Our arrival in Matagorda, Texas was unceremonious as we registered our trailer, backed into our spot, and began setting up for the night. As I was sliding the wheel chocks into place and securing the rear stabilizing jacks on the Shasta, I noticed a tidy houseplant in a square pot on the ground, seeming discarded and disregarded.
I picked up the waxy plant, looked it over, and placed it down on our site’s wooden picnic table. This non-event departed my mind as I busied myself with the other tasks of setting up camp. The night came and went uneventfully, and I dove into my work as soon as the breakfast dishes were in the drying rack the next morning.
Around 11:00 am, I heard heavy footsteps on the gravel outside of the trailer, followed by a proclamation. “You gotta be f—ing kidding me,” thundered the scratchy bass voice. Three seconds passed. Then came four loud, angry raps at the trailer door.
I thought about ignoring the knocks. But the windows were open to let the fresh air in, and Spotify was playing tunes loud enough to ensure that whomever was at the door knew that someone — a suddenly unbelievably nervous me — was inside.
I pulled the lever and pushed the metal door outward. There stood before me a goliath of a man, with coarse, leathery skin, the shoulders of an ox, a thick rounded belly, and a head of long, white, frayed hair.
He narrowed his eyes. “You take my plant?”
“Um, no, no sir… I… I mean, I just, um, we came and it was here. Yeah. On the ground. And, um, I didn’t want it to get run over, so I just put it on the picnic table. I just wanted it to be safe.” Verbatim.
“Well, it’s mine,” he snapped. His eyes opened a little and his head cocked backward a tad as he looked me up and down.
“The name’s Raptor,” he said as he reached out his meaty paw to shake mine. Not knowing what to do next, I gingerly moved my hand in his direction. His meat cleaver completely enveloped my hand, and he squeezed the filth out of it as if to say, “Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with Texas. And DON’T MESS WITH MY PLANT.”
He coddled his reclaimed belonging as if nursing it back to health as he huffed back to his trailer. Boneheaded it may have been, but I knew I needed a photo of the plant to pass along to you, dear reader. So I snuck onto his property and managed to get the shot above moments before departing the campground for Corpus Christi (risking life and limb to bring you the very best in photojournalism, I might add).
We came out here for the experiences and the memories. One week in, and we already have an abundance of both.
My family is currently traveling around the USA in a 10 foot Shasta Compact travel trailer from 1969. We are currently camped in San Antonio, TX and headed toward Austin. Keep it right here for tales from the journey, and please also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Nothing keeps us motivated more than the encouragement of hearing from our readers, so please keep in touch by commenting below. Thanks!