walk to the beach and sit with open Bible, pondering God’s creativity and lovingkindness – or to splash and paddle and wade with the children. For evenings spent under a canopy of trees and stars; the smell of a campfire drifting through the screens, the sound of children’s laughter and adults talking at the campsite next door. And for the occasional opportunity to share all that with friends in need of a respite.
God has blessed us so through the place we call home. But for a few times, over a few summers, it seems we’ll be camper people after all. And that will be his blessing too.