Clear Creek – Last Camp

image of Frances playing her banjo, Cleo-May, outside Emma the camper

Clear Creek, near San Benito Mountain, California, 1988

Tuesday, May 17th 

We found this camp on the way out last week, I remembered it from when we came in Saturday night, the first camp, now empty. We like it a lot. Plenty of trees, pretty flat, separated from the road by a short driveway, down. Not very close to the creek, but that’s all right. It’s beautiful here, a wonderful view of the mountain, there’s even grass. We stop, move out the table, set it up as roof and platform for getting stuff out of the truck so we can move around a little, cook supper, play with the computer, put the bed down and rest in each other’s arms, safe and cozy … but not quite content.  Not with the huge job of finishing necessary hardware projects and rearranging this truck so we can “live” in it. It’s harder on Timothy than it is on me; he has to do all the truck repairs … I have a way of being able to ignore things, though I do admit to a slight claustrophobia once in a while, like when I woke up last night imagining more and more stuff piled up on top of us so we could neither move nor call for help. There isn’t anybody.

Two minutes after seven. We ate supper two hours ago, corn tortillas with the mould torn off, Finnish Lappi cheese (delicious, reminds me of Finn Gramma [but that’s another story]. Louisiana Red Devil Hot Sauce, lots of grated organic cabbage (we try to eat cabbage every day but lots of times we forget to, or just don’t have time to fix it), Pace Medium Picante Sauce, brewers yeast (the big flakes that you can still get at the co-op), tamari, cold pressed olive oil from the natural foods store (I hope they have health food stores in Louisiana.)

7:14  The apple sauce is done, I have to take it off the stove. Last night we ate all the applesauce I made and I’m sure we’ll do the same tonight, even though I made a bigger batch. Timothy comes in for Seattle Orange Spice tea just as I had put the applesauce on to cook. “You ought to have a whole hay-press to cook for,” Timothy says, amused.

I say, “I guess I do cook too much, but I like to cook. I like to cook for people. I like to cook for you. I would never cook for myself, hardly ever. Maybe once in a while some scalloped potatoes or bread pudding. If I cooked for the hay-press I could make big hogga-bogga pans of bread pudding, wash tubs of bread pudding, bathtubs!

Timothy is just putting the finishing touches on his elegant “circuit” of securing in place the aluminum box that has taken many hours of his brilliant engineering skills. In other words he made a box and put it up under the truck. I go outside with a hot-face cloth.

He says, “I can’t do that now, not when I’m trying to hold up forty pounds over my head under this truck!”

Oomph, it goes up, the red cargo strap cinched and secured, I kneel and look up to look at it. “You always amaze me, Timothy, I don’t know how you can do all this stuff. My father would have been proud of you. You should have been his son, he loved people who could do things well. He could do so many things, build things; he was a worker and a perfectionist … and funny, sarcastic.”

Timothy says, “Not to mention the slide valve we finally installed in the dishwater holding tank. It’s been two weeks since I tore off the old one that leaked irreparably, the one that got broken by a big rock only a few miles from here last summer, shortly after dark when I backed the truck up in a dither, upset that what I though would be a road around the far side of Spanish Lake petered out into a path too narrow to fit. Bump grind! Damnit! If I’d only listened to Frances. But now a new valve is up there, secured with threaded Pop rivets and four brass bolts, and sealed with General Electric’s 50 year guaranteed silicone adhesive.”

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