Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why the Mouse, a Camper, and Coming Full Circle is Good for the Muse

A lifetime ago, our family drove to Disney World to see the mouse for the first time. We bought a pop-up camper for the trip, with plans to camp there and back again.

Afterward, we parked the pop-up beneath the red maple next to our detached garage, congratulating ourselves on the fact that we had stretched our budget, and ended up with a nifty way to indulge our family's love of camping in years to come.

The camper's remained there ever since. Not because we haven't wanted to use it, but because E's recovery and illnesses since her 2001 aneurysm has kept our family in what feels like perpetual bunker mentality.

Over the years, P's suggested selling the camper. The first time he floated the idea, I was a full-time Vermont College student, bemoaning the bills, specifically the high cost of grad school as I inspected a VC invoice.

"You know," he said, gazing at me over a steaming mug of tea one Saturday morning, "the camper would pay for a semester of school and then some."

My stomach fluttered. My heart thumped wildly. Sell the camper, I thought. No. We can't. I won't. Selling it would mean...would mean...I shook my head, clenched the bill tight. I didn't know what it meant. But this much I knew. Selling the camper felt wrong somehow, almost as if doing so would mean selling a piece of my self.

P never pushed the idea, but his suggestion niggled at me over the years. One spring, after doing taxes and realizing what a big chunk E's meds and medical care take from our income each year, I actually wrote copy for a classified ad.

Thankfully, I never submitted it. We dusted off the pop-up this weekend with plans to go camping next week.

Appetite for writing: ravenous.

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