A gas-guzzlin, shiny black truck rolls up the cracked driveway and parks in front of my house. Inside the house I’ve piled high a generous amount of blankets, books, towels, cleaning supplies, backpacks, and more of the usual, necessary crap for life. A couple mattresses and a steel trundle lean precariously against the kitchen island.
You ready to go? Yep. I think we got everything.
Travel back in time a few weeks before, to an early Sunday morning. A silver van pulls up that same driveway and I climb in the back, Bible in tow, ready to go. Connor’s dad is our chauffeur, also footing the gas bill, thank the heavens, and we set off on that 2 hour drive from Abingdon to Harlan. One I am now extremely familiar with.
The service that morning in Harlan was the usual. Following the service we tried our hardest to meet and greet everyone, even those rushing out the back door scared for their lives, and Lee then called us over to have a little meeting. I was nervous. I don’t know why – I just was.
Lee is the proud owner and landlord of a nice plot of land between the river and the railroad tracks just outside of Harlan in an area called Rosspoint. On this land are many aged and well-used trailers available for rent to anyone interested.
It had a broken front door with an empty space in the window where the (recently stolen) air conditioner once sat. Inside was a massive 60” TV (just for looks, it didn’t turn on), an equally large lounge chair from the 70’s that had been converted into a flea and mite hotel a few years ago, and a collection of extravagant glow-in-the-dark stars glued to the ceiling to finish off the pleasant environment.
To say the least – I was pumped.
Sure, sure – I needed about 5 gallons of Lysol, 30 gallons of pest control spray, and some new seating options (the lounge chair had no vacancies) but all that was easily attainable. The main thing I saw in good old lucky Trailer #13, was that it is a place to stay.
It had a good fridge, an original GE oven that was about to blow any second (come on – who doesn’t like risk and adventure?), and a newly fashioned backdoor/hole in the spare room for the raccoon to visit in the evenings (he visited once or twice. The door was just his size).
As you can see – there were no negatives to this trailer whatsoever. It required a tad bit of work, yes, but the potential was incredible.
Back to the original scene. Connor is here with his truck and my stuff is all ready to be tossed in the back. We haul over to Harlan, poring it on the make it up every mountain and out of every valley until we officially arrive in Harlan, KY – our new home for summer 2012. Two new keys jingle on my ring as I pull them out of my pocket, open up the newly installed front door on Trailer #13, immediately hitting the power button on the second new addition, our life-giver and sustainer, the Almighty Air Conditioner (which I give up a little prayer for everytime we come home and it hasn’t been stolen) and then we start to move everything in.
All in all, the trailer here is a beautiful blessing and wonderful testament to prayer and hope – we prayed and hoped that we could work in Harlan this summer, but the one major thing that was stopping us was a place to live and sleep. Trailer #13 was the solution to that problem and therefore I am eternally grateful to Lee for allowing us to stay here.
But that is just the beginning to our summer in Harlan. It hasn’t quite ended yet, it hasn’t quite turned out the way I imagined, and it hasn’t quite affected me the way I thought it would. (I thought I would hate Harlan and then through my desire to help, I would have to force myself to be content here. In reality…I love this place.)
There is much more to be said about my good old pal, Trailer #13, and about the work going on here in Harlan. There is much more to be said.
But I’ll save that for another time.