Dancing With Danger

THERE WAS A TIME when traveling evangelists would preach their “End Times” sermon at every revival meeting. Usually it was on Friday night, after serving up free hot dogs to all the kids they could round up. It was a surefire way to ensure strong stats for the evangelist’s marketing efforts; not that some of them actually needed real numbers to prove their pulpit power.

The problem became that we had all heard the End Times talk so many times that we had become desensitized to the alarm of it all.

“In psychology, desensitization is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. It also occurs when an emotional response is repeatedly evoked in situations in which the action tendency that is associated with the emotion proves irrelevant or unnecessary.” —Wikipedia

I’m typing this on a Friday afternoon, the sky is dark and there is an eerie calmness outside. Forecasters are once again painting maps in hot colors spelling weather doom. Storm chasers are in position, dopplers are doppling, and we Okies are once again awaiting what could be the Big One, just as we did a few days ago. I hate to say I’ve become desensitized, but I’ve become desensitized.

We Okies joke about our homeland’s fickle weather and shifting tectonic plates. We tend to have fun poking fun at our weather-persons and their giddy anticipation over building storms.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that we have the technology we have and those who are enthusiastically dedidcated to keeping us “4-warned” “ahead of the storm” etc. Goodness knows we’ve seen enough storm destruction, mayhem, and worse to make us cherish all efforts to keep us “weather-aware” and safe.

It’s a love/hate thing—with the weather and the meteorologists. Now that we are seeking adventure in a tiny, shiny, aluminum house on wheels, hail and lightening are our archenemies. So while I love the spring rains, as long as there is a “chance” of severe weather, our little Bambi has to stay in her shelter. And as one of our local weather-prophets said on his TV weathercast just last night, “In Oklahoma, in May, there is always a chance…”

It’s been a few days now since I started composing this post. The storms blew through, the sun came up the next morning and the sky seemed more clear. The grass and trees seemed more green, and Oklahoma is still on the map. Now another weekend is approaching and with it the warning of impending severe weather, and we have weekend travel plans.

I feel like a fourteen year-old boy again. Do I go to the dance even though the evangelist warned that the “King Is Coming” any moment now, and he is bringing wrath for fourteen year-old boys dancing too close with fourteen year-old girls?

I can envision pulling our little hail-pelted Airstream home and the roads being lined with all the weathermen, weatherwomen, and old itinerate preachers saying, “We tried to warn you! Verily, verily, we tried to warn you.”

Spending The Kids' Inheritance

Last fall I wrote this: I HAD A DREAM,  a post about why it seemed wiser to have money in the bank than experiences on the open road.

Today this is sitting in our driveway.

It seems wanderlust got the better of frugality. Or, in the words of John Muir, the naturalist, author, and environmental philosopher:

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
— John Muir

So we picked up our tiny, little Airstream in Springfield, Missouri, and set out on our maiden voyage. The event was marked with a custom poster our son designed for us and framed for our “kitchen” table.

We spent our first two nights alongside the Grand River below the Pensacola Dam in northeastern Oklahoma. . 

Next stop, Shawnee, Oklahoma, home of the Grand-Girls. It took them less than a minute to make the Bambi their own.

These three are optional accessories.

These three are optional accessories.

Bambi? It’s not a moniker the girls gave her. “Bambi” is the model name. From the Airstream website:

Nimble. Agile. Some would even say adorable!

The Bambi trailer has always been a favorite among Airstreamers. First launched as a 16-foot single-axle trailer in 1961, the Bambi’s genesis was a proactive response to a nationwide trend. Americans were looking for shorter, lighter, more fuel-efficient automobiles that lacked the power to pull a heavy trailer.

Today, we apply the Bambi name to all single-axle Airstream travel trailers. Their immense popularity isn’t just because of how they look: they’re easy to tow and incredibly versatile, proving great things really do come in small packages.

Occasionally, I’ve had one of those “What the heck have we’ve done!?” moments. But mostly, we’re ready for the next weekend, the next adventure. So many have graciously, and I assume sincerely, offered their driveways as a road trip stopping over place. Be careful. We might just show up.

