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An Unexpected Surprise

This summer we’d just purchased our first travel trailer and I was amazed at how much work it was to get ready at the campsite.  The trailer has to be leveled side-to-side and front to back and the wheels blocked up and the jacks lowered.  The trailer disconnected from the van and the electricity and water have to be hooked up and.   Once we get that done, my wife sets up the inside and I finish with the outside things.

Camping with a travel trailer isn’t as much work as the old way of setting up the screen tent and the sleeping tent and the sleeping bags and our outdoor kitchen.  We’ve always worked together as a team, which helped with the labor.  But a travel trailer is still a lot of work nonetheless.  Just different.

It’s a joint effort and I suspect as we practice we’ll get better at it and more efficient and streamlined.  The camaraderie of working together with her is half the fun.  We’ve camped our whole married life and always had an unspoken division of labor.  We’re in our third camping phase: tents the first 17 years, a full size van the last 20 and now this year we tried our hand at owning a travel trailer.

Earlier this fall my wife and I went camping with some of our extended family.  One evening I was taking a walk and I noticed an elderly couple had just driven into the campground with their older pickup and fifth wheel trailer.  I admired them that even though it was an older rig and nothing fancy they were still out camping in their twilight years.

But then I noticed the husband got out of his pickup and started getting the trailer ready to live in for the night while his wife was sitting in the pickup looking like she was reading.  What? I thought what kind of a deal is that?  He does all the work while she sits there?  How unfair is that?  What couple goes camping together and the wife doesn’t even help?  I was a bit disgusted and muttered judgments to myself about her.

The next morning I was out for another stroll and I noticed this couple getting ready to leave already.   Our campground was near the interstate so no doubt they were on a trip together somewhere.  However, this time when I saw them, my attitude was much different.  I saw him assisting his wife to the front of their pickup.  She was barely able to walk with her walker and would not be able to make it to the pickup without his help.

So that’s why she didn’t help.  She couldn’t.  Yet this couple is still out camping and traveling the country?  How cool is that?  Even though he does the lion’s share of the work, they still do their camping together.  I wondered how many couples do that?  I hoped I would.  I hope when our health slips a bit we’re still out traipsing around seeing the country, sharing a campfire and seeing new sites.

There’s only one reason they could do that together: a servant attitude and unselfishness.  I don’t see much of that in my office.  I suspect if people had a servant attitude and unselfishness I’d be out of a job.

Good for him, I thought.  Lord, let me be that guy.

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