Have you ever wondered why someone would do something that was truly on the top of the stupid list, then you do that same idiotic thing yourself, AND THEN (because obviously you are not that stupid!?) you go and blame someone else—someone you love dearly.
Last fall my wife and I were on our way back from the yearly camping trip that we dearly treasure, where I spent two of the best dry-fly fishing evenings of my life on the famed San Juan River, and we explored Mesa Verde, including a fabulous meal at a five-star restaurant. We’d pulled our trailer nine hours from Mesa Verde through the awesome arches country of eastern Utah and the spectacular Colorado River canyon. We ached to go home. But if you’ve ever pulled a trailer, you’ll know that nine hours is long enough. Plus, home was another five hours away. So we pulled into a picturesque camping spot near Rifle, Colorado. We were both tired and ready to have a bite, read a book, and enjoy the views.
That’s when I tried to scrape off a vent cover from the top of our trailer, using a pinion
pine tree. Once I actually saw, with my own two eyes, someone scrape off the side of their trailer on a tree at Yellowstone. Seeing should be the best way to actually learn a lesson without experiencing it. Right? Those pull-through trailer sites can be tricky. But not for me.
I have a photo attached you should study, in case this “incident” does not “take.” Yeah, wouldn’t have been so bad if had just been the oven exhaust—one baggie and some duct tape, story over. But no, this had to be the biggest vent in the roof, aside from the AC unit (thank God that tree was just on one side and not overhanging the entire top). Though the hole, if left open to rain, could have ruined the refrigerator, heater and half the kitchen—all big-ticket items (okay, the AC would have been worse, not to mention other things happening to us—much worse—but I precede myself).
Getting back to the “incident.” Did I immediately blame myself for being so stupid? Nah. I jumped out of the truck and blamed my wife for not watching the trees and warning me that any second, if I pulled further forward, that tree limb would scrape off the vent and part of the trailer. I have to train her better.
Really? Would someone actually think that?
I am such a dolt—one with Guilty written into every red corpuscle. Flip each little red blood cell over in that boiling oil you want to fry me in and you will also see a very tiny Stupid tattooed on the back side.
The great thing about it? We both laughed it off. After. She knew I didn’t mean to blame her. Okay, she loves me more than I deserve. Also, I got to saw off the limb because I could not even budge the trailer without more damage. Have you ever sawed a pinion limb? Tough mothers. And perching in a tree like a monkey, but with the balance of on overweight, middle-aged, has-been athlete, I found concentration and sweaty fear took the place of anger. Yeah, pretty quick.
After that, I needed a lot of duct tape and a ladder. Colorado Park Rangers are your friend, by the way. She held the ladder and I taped the covering back on while we talked frankly about the “incident.” She never even let the ladder sway. Not once. She made great bacon and eggs for dinner; I had two beers; and we both slept like babies. After all, worse things could happen, like being in the middle of a twenty-car pileup on I-70 the next day before reaching home.
Just kidding. I was more careful and more awake, so everything went well—no pileup.
Two lessons I hope I learned. Never blame others for your own mistakes—you’d think after all these years I’d have learned that one already. The other thing: Don’t take yourself so seriously. I’m fallible. It was only a vent. My wife and I are still alive
and safe. It’s people that matter. Especially those you love.
So tell someone you love them, before you blow up and blame them for your own stupid mistake.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby. I do love you. Now, about that other thing …
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