Memorably ours

Two years ago on Memorial Day, while parked in this same campground, we almost lost Ernie to a refrigerator fire. Yesterday morning we called in a mobile RV tech to deal with the coach’s electrical gremlins.

Our instructions to him were simple: “Just don’t set our home on fire.”

After two hours of testing circuits and a couple of hard resets, he had bad news — it’s the inverter. It’s fried. It’s expensive. Fortunately, we found a NOS unit on Amazon for one-third of current retail. It’ll be here next week.

None of that’s good — but as we’ve learned, it could’ve been a lot worse.

Allergies are giving Deb fits. She coughs, she wheezes and at this point she has almost no voice. She’s on her second or third allergy med, but nothing has helped. Last night was an especially rough one for her.

I got out of bed around 3:15am, unable to sleep myself. Smudge had been yipping plaintively, like a smoke alarm with a low battery, so I took her outside. The two of us hung out in the living space and, a couple of hours later, we greeted the brightening Ozarkansas sky together.

It made for a relatively peaceful start to my Tuesday.

I removed the puppy’s muzzle so that she could gnaw on bones and play with toys. She returned my trust by leaving her wound dressing alone (mostly). We’ve forged a satisfying bond, a sort of understanding. Great dog, loyal and remarkably affectionate. She gets it.

Two cups of coffee later, and as I was gathering trash to put out for collection by park staff, Deb emerged. She was understandably groggy, still with all the symptoms of spring-in-The-South allergies, but she insisted that putting off our Memorial Day plans again was unacceptable.

We pulled together what we needed for the day, hopped in the truck and headed for The Mountain.

The Silverado has become quite the workhorse — still smooth and comfortable as it wears a groove between Harrison and Yellville, covered in dust and mud, Miss Smudge’s imprint all over the interior.

There’s something very satisfying about that. I’ve always been rather a neat freak, fastidious about my cars and trucks and motorcycles, but this new condition somehow feels right. It feels utilitarian. It feels Country, and my retirement truck fits right in with its companions on the roads ’round here.

As if to validate that this morning, when we pulled onto the subdivision road we fell into a cloud of dust behind a Marion County grader. It’s what we’re told is called “courtesy maintenance” — it’s not a county road, so they’re not required to do anything to it, but once a year they make a couple of passes and drag the gravel back onto the travel surface.

A few minutes later, we’d just crested the steep grade on our way up The Mountain when I gestured to my left and remarked to Deb, “That’s where I saw the doe on Friday.”

As I spoke, I turned to look.

“And there she is again.”

It definitely was the same deer, the heavy black on her face a giveaway. Today she stood just feet away, at the entrance to our Ranger trail to the summit, placidly staring at us.

To our eyes, it looked like she’ll produce a fawn soon, too.

Once we reached the homesite we opened up the fifth-wheel, deployed the awning and fired up the generator. We’d brought along cooking gear and fixins to do the feed we’d originally planned for yesterday, Memorial Day.

I lit my old Coleman two-burner propane stove and warmed up the Lodge cast-iron grill. Deb tended to the “Bahama Mama” links, a long-time summer staple for us, ordered special from Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in Columbus, Ohio. She made a big batch of her incomparable bean salad. Her cousin came by and joined us for our first home-cooked meal on The Mountain.

Everything came together perfectly. This is a day we’ll remember.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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