The big hookup

How I finally scored a trailer of my very own

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My 6-year-old daughter bought the whole blissful picture from the moment I showed her the jpegs on the Web. "Where are we taking it?" she asked excitedly.

What choice did I have but to start collecting brochures?

I bought my 1972 Shasta camper on eBay without really thinking about the particulars — for instance, the task of towing the damn thing home from Indiana. I thought maybe I could have it hauled here and sit it in my yard as a lovely restored relic or something.

Once I realized I'd have to go get it myself, I naturally assumed all three of my best friends would go with me. But Lary pussied out: he said he'd have to kill Daniel and me both if he went, and that would entail twice the effort at body disposal. Grant pussied out, too, because, well, I still don't know why. I think it's because he secretly fosters a man-crush on Lary these days, and doesn't want to be so far apart from him, even if it is for only two days and a good cause.

Daniel, of course, was on board. He is always 100 percent behind me for the really important stuff. Plus, like me, he's unemployed — or "self-directed," as we refer to it now that we've decided not to pursue actual jobs in the sense that actual jobs entail working for other people. But I have a trailer now, so if worse comes to worst, at least my girl and I will have a place to live.

My sisters and I never needed to hear my father's sales pitch; we immediately fell for whatever trailer he pulled into the driveway. It helped that his trailers were often nicer than whatever hovel we were calling home. Once we lived in a clapboard cabin two blocks from the beach that had a toilet in the middle of the living room. Not a bathroom, mind you, but a single toilet, elevated even, as though on a throne, which I assume facilitated the flushing. Considering this, I find it curious that we never actually moved into my father's trailers themselves.

So yes, I started collecting RV lot brochures, just as my own mother did back in the day. And I started thinking maybe I can tow a damn trailer myself. I had never towed so much as a red kiddie wagon before, but I got a hitch put on my car — amazingly, because who thought they made hitches to fit PT Cruisers — and damned if that little Shasta trailer didn't tow like a (kinda wind-resistant) dream all the way back from Indiana.

I would not have believed it would work if not for the faith of my girl. But that's one of the surprise perks about having kids, because when you have kids you get to believe everything all over again. I couldn't wait to see her face when I showed her the trailer.

"And if you think this is great," I planned to say, producing the brochures, "wait until you hear about hookups."


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