Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Pick Up DAY! Part 2

Sorry for the suspense filled night... I know you were dying to know the details...! 
Just a preview!! 
After we - astutely I might add- realized the van would not be fixed before we would need to get the camper, we just decided to leave... broken hinges and all. That surely was a job for another day! 

So here it is Tuesday at 2:45, and we need to drive 50 minutes to PawPaws Campers in Picayune, MS.  Simply by pronouncing the name of the dealership you know we are in the south, even if you are from a foreign land and have no idea what state abbreviations mean. There is no other way to say that than with a southern drawl. Kind of like the sandwiches they have here... "Po Boys". Other wise known as subs, grinders, hoagies, or "subway" for you more traveled folk! Southern through and through, I am tellin' y'all.

Ok... back to the pick up day!

Just a bit of background info here.

Mississippi has rains that pretty much will flash flood. (Or hurricanes... remember Katrina?!) For that reason, there are large gullies along the sides of the roads for the water to run into to prevent the roads from being impassable. They also build the roads up quite a bit, for as we all know from 3rd grade Science class, (we are all smarter than 5th graders here, right?!) water will take the path of least resistance and flow to the lowest point. It makes for passable roads, but they have not mastered the "shoulder of the road" thing. They put the rumble grooves ON the white line... if there is a white line... which is also the edge of the road. Period. No SHOULDER! Just a little dirt... then the gully. Wow! So UnLike NY! There is a visual for you...

Now the other fun piece is... this a logging industry haven. They grow super huge Southern Pines that the rest of the world knows as telephone poles. I personally knew they had to come from somewhere, and now I know one major source of them.


In order for the pines to grow tall and straight, they have to keep the ground brush free of the junk that will not only make them grow less, but will also make harvesting quite a challenge. Ever walk through thicket? Well me neither, but Dan tells me it is a pain. I guess he has done it a few times while hunting. Who knew?!


In order to keep the ground cleared, they start brush fires that to these Yankee eyes look nothing short of a full blown forest fire to rival the ones in Southern California. I am talking acres of burning ground that billow black smoke hundreds of yards into the sky, and project the heat to any vehicle that may pass by. Just imagine it! It truly is a startling thing to me, yankee that I am! (I know you southern friends are so familiar with this... liken it to seeing 4 feet of snow on your lawn. The "shock factor" comparison is similar!)


We got to PawPaws, put the whole hitch thing into the receiver, and then got the clamps onto the tongue of the camper for the load leveling bars, put the chains on, hooked up the electric, and both nearly felt like we were going to be physically ill. After what seems like anything that could go wrong has in the past three weeks, we were- to say the least- filled with angst and anxiety  nervous.

We pulled it out of the parking lot quadruple checking every angle, turn, mirror and tire... and every creek of the axels and squeak of the hitch and rattle of the chains brought back visions of metal being ripped off the van and 32' of camper sliding free-form on pavement... I was not doing well to say the least! One look at my man... and he was faring little better!! We have traveled campers for YeArS at speeds of 75 mph through wind, rain, sleet and snow and navigated out of tight parking lots behind dealerships with 70 ft. drops separated only by broken and rusted fences... we are not novices here! We were visibly shaken just getting this thing out of the parking lot!!! (OH... just keep praying for us!)

Now we have the 50 minutes to travel this back to Saucier where we will park it until we leave for Florida in a couple of days. Now comes the time when that little bit of background information comes in handy.

We were traveling a small country road between Rt 59 and Rt 603. I cannot begin to tell you the name of the road, but it was very much like the one pictured above. Except it had no white and yellow lines. Just a narrow paved road edged with a little bit of dirt and gullies. Then we catch a visual of some black plumes of smoke, and first-hand we experience acres of brushfire RIGHT UP TO THE ROAD!!! We are already completely unnerved trailering this camper, and this had to happen!  These are not actual pictures. I was too busy covering my head and crying out like a baby for mercy enjoying the scene to have the presence of mind to take an actual picture. 

We were so comforted to see the 'ol boys that owned the land standing nearby, each with a shovel in their hand just in case it got out of control. You know, a man can do a lot with a shovel. 
The fire went RIGHT UP TO THE EDGE OF THE ROAD!!!! I am not kidding here!!

Savannah... please comment and tell people I am dead serious when I say these things! I expect this in Zambia... I ExPeRienCed this in Zambia... but that is a 3rd world country!!! 

I have stress in my neck just typing this because it is making me relive those moments. I no longer cared about the creaking of all the metal, it was certainly going to be a fire ball that would do this camper in! I didn't even look at Dan for fear he would mirror my emotions, and we would just curl up in two little balls and never be heard of again. I am sure it was only a few hundred yards of fire that we passed through, but I so understood the teeniest tad of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's plight for those brief moments. 

Dan somehow managed to hold it all together, and the camper stayed centered on the narrow little road, and we did make it to our destination. And when we got back we just thanked the Good Lord for his abundant mercy in our lives. Mercy alone is truly why we are not consumed!! 
Here is a nice picture to leave you with. The trees somehow survive the flames, and the ground is much cleared of the ground scrub. Oh the things we are learning on deputation. Not only about geography and regions unlike our own, but of God and his amazing love for us. Truly we are blessed and thankful for all of these events. Who knows what we may need to have in our arsenal of personal experiences when we get to Zambia! God knows... and we continue to TRUST HIM in it ALL!!

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Mrs. Vicky Smith said...

This is soo sooo funny...I laughed out loud through the entire story. And yes, we "burn the woods" in South MS and yes, sometimes it even inches close to the roadways. Funny that you mentioned MS gullies (we call them ditches) because when I was in NY I did notice that your roads do not have ditches and I wondered where all the melting snow drains to. Still wondering :)

Dan said...

The snow never melts so quickly that the road ways would flood. Sometimes there are flood warnings of the creeks and streams overflowing, but remember for every foot if snow... it only equals about an inch of rain. Not so much water! :)

Anonymous said...

Me to Mama! I literally LOL and missed "Home" the whole way through this story... gotta love them "po boys" and them "po ol' boys" havin' da stand around waitin' on da fire da get outta hand ;-) Lol
Gullies= ditches... lol
Sure do wish I was a fly on the wall each time you experience the real South! :)
Love each of you! Praying very often.