We started our July Fourth weekend a day early, arriving at camp on Thursday after work. With temperatures in the mid-90s, it took a couple of hours to cool Cloud 9 to a comfortable 80 degrees, and then it wasn’t long before Chef Cliff served an indoor picnic of grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw.
Next day, Jon worked from the Airstream, while Cliff watched “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” A late afternoon nap gave way to a “proper” cocktail hour, followed by a delicious Date Night dinner of grilled steak and veggies, accompanied by a Ravenswood cabernet.
Because Cliff didn’t have to work on Saturday morning, we had the entire day to ourselves. In addition to our regular favorites of reading The New York Times, drinking Bloody Marys, enjoying brunch, and taking a long afternoon nap, we also had the pleasure of meeting the couple who set up their Airstream at the adjacent campsite. Stephanie and Brent told us they had to wait eight months to take possession of their new rig, thanks to pandemic demand. This was after they sold their first Airstream to a couple who approached them while they were camping and asked them to name their price for the trailer…the buyers then returned the next day and paid them in cash. Stephanie and Brent immediately bought a larger Airstream, but they had no idea how long it would take to get it (by comparison, we waited three months to get ours back in 2015).
It got us thinking about how we might respond to a similar offer. Considering the many modifications we’ve made through the years, we doubt we could ever sell Cloud 9 for what we have invested in it. So, instead of thinking “bigger,” we started thinking “better.” Our plan is to install a slightly larger bathroom door that, when open, will completely close off the back half of the trailer for privacy (and, possibly, working from the road).
July Fourth found us watching the spectacular fireworks displays in Washington, D.C. and New York City on TV, listening to patriotic music, and enjoying a special surf-and-turf dinner in celebration of the 20th anniversary of our first date. Afterwards, we enjoyed a long, late-night walk, hand-in-hand, observing fireworks displays at the horizon from the many communities that surround the lake. It was magical.
This Independence Day felt truly liberating. All our pandemic practices and precautions have paid off. We avoided contracting the virus, and because we’re fully vaccinated, we feel more confident, less afraid, to return to some sense of normalcy. The pandemic experience changed not only how we work and live, but also how we think and feel. On the nation’s 245th birthday, we found ourselves deeply grateful–for the front-line workers who labored heroically throughout the pandemic; for the scientists who developed safe, effective vaccines at “warp speed;” for the many public servants who dedicated themselves to making decisions and implementing plans that were truly for the public good; for the people who delivered groceries and other products to our door, allowing us to shelter safely in place; for the technology that enabled us to stay connected; for the universities that made it possible for us to keep our jobs; for the five chihuahuas who didn’t seem to mind having us around them all the time; and for the 475 days we spent in each others’ company, getting to know and love one another more deeply than could have imagined.