The wood in the picture above is one thing that was missing from our campsite the night before. I'd had visions of us sitting around a blazing fire each night when I daydreamed of coming to Garner State Park for our family vacation.
The next morning after the line up for the restrooms with the kids, I got out the camp stove, struck a match to light the burner, then scrambled up some eggs.
The warm food was refreshing along with the bottled orange juice. When I looked around at my young little clan, I saw how their eyes sparkled amidst their giggles and laughter. They had a roof over their heads and full stomachs and in this gorgeous place. We were together on an adventure and I detected their anticipation.
Changing clothes took a while as they took turns in the tent and then we brushed our teeth over the spigot by our campsite before exploring the campgrounds.
We found a dance pad with a jukebox, a jail which they played in for a while. We discovered on the other side of the campgrounds, there were newer campsites with newly planted trees so tiny that they did not provide any protection from the blazing afternoon sun. I was grateful I thought to ask for a wooded area when I reserved our campsite.
We all piled into my bronze Lincoln Continental ready to head out for Leaky, TX, the nearest town, to enjoy a relaxing lunch and to search for more reasonably priced firewood.
I turned the key only to hear a grinding noise and then a click. No engine started up. No power. I looked in the rearview mirror at the expectant faces and saw their smiles melt away. These were exchanged for puzzled looks of consternation.
Now what? I didn't plan on any repair bills while I was up here. This was supposed to be a low budget vacation with fun in nature for the kids.
So, I pumped the gas one more time and then tried the key. Again there was no response.
The young Hispanic father headed toward us from the neighboring campsite. We had waved "hi" to the family while we were eating. He was camping with his wife and three children. Curious, I rolled down the window.
He asked me to pop the hood on the car so he could take a look. It couldn't hurt, so I popped the hood release. After looking things over, he told us to go ahead and to get out of the car and that he worked on cars for a living and he thought he could fix the car in about thirty minutes or so. (Maybe his wife rolled her eyes?)
This was unbelievable! I had just breathed a prayer asking God for help. I figured that I would have to call for a wrecker and since we were ten miles from the nearest tow station I had no idea how I was going to get all five of us into town, how long it might take, and what expensive parts and labor I was going to have to pay for as well as the towing.
Twenty minutes later, he reached for some soap and went to the water tap to scrub the grease off his hands. He splashed water on his face. Then grinned at us with the face of a victor.
Exhaling, with a big smile on my face, I thanked God silently. We all expressed our gratitude to the young father. It was so kind of him to volunteer to assist us while on his family vacation.
It was nearly eleven and the sun stood high and hot in the sky. The kids hurried to the car after my first call. The car rolled out of the park and purred contentedly like nothing had even happened. It was time to get to Leaky for an enjoyable lunch.
After eating our fill, the waitress gave directions to a house in town that sold firewood for a reasonable price. We drove around some until we finally found it. The owner came out and warily checked us out. He asked where we were from and found that I was alone camping with my kids.
When it came time to sell me the wood, he ended up filling up 1/2 my trunk with wood for only $5. To top it off, he also insisted that we take a bag of fresh peaches from one of their trees. After a quick stop for groceries, we headed back.
All the way back, I talked about the challenges of our short time away from home and we all marveled at God's hand in providing help with our tent, a free mechanic, and an abundance of wood with a bonus sack of fresh fruit to share with our generous neighbors.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3