I HAD A Dream

For which of you, intending to build a tower,
sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost,
whether he have sufficient to finish it? 

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it,
all that behold it begin to mock him, 
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.  

—The Gospel of Luke 14:28-30 (KJV)

SO--IF YOU'VE READ THIS BLOG MUCH, at all, you know of our dream to have an Airstream trailer. We thought we were so close. How close? Close enough that I even opened the polls, so to speak, here on About Pops, asking for help in choosing an interior color scheme.

Well, it’s a long, long story. But it comes down to this: I “sitteth not down, and counteth the cost” (thoroughly enough anyway). And now you are free to mock me saying, “This man began this adventure to have an Airstream, but to this point has not been able to git ‘er done.”

Turns out, when I finally did sit down to count the cost of the Airstream model I had been coveting; let’s just say reality setteth in. The weight of the cost was not just in dollars; however, I did grossly underestimate the sum thereof. Along with things like doc fees, freight charges, taxes, extension mirrors, weight distribution hitch, anti-sway bars, hoses, blocks, chemicals… ad nauseum; there is also the cost of stress, anguish and uncertainty. Suddenly my visions of sitting under the awning of this silver beauty alongside a rushing stream on a cool morning, enjoying a cup of coffee, was overtaken by visions of a sitting alongside I-70 just outside of St. Louis on a 109 degree August day with a flat trailer tire, and being so broke I would have to work until I was 80, having nightmares of Dave Ramsay warning of careless spending.

Emotions are mixed. On the one hand, the horrific images of a holding tank disaster are gone, as are the potential panic attacks of pulling an aluminum carcass down the highway through the onslaught of a sudden Oklahoma hail storm. Unfortunately, also gone are those dreams of adventure on the open road I had imagined for us in our silver streak with the salsa interior.

Really though, deep down, I know the adventures will continue. They will just be different. You see, my Amazing-Missus and I are best friends. We were married eight years before our first child was born. (We didn’t want anyone to speculate that we “had” to get married [wink-wink]). So, living life together isn’t new to us. We’ll be fine.

Surely there comes a time when counting the cost and paying the price aren’t things to think about any more. All that matters is value - the ultimate value of what one does.
— James Hilton

Espresso, Oyster or Salsa

IN A FEW WEEKS, it will be two years since I went public here at About Pops with our dream to take to the open road in a shiny Airstream travel trailer. The potential of being judged as “impulsive” is eliminated.

Over the past two years, we’ve been to RV shows, visited dealerships, called on classified listings and even visited an Airstream rally. We’ve read blogs and forums and interviewed Airstream owners. Choosing the best model and size has been fun and formidable.

I’ve fretted over the wisdom of the expense at this stage of life, and have been haunted by the excess of it, making it a moral dilemma. Do I really have to justify everything?

Finally, for better or worse, we’ve made the decision. We’re gettin’ hitched (as in trailer to pickup). We have a couple of dealers offering us special deals on new trailers that are the model we’ve chosen. That’s the good news.

The other news is that we now face another big decision. We don’t want this one to take two years, so we are asking for your vote. That’s right. Here’s your chance to share your opinion, to help design the interior of a new Airstream. Normally, I wouldn’t throw an important matter like this onto the table of public opinion, but we are very lucky to have a lot of friends who are artists, designers, who have good taste and who know us well enough to help us with this decision.

As you ponder your vote, keep in mind that we really like modern design aesthetic, otherwise we wouldn’t be considering this Airstream model. Oh, and don’t forget this important factor: we have three Grand-Girls, ages 1, 3 and 6, who will be traveling with us from time to time.

There are three choices. Espresso, Oyster, and Salsa.







Here’s how you can vote: You can leave a comment here in the comments section at About Pops. You can also leave your vote as a comment on the post on the About Pops Facebook page. Or you can tweet your vote on Twitter @AboutPops.

Please vote. And, when the Airstream finally arrives, maybe we’ll come stay in your driveway for a week or two.