While most people settled down on Christmas eve with bellies full of dinner after a tiring day of unwrapping presents and spending time with family, my family curled up in the back of a 2000 Ford Explorer thankful for the mild night during winter. After having to leave the house we were staying in and moving into a hotel room, once again we found ourselves having to move, but this time without a place to go.
After spending a couple of days sandwiched into ‘Bessie’ we found a campsite that doesn’t cost anything, it’s just at the top of a mountain in the Ozark mountain range in Arkansas. It’s in the middle of nowhere and we have zero cellular service. We are miles from the closest town down a steep and winding road filled with rocks the size of chickens and drops offs that will make your heart skip a beat.
To say that we weren’t prepared for this feat would be a vast understatement. For the four of us we have one sleeping bag, one twin size comforter, a small throw, some fleece that I was going to make a cloak from, and finally a soft oversized queen blanket. We do have a small Mr. Heater Portable Buddy that keeps enough of a chill out of our tent to make the cold manageable. We do have food and water, and if it comes down to it, I do have my bow and a hunting license.
When we first lost our hotel room my wife set up an emergency GoFundMe account asking for just enough money to get a hotel room until Friday. When I told people what was happening, I got the standard “I’ll pray for you,” bullshit response that people give when they want to feel good about themselves for saying something nice to someone that is going through hell. Since Christmas, I realized just how few friends I have, and our emergency fund still sits at zero.
I’ve had to set back my TESOL classes because we don’t have internet in the middle of nowhere, and I’m having to put off my other classes as well because our predicament. It’s difficult to worry about business management when you must make sure you have enough firewood for your outside fire to keep everyone warm until everyone retires to the tent for the evening to huddle together for warmth.
As if things weren’t difficult enough, we make it back up the mountain this morning after scraping together all our loose change for propane tanks for the heater to find out the front driver’s side tire on the truck has completely blown out. We do have a spare, but it’s in very bad shape and isn’t trustworthy to drive on for any long distances.
Now instead of being able to travel back to where our animals are to feed them and then come back to the campsite, we must completely pack up tomorrow (Thursday) morning and spend the day and night in the truck once again. I feel like 2016 just had to stick it to my family one more time before 2017.
Come Friday, we’re packing everything else that we have into storage and leaving NW Arkansas for good. The only time we’ll come back here is to get our stuff but that’s it. I was stupid to think that coming back would be any different than the first time my family lived here. Nothing has changed, and nothing will.
For anyone interested in sharing or giving us a hand our emergency GoFundMe can be found here:
Anyone that donates (and sends me a message with their address) I shall write them a lovely poem by hand (yes, it’s legible) and mail it to them. My writing is really all I have right now, and it’s all I have to offer other than my undying gratitude and tears.