Monday, December 23, 2013

Life near the bone (with a van called Vader)


            The longest night of the year was also the iciest this December. Taylor and Joe arrived as sleet fell on their big black vehicle. I’d call it a van, but Joe had the body fitted onto a heavy duty 4WD chassis. It’s a monster truck he calls “Vader,” and it’s a good thing he had it on Saturday night.
            Joe is a burly guy who generates excitement by thinking outside the box. He’s frugal as well as resourceful and tells us that during college he saved money by sleeping in his car—a sedan—reclining the driver’s seat for comfort. After college he dodged paying rent by buying the van and tricking it out with a double bed, counter and storage space.
            Then he met Taylor.
            She was paying outrageous rent for an apartment in Burlington, and Joe invited her to give up her conventional accommo and move into Vader with him.
            She thought he was nuts, but she couldn’t resist his handsome quirkiness. She can be frugal, too, and took him up on his offer. Besides, her job at Burton Boards takes her on trips around the world, and the trips come with a real bed and hot running water.
When Joe asked Taylor to marry him, she agreed on the condition that he provide a more commodious home for her.
            So he bought an RV.
            He also bought 22 acres of land in Brookfield, Vermont, home of the floating bridge and the annual ice harvest on Sunset Lake. Joe is a man with big ideas, and Taylor is along for the ride.
            The plan is to live in the 200SF RV, which is parked in a campground for the winter, and in the spring pull the RV onto the Brookfield property. Joe will build an addition on the front and put in a wood stove, which should serve them comfortably until he gets a cozy cabin underway.
            Taylor booked the Treehouse as a gift for Joe’s birthday. They’re used to small spaces but one without wheels must have seemed like a treat. After dinner they soaked in the hot tub and the next morning they hung out with us by the wood stove. Then Joe went out, started up Vader, and tacked the inch of ice encasing the behemoth.
            After we waved them goodbye (the icy driveway was no problem for Vader), I looked around our house on a hill and felt a little envious of this young couple with big dreams and no strings. Thoreau said, “It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest,” and I have no doubt that Joe and Taylor have sunk their teeth deeply into life’s sweetness.



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