My First Looking Looking Camp

I foundthe 10-foot Nineteen Seventies-model camper on Craigslist simply after my spouse, Michelle, left for work. I known as up the proprietor, talked him down by 100 bucks, after which drove into Tennessee with my brother, Matt, to make the deal. The vendor’s identify was Bo Kelly, and he had the camper plugged into a brief service pole once we bought there. “The air conditioner on this factor will freeze you out, son,” he mentioned. His home was simply 100 yards off, down a protracted driveway.

I had simply handed over the fourteen $100 payments once I observed a automobile coming down the drive towards us. It stopped, and a bleached-blond girl known as Bae emerged. She seized the cash from Bo Kelly’s hand, licked her thumb, counted the payments, stuffed them into her cleavage, and bought again into the automobile and not using a phrase.

“BAAAEEE!” screamed Bo Kelly on the automobile’s taillights, however Bae by no means even slowed. “She’s by no means cared about something however the cash,” he mentioned. “I’ll assist information you onto the hitch.”

Heaven on Wheels: Our First Hunting Camp Wasn’t Much, But It Was Ours
Illustration by Peter Oumanski

We unhooked from the camper in my driveway, and I went into the home to get a six-pack of beer to place in its mini fridge. Matt grabbed a few garden chairs, and we had been all the way down to a couple of two-pack by the point Michelle returned from work and pulled into the drive. “What within the hell is that this?” she requested.

“It’s your new deer camp, Bae,” I joked. “Simply purchased it right now. I determine we’ll put it up on the farm.”


“And this,” Matt mentioned, hoisting a Keystone Mild, “is a chilly beer. Have you ever one, Mishkin.”

Michelle took the beer and mentioned, “If we’re going to be seen in a bit of shit like this, I’m a minimum of getting some plastic pink flamingos to go together with it.”

Heaven on Wheels: Our First Hunting Camp Wasn’t Much, But It Was Ours
Illustration by Peter Oumanski

She and I had simply put a down cost on 33 acres of land, somewhat chunk of looking floor to name our personal. The camper was the proper complement, and it turned our second dwelling, year-round. I took the kitchen desk out of it and reduce up two-by-sixes to slot in its place, atop which we positioned a full-size mattress. There was already a sofa that was a tiny mattress on the opposite finish of the camper, and that’s the place Matt slept for many of catfish noodling season.

Typically the deep fryer, plugged immediately into the camper, would journey a breaker and trigger the entire thing to lose energy. However it was a fast repair that hardly ever interrupted our cooking lengthy sufficient for the flathead to get too greasy. We cooked backstrap on a charcoal grill exterior. Throughout the summer season, Bo Kelly’s proclamation in regards to the air conditioner proved true. Come duck season, one little house heater would power you to open a window. Had you instructed me again then that that is what heaven is like, I’d have mentioned, “I’m able to go each time.”

However that camper’s tiny partitions did shut in finally. When our son, Anse, was born, my mother sat with him within the camper within the evenings whereas Michelle and I hunted. We got here in a single night time and located Mother in tears. She’d picked Anse up and banged his head proper into the 6-foot ceiling.

That June, we celebrated his first birthday on the camper with a giant barbeque. In-laws skulked about within the mud with drooping paper plates of fried catfish as Matt struggled to maintain the fryer and air conditioner going on the similar time. I knew I had an actual chore forward of me the following day too, emptying out the 30-gallon sewage tank.

Heaven on Wheels: Our First Hunting Camp Wasn’t Much, But It Was Ours
Illustration by Peter Oumanski

“I believe we’ve outgrown Bo Kelly’s camper,” Michelle mentioned, and I agreed. A neighbor had inquired about it. The tires had lengthy since dry-rotted, and I instructed him if he would come get the factor and transfer it on the edges, he might have it.

“Air conditioner on this factor will freeze you out,” I mentioned as I helped information it onto the hitch of his truck. He pulled away in a bathe of sparks.

“We had fourteen hundred {dollars}’ value of enjoyable in that camper, didn’t we?” I requested Michelle. She nodded in settlement and declared the pink flamingos would nonetheless look good, it doesn’t matter what kind of deer camp we determined to place instead.

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