Bright and early the next morning, I awoke to the sound of paint scrapers. Bill and Eleanor started early and were now on the south side of the barn working hard before the sun made it uncomfortable. I watched them a a little while, this time watching closely how they worked. Eleanor shouted down from her ladder, “Hey you want to help?”
“Sure,” I shouted. I wasn’t ever allowed to climb a ladder that high and here was my chance. I started up the ladder that Eleanor was standing on.
“No, not on the ladder, sweetie, but on the ground. There’s a small scraper over there by the tree… you can try it out down below.” This was not what I had in mind, but I had agreed to help so I picked up the scraper and started to mimic the work that they had been doing on the barn. It didn’t take long for me to get tired of this back and forth scraping. My arm was already sore after just a few minutes!
“Well, thanks, ” I hollered up to Eleanor, “but I think my mom needs my help in the house.” I quickly ran into the house and wondered why Eleanor and Bill were laughing so hard.
Then it was the weekend. The painters worked hard Saturday morning, but Sunday was a day of rest. During late afternoon I was wandering around the yard looking for something to do when Eleanor shouted out the camper window, “Hey sweetie! Do you want some lemonade?” I quickly ran over to the door of the camper and lo and behold… she invited me inside!
I carefully climbed up the steps of the little camper and sat down at a little table that was attached to the wall. Eleanor gave me a big cup of lemonade. My eyes must have been as big as a lemon because she let me explore the rest of the camper. It was everything I had imagined and more. A tiny refrigerator, a tiny table and a built in bed in the back. A very small bathroom, a radio on the kitchen counter, a tiny oven and stove top. This looked like paradise to me!
“Its not very big,” Eleanor explained, “but it works for us during painting season.” She then explained how they traveled south when it was winter time and worked in warmer climates when they could find jobs. They had a bigger house trailer somewhere down south which was close to relatives and other friends.
Finally she said, “What do you think of our little camper? ”
” I love it! I wish we had one to pull behind our car! It would be so much fun! “
She smiled and said, “Ok little one.. you probably better get back to the house before your mom misses you. See you tomorrow!”
“Thanks for the lemonade.” I headed out the door but turned around for one last look. Then I ran into the house to tell my Mom and Dad all about it.
A few days later, the barns were all finished and I sadly watched the painters load up their ladders, and hook the little camper to the truck. After a few goodbyes, we waved as they headed up the lane, disappearing in a cloud of dust just like they had arrived.
Sixty some years later, I have yet to fulfill my dream of traveling the world in a little camper. But other dreams have come true, and sometimes the memories of those old dreams are enough.
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