Update on Vintage Camper

We are in a bit of a holding pattern for our camper. Over the last couple of weeks, my friend Sam and I made some decisions about the serving window dimensions. We decided to make the serving window open and large. The dimensions will be 80 inches wide and 40 inches high. That helps us get rid of the three awkwardly situated windows on the left side of the camper and creates a spirit of openness, which is what the church should be about. We had to custom order the window because of the size. It’s an 18 day turnaround from a store in Indiana. The back log is due to the high demand of these sorts of windows for these sorts of projects. Apparently, we were not the only ones with a little time on their hands for a DIY project during a pandemic. But it’s ordered and should arrive within the next week or so.

Sam and I also waffled back and forth on the serving bar. In addition to the window, we wanted a wooden serving bar that would give the camper a little pizazz. Maybe we went a little overboard, but we hopped on Facebook marketplace and researched places that sold slabs of wood. We found the perfect piece of old growth heart pine at a saw mill in Alto, Georgia. My only connection to Alto is that my father was a prison warden and there is a state prison in Alto. When I was a kid, the warden of that prison invited us up to fish some of the local ponds. We pulled in some big bass one morning. I can remember vividly fishing in a john boat early in the morning as the sun was breaking to light up the still water with the fog rising along the red clay banks. It was quite a day with my brothers and father.

Sam and I took a Friday road trip in his truck to pick up our new treasure. For this knotless, 2 inch thick and 10 foot long piece, we paid $150 which seemed pretty cheap for such a fine piece of wood. As we pulled into the mill, I suddenly realized I was a wearing a nice polo which didn’t exactly scream saw mill. Sam took notice and we both decided we might get a better deal if I was in my white t-shirt so I quickly changed. The owner was friendly man, with a lip full of dip. He ran the saw mill with a small team and purchases were by appointment only. He was an honest man that trusted a personal check. The mill itself looked a like graveyard for trees until you got close to some of them. In fact, I asked why some of them looked so grey. He brought out a planer and planed one of the slabs. You could see the rich color once you sanded the dull weathered surface. “Any tree is going to turn grey if you leave it out in the sun all day, but it’s good inside.” I’m sure there’s a metaphor for people in there too.

We loaded it up and made our way back to the church and dropped it off in the garage. We have some measuring, cutting and sanding still to do, but we’re getting there.

Here’s the old heart pine when it was first cut.
Here we are at the saw mill.

Here are a couple of other small updates. We have an older camper that’s been part of the tree lot for years at the church. It’s a Scottie camper from the 1960’s. While we’re waiting for our parts for the new camper, we’re gutting the old one and using it for tool storage. We’re giving it a new floor with LVT (luxury vinyl tile, sounds sophisticated, right?) and we’re going to paint the outside because it’s got that vintage, fun look about it that people travel miles for their Christmas picture. Our “Scottie” is in pretty rough shape. We’re going to give it a paint job and dress it up with some lights and wreathes. It will make the perfect backdrop for family pictures this Christmas season.

We have a little committee at Haygood that has started dreaming about how to use our campers for the tree tot. They came up with the theme, “Christmas Campfire”. We’re going to bring out the hay bales, three fire pits and s’more packets. We’ll be ready to serve hot chocolate and have campfire stories at night of “The Grinch,” and “The Polar Express” and of course the greatest story ever told about our savior Jesus.

We believe this new venture will help our community warm up and come together safely during this awful pandemic. That’s it for now.

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