I have been hearing Roy Rogers sing that snappy little tune for days now. If I knew how to whistle, I would be whistling it while I work. I have always been a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans fan, though I probably could not come up with any brilliant reasons why. Maybe it was their unassuming way of being humble in the midst of their success, or their fun and flirty style when talking to each other while on camera. I could never image one without the other.
To me Dale was a “girls’ girl.” I loved many of the starlets of the era—Jane Russell and others—but I could not relate to them. I was and am more of a “ride ‘em cowgirl and get your hands dirty”, kind of girl and less of a “Daisy Duke.” Not that I do not have an appreciation for the Daisy Duke types; many of my friends fall easily into those roles, but for me Dale was the best of the best. Stylish, but not too fussy, sophisticated yet approachable. In addition, could there be a better “send off” to give anyone other than to wish them “happy trails?”
I have always wanted a little travel trailer. I have great memories of my grandparents’ travel trailer and their little group of travelers. Every summer they would set off to the coast or some such destination. If I were lucky, I would get to go. My grandma made the art of “camping” look easy, and I loved sitting around the campfire listening to the stories and laughter as everyone recounted the day’s events. On those trips, I watched my grandma as she sat, listening to the “fish tales” with some sort of handwork in her hand. When we were not camping, I loved to hide away in the camper as it sat back behind my grandparents’ house, using it as a hideaway where I could read or write.
I married into a family that has a family cabin in the mountains. It has been in the family for 125 years or more, and it is very much their heritage. Seldom is there a weekend during spring, summer or fall that something is not going on up there, we now have taken to having Christmas there. I know that we are so honored to have it and use it, but I always missed the wandering part of the adventure that goes with having a trailer. Hooking up the trailer, loading up the truck and heading down the road…and while we knew our destination, it was always a little exciting to hear grandpa say, “We will go as far as we like and then pull over somewhere.” The word “somewhere” was such a thrill…we did not know exactly where, but somewhere…
My grandparents usually traveled with their friends Sam, Betty, and their kids, who were older than I was but everyone always made me feel welcome on the adventure. There were always campers, boats, fishing, and stories around the fire. Traveling with friends made the adventure more fun for me. It was like having witnesses to the memories, and I loved hearing them talk about all the trips that they had taken over the years, all the snapshots and mishaps with the fish tales that seemed to be improved with every adventure.
Two years ago, the camping bug was once again ignited in me—what I had been able to keep as a slow ember was now in full flames. I WANTED A TRAILER. And not just any trailer of course, but a vintage trailer that I could fix up and pull down the road with my other Farmgirl sisters. And just as true friends do, I had “sisters” Grace and Heather fanning the flames. See, they both already HAD their trailers. Then adding insult to injury, my college friend and my hubby’s high school friends Thane and Gail got their vintage Cutie.
So not that there was whining involved (okay, there was whining involved), but to mark our recent 25th wedding anniversary (September 1), I finally got my own trailer. She is a 1967 16’ Aladdin and is in perfect condition. Oh sure, she needs a little dolling up, but I am looking forward to that. I have already named her “The Back Forty.” I thought it would be a lot of fun that when anyone asked, “Hey, where is Rene this weekend?” my friends and family could answer, “Oh, she’s in the back forty.” Of course, she will be decorated with all kinds of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans memorabilia. And since I have been coveting the new bedding at the MaryJane Store called Moonlit Serenade, I know what will be going on the two beds in the trailer. I have already begun to stitch pillows that have Roy and Dale quotes and movie titles on them, and cannot wait to own some of Miss Wilma’s yummy vintage lace pillows to go in there as well.
Her maiden voyage as “The Back Forty” will happen at the end of September, when I take her out to an outdoor school that my dad has asked me to come help with—a group of fifth graders learning to love the great outdoors. I hope that my little trailer will ignite in one of them what my grandparents’ trailer ignited in me so very long ago.
For a girl like me, who thinks that every country road has a story to tell, it seems that having a trailer just makes telling those stories that much sweeter. Happy Trails.