Jul 25, 2012

Lessons Learned In a Tent Trailer

by Kari Diane Pike

The Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller meant well. It was a simple enough request. "May I have your address please?"

I began to rattle off my new mailing address. "P.O. Box ...."

The Interrupting Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller scowled down at the paper on the desk and sniffed. "I'm sorry, but you have to give me your permanent street address, not your mailing address."

"But I don't have a permanent ...."

Now the Highly Irritated Sniffy Interrupting Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller looked up and glared at me. "Of course you do. You have to live somewhere."

"Yes, I do. I live in a tent trailer in my sister-in-law's driveway."

"Oh." (Long pause here as the Astute Bank Teller takes it all in -- and sniffs -- again.) "So...you're like...homeless?"


 I hadn't really thought of it that way before.We have access to the house and use of all the facilities -- and even though there are 5 girls and 2 guys and one bathroom -- we have a Texaco station just down the road that opens at 6 a.m. Besides, there are a number of advantages to living in such small quarters:
  • Household chores take all of ten minutes!
  • With such limited space, "owning" things doesn't appeal to me any more. Every purchase is thought out carefully. Is it worth tripping over, climbing around, or sitting upon? How many different ways can I use it?
  • I talk to my kids more. They can't hide in their rooms!
  • I know exactly when my girls come home from their dates or hanging out with friends. I hear everything - every footstep, every toss and turn and every whisper.
  • I've learned that a cat and a parakeet can learn to tolerate each other.
  • A cat in a tent trailer gives a whole new meaning to "climbing the walls."
  • I get to observe the daily (and nightly) comings and goings of "all creatures great and small."(including, but not limited to: spiders, deer, bumble bees, skunks, and crazy joggers.)
Right now, tower bells chime the hour,  giving the up beat to that symphony we call life. The neighbor's sprinklers hiss a steady rhythm to the yells of a cheer squad practicing in the park. A dove calls her mate and ducks squawk at a passing dog as it sniffs along the fence line. Somewhere down the block, a hen cackles a descant as she lays her egg.

A swallow skims across the top of the lawn, steeply ascending as the growling bass of an approaching trash truck crescendos to a roar. The sharp staccato of a nail gun punctures the air in counter point to the dueling buzz of a table saw and weed whackers. Two flat-faced pugs add a cacophony of high-pitched yaps.

I step out of the trailer and lie down in the cool, soft grass. The pugs stop yapping. The tenor of mini van tires humming on the asphalt replaces the trash truck's bass. A shifting breeze chases away the echo of lawn mowers and carpentry tools and carries in the scent of fresh cut grass and wood smoke.Goose bumps raise on my arms as I look up at the charred face of the mountain where recent fires threatened to destroy this magnificent production. A flash of movement catches my peripheral vision. A Monarch butterfly flits among the day lilies and I think of the scripture in Matthew 8:20 where we are taught:

"And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

The setting sun throws its golden light across the sapphire sky in a grand finale of color and I know that I have been blessed with riches far greater than I could ever imagine.



  1. Beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration today. :-)


  2. That was beautifully written. I could see, hear, and feel everything your described. What a wonderful attitude you carry within your heart, Kari. By the way, with the right motivation (being chased by a well-meaning but dense young dog) a cat can climb painted drywall, too. I've seen it. ;D

  3. So perfectly written, such a monumental example of coping skills I don't have. You are my hero.

  4. Thank you for all the kind words! And a cat climbing painted drywall..that must have been a sigh! I'm still laughing thinking about it!

  5. What beautiful metaphor. Excellent. Loved every reading moment of it ♥ Good luck to you and yours ♥

  6. I think gratitude is one of life's most essential characteristic traits. Your grateful attitude is inspiring and I will count my blessings today.


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