As the story continues, I found the owner of the orphaned trailer. She was the sweetest lady, very kind and understanding. But she was out of town for several weeks and wasn’t exactly sure of the existence of said trailer. I assured her it truly did exist, and sent her several photos as proof. I figured her memory failure was simply because the forest had consumed the poor trailer and the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” was at play. She examined the pictures and after a few days of searching the caverns of her mind, she not only remembered the trailer, but also told me where, when and why she had acquired it seven years ago. The bottom line was she no longer needed it and agreed to sell it to me.
Later that week I used my air compressor to fill the tires, hoping they wouldn’t crumble into rubber dust or explode. I got lucky and all went well. I then oiled the yoke and wrestled it onto the hitch on the back of my Explorer. It was no easy task. Not only did the trailer refuse to roll, but to secure the yoke I was forced to jump up and down on it till it locked into place.
I pulled away with this thing behind my car that looked like a portable dump. Half the floor boards were missing allowing sticks and leaves to drop to the ground, leaving a trail of debris much like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs. Vines had woven their way throughout the frame and gate, making it look as if I were hauling a large and ugly shrub with wheels. And speaking of wheels—this is where Thumper got her name—each tire had an almost indiscernible flat spot from sitting in the same position for so many years. With each revolution of the tires, a bothersome “thump” could not only be heard as I drove, but felt as well. As I increased my speed, the frequency of thumps multiplied until soon all I could hear was a rapid base-drum-thump, over and over and over. Thumper had arrived!
I worked on Thumper over the next couple of weeks, scraping away rust, replacing the deck, oiling and greasing anything that moved and repairing wiring and lights. When she was finally ready for a new coat of paint, I chose gloss coral, also known as pink. It was the only feminine touch I could think of to add to this manly metal monster! (I also figured it would be a great theft deterrent).
Over time Thumper’s flat spots mellowed out a bit. She still thumps as she rolls, but instead of causing me to clench my teeth, I now smile…. for a little bit. Then I start clenching my teeth again. But in spite of her defects, she’s a good little trailer that allows me to load up my gear and drive off into the sunrise on my never-ending quest to beautify Brevard, yard by yard!