Wilson’s Pop-Up Camper Incident

After “Wilson” moved out of the house without heat, he and his elderly black chow (I’m blanking on the dog’s name) moved into a pop-up camper he had bought.

He moved it frequently to avoid “imperial entanglements”. This meant I saw him less often, and I don’t even know where he was parked most of the time. I never was invited out to his camper; he probably didn’t want anyone to know where he was parked. He was probably on Bureau of Land Management land– it was all around us and I knew several people who lived on it.

He still stopped by the shop in town to visit during working hours, or dropped by my campfire if I was home.

One day he came to the shop very agitated. Almost explosive with anger.

He told me he had gone out for a hike and when he returned he saw a couple of people fleeing his camper, which had been vandalized. All the canvas around the door had been shredded. He was really angry, and I was sympathetic. After all, it was his home. He wasn’t sure it could be (affordably and sufficiently) repaired. At least his dog was OK.

He was going to track the vandals down, and… what? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be them. So with grim determination, he took off again.

I felt really bad about his situation, but he wasn’t usually open to accepting help.

I didn’t see him for a couple of days, but when I did he was acting strangely sheepish. He needed to tell me something, and I could tell it was really bothering him.

He made sure no one could hear us and admitted there had been no vandals. His chow had ripped up the canvas to escape the camper, possibly intending to follow him on his hike. The dog was old and arthritic, and he had left him behind so he could get where he was going faster, and with less trouble. The dog wasn’t too bright and constantly caused problems, on the trail and off. So the dog ripped up the canvas to escape, but ended up hanging around the camper anyway.

He seemed a little less excitable after this incident. I didn’t hold it against him, even though I didn’t really understand why he made up the story in the first place. That’s the only time I know of that he wasn’t truthful. This wasn’t too long before he vanished from the area without a word.

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Kent McManigal

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Liking the “Wilson” stories. More please…