The Adventure Continues…
A Magnolia & A Roar
“Your purpose is just like mine. It’s big, and it’s important, and there’s no one else anywhere on the planet who can fulfill it. So quit messing around – and go get’em.” -Chip Gaines
Creating a bucket list is a wonderful tool to utilize as a compass on any adventure. And, I can officially claim that I have checked visiting Magnolia in Waco, Texas off my list. I get the feeling my mother and daughter-in-family were more excited than I was that I was standing in the center Magnolia Market.
The popularity of Jo and Chip Gaines’ Magnolia Market on Bosque Boulevard is phenomenal! The navigation app led me straight to their main gate entrance. My initial view was blocked by a tour bus as an army of shoppers and site-seers offloaded. I questioned my sanity and proceeded to their over-full parking lot. The temptation to go somewhere else festered, but how could I let my mother and daughter-in-family down? They wanted pictures and to experience Magnolia vicariously through me.
I decided to tempt fate. I told Jeremiah and dad, “If I can find a parking space big enough for me to comfortably park the truck, I’ll go in. If not, then I will continue onward to someplace else.” Behold – a parking space along the street five cars away from the corner closest to their entrance. Sweet!
On my way to the entrance I walked past a line of at least thirty (maybe more) people waiting to purchase bakery items at the Silos Baking Co. The closer I got, the more I hoped the line was for the bakery and not Magnolia Market. I rounded the corner and easily slipped through the black metal gate entrance. What a delightful place to be on a Friday morning! First stop – the restroom.
Children and their parents played bean bag toss in the courtyard outlined with food trucks creating a make-shift wall to establish the back corner. People wandered around the garden store and raised garden beds of leafy vegetables and herbs, sat of the steps to the stage and got their pictures taken at the various photo props. I joined the crowd in climbing the steps to explore the Market (retail store).
Although it was somewhat shoulder-to-shoulder, there was a natural flow to the movement within the retail store of house-ware items, decorative elements, books, t-shirts, baseball caps and an array of Magnolia logo items. Everyone was polite and gracious about letting others past effortlessly.
Chip’s book Capital Gaines attracted my attention from its perch on the shelf. I flipped open the book to a random page and knew within half a paragraph I needed to read what this man wrote. I carried it around with me as I browsed. By the way, I read the book in less than three days. Rarely do I read a book cover-to-cover in this fashion. Typically I will read about a quarter into the book before setting it down for an unspecified duration of time. This is a book I recommend for anyone with a desire to become an entrepreneur.
It was good for me to get out of the camper, do a little site-seeing and check a destination location off my bucket list. I need to be doing this more often…especially with how the beginning of my stay at a campground started [details below].
Initially I was not going to share this vulnerable trauma-drama-grieving-momma experience in fear of your response. Earlier today I had a conversation with two beautiful women and one thing we talked about was how we (society) show up on social media. It is natural to paint the picture that our life is wonderful and happy-happy…and hide our shadow side from view. I am taking my own advice and sharing this very emotional and tender experience with you. Please note, I do not make it a practice to say unkind words to myself about Self as shared below.
To set the stage for the experience I am about to share, the next sentence may or may not surprise you. I am stubborn and bull-headed to the point that not much changes my determination. My mother will attest to my unwillingness to budge. It’s a rare occasion that I shift mindset and course of direction. Typically it takes a divine smack upside the head with a metaphoric two by four made of a composite formulated from another point of view that I intentionally/unintentionally neglected to acknowledge. The Divine has a way of reminding me to soften up or making it clear that a belief requires a shift.
Let’s just say Tuesday I learned a hard lesson of when to roar and when to back out gracefully to reevaluate the situation.
The campground road leading to the Visitor Center is narrow; that should have been my first clue.
The woman staff member behind the computer monitor was nice and informed me that they were close to full occupancy for Saturday night, but had a site I could reserve for the desired seven nights. Sliding a map of the campground layout between us, she used a blue highlighter to draw a line from our current location to my campsite. She pointed towards the road, and said, “Pull out of the driveway and go straight, then turn right. It’s at the end. I was thrilled to have an end spot at the end of a culvert. According to the map I would not have a direct sight-line into the neighboring camper windows. Sweet!
I put the truck in drive and pulled forward. The road I rolled onto was narrow and the corner I had to make with my full-sized truck and camper in tow was on the verge of being too tight. The trailer hitch system moaned and made all sorts of unpleasant sounds as I turned the corner as wide as possible without hitting the trees or boulders lining the road.
At this point I am somewhat committed and already sensing this was a mistake. The site I have secured is straight ahead and the culvert indicated on the map is non-existent. Oh crap.
I evaluated the situation, readjusted my grip on the steering wheel, and claimed, “I got this. I can do this.” I pulled into the downward inclined site on the left of the truck with the trailer lined up as best as I could get it with another site to the right side of the truck. I will spare you the cursing and play-by-play of the back and forth to maneuver the truck and camper between two sites that were deep enough for the object I was attempting to pack into it.
I cranked the wheel hard this way. I cranked the wheel hard the other way. [SQUEAL!!!] Wedged between the sign post of campsite twelve and the trees lining number thirteen’s, I put the truck in park and climbed out to find red fluid showering down from the front of my engine.
Red fluid is not a good sign. It’s a lubricant. Transmission fluid is red and so is power steering fluid. I snapped a picture for my mechanic friend and added the words “What did I blow? How bad did I screw up the truck?” into the text. My attempted request for help failed due to the lack of cell service. When I grasped the wheel to help hoist myself up into the truck, it let out a nasty squeal and knew exactly what I blew. Now I was faced with the task of unwedging the camper and parking it without power assist.
Fueled with more determination, I eventually got the camper parked into the appropriate space while leaving a trail of fluid as evidence to my struggle. I unhooked the camper and walked to the Visitor’s Center to ask if/where they had any cell service at their location and if they knew the name of a shop to fix my engine. Without showing a hint of concern or compassion, she stated her answers to my questions. No AT&T service, however Verizon works. No mechanic in town, but there is a Ford dealership in the next town about fifteen miles away.
The fiery storming in my mind berated the confidence I had gained over the past month. I limped the truck three miles into town to purchase power steering fluid and make a phone call to my family and inform them of my situation. When I finally spoke to my mechanic friend, he diagnose my problem from a distance.
I was irate in my own stupidity. I know better! What was I thinking? Oh… I am woman; hear me roar? Idiot…
Fast forwarding past the sleepless night filled with relentless sobbing, I called the service center at Gloff Ford. The service manager told me to bring the truck in that morning and they’d look at it. They ended up needing to order a part and kept the truck overnight. In addition, he provided me a car to drive back and forth to the campground.
It wasn’t until I spoke with my mother while I was parked in the grocery store parking lot three miles from the campground that I (we) uncovered the why to the over-emotional reaction. Normally I would have swore, fixed the issue and moved on. Not this time. The emotions were overwhelming, and I was deep in trauma-drama-grieving-momma sob-fest that all I could do was ride out the tidal wave of tears.
Jeremiah, my mechanic, is not here to fix my truck. I can longer get him on the other end of the phone to diagnose and remote fix my issue. He can’t offering any solutions or even offer to do a road trip to bail his mother out of a jam. Nope. That damn child of mine is not around to lend a hand. I NEED my son. Damn it!
As I’ve written a time or two, I seem to peal back a different layer of my healing at each campground. That was, by far, the hardest places for me to reside for a week.
Along the way…
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