25 A Week In Sydney
26 Interview with the Widow - 1
27 Interview with the Widow - 2
28 Three Kings of Orient
29 1969 - Year of the Rooster
30 Summer in Europe
31 Bellybuttons & Maggots
32 Yes/No vs. Maybe
33 Blood, Beer and Warm Feet
34 Mine Universe
35 Hands off, Boots on
36 The Accidental Cure
37 It's the Only Thing
38 The Professor's Stable
39 Little House on the Highway
40 "9/11 is OK"
41 Suspected Child Abuse
42 Midlife Crisis
43 Where Am I Today - 1
44 Where Am I Today - 2
45 The Rosebud Period
46 Angular and Giddy
47 Sandin, N. A., Computer
48 Hot Trailers
For some reason that escapes me today, my folks found it necessary to move our house trailer from one place to another in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan in the middle of winter. Of course, the inevitable snowstorm transpired and the inevitable flat tire occurred! The tire was changed using the spare for the trailer that Dad always carried and we were on our way again with minimal difficulty.
Next (in order to make a story, I guess) the other tire went flat and, of course, we had already used the spare. By this time the snow was pretty deep and no plow had been by. The road was narrow with invisible and unknown shoulder, so Dad parked the trailer as close as he could to the edge of the roadway and removed the flat.
Smitty, Dadís friend and co-worker, had accompanied us to help with the move. Dad and Mom went to get the two flats repaired or replaced and left Smitty and me to guard the trailer.
It was cold and windy but we actually had all the comforts of home available to us. However, visibility was very limited and Smitty and I worried about someone ramming us. As darkness started to fall, we foraged about and found some leaves and small sticks for kindling and an old (abandoned, I hope) fence post to break up for firewood and soon had a roaring, protective blaze going just behind the trailer to warn oncoming motorists.
Fire in the snow
The fire was warming and comforting and soon seemed to take on a life of its own. Literally! We considered searching for more wood, but it just didnít seem to be necessary. It was kind of fun to be out in the snow with a fire in the middle of the night, and I just forgot all about getting out of the elements and entering the trailer.
All too soon Dad and Mom returned with the tires and Dad was livid. In his opinion, the fire was way too large and way too close to our house and home! Now in all fairness, when we started the fire it was tiny, and well away from the back of the trailer. We really didnít intend for it to be six feet around with flames three feet high.
With some difficulty we managed to scoop enough snow to douse the fire, and in the process we found both the reason for our great success and the source of Dadís concerns. It seems that US 2 in this stretch was an asphalt road and our tiny fire melted the snow away and started consuming the asphalt. Left alone it would have burned all night! And burned many yards of highway! And burned one small house trailer!
Dad replaced the tire, hooked up the trailer to the car, kicked some snow over the pothole in the asphalt, and we were on our way. I guess we all felt a tiny bit of guilt for the pothole, but we had parked on that short stretch of US 2 between Crystal Falls and Iron Mountain that cuts across a bit of Wisconsin, and we were all Michiganders, so what did we care. (At about 8 years old, I guess technically I was a Michigosling and Mom, of course, was a Michigoose.)
The pothole was
probably just under the US 141 shield
between Florence and Spread Eagle, Wisconsin
A few years later while our trailer was parked in Grand Ledge, MI, I came home and hooked my baseball cap over the light fixture in my ďbedroomĒ. The fixture was simply a socket with a bulb and one of those small shades that snaps over the bulb. I donít know if the light was on or off at the time, but when I came back in a little later, the light was on and the cap was smoking. I grabbed it by the brim and headed for the door. Before I got outside the smoldering cap burst into flame!
Once again, except for some smoke stains on the wall and ceiling, no damage was done to the trailer. In retrospect, I have to wonder if I harbored a deep-seated dislike for that trailer and was unconsciously trying to destroy it.
Another period of time later, I was playing with matches near the trailer of friends of ours. They had used bales of straw to keep the winter winds from roaring under the trailer. I donít recall exactly what I was trying to accomplish with the matches, but suddenly some of the loose straw was aflame. I rushed back and forth from the spigot with about a cup of water in a pail each time and was not getting the job done. Fortunately, an adult observed the problem, drew a pail full of water, and put out the flames.
Insulating straw bales
Now, MANY years later, I am happy to say I never destroyed a house trailer. However, as much as I disliked living in them, Iím not sure I shouldnít have tried a little harder.
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