A Very Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Marlene – one of the nicest Walmart employees!

Hello and welcome to the blog.  Happy Thanksgiving!  It’s a little late in the evening but at least the “food coma” is over now.  It’s been a terrific holiday.

Anamosa Mayor Dale, wife Sharon (top left) and her sister Garnet.

I hope everyone has had a grateful heart and plenty of good friends and family to share the joy with this Thanksgiving season.  It’s my favorite holiday, hands-down.  Why?  Because we reflect on the wonderful blessings in this country, eat, spend time with loved ones, eat, and right now the trout fishing is good… There is little to get in the way of thinking about what’s really important… not all the presents and knick-knacks and materialism that will dominate the rest of the holiday season… and we just got over [most of] the political commercials…

Sweet Pea

I spent the afternoon with Mayor (and Sheriff’s Deputy) Dale, his wife and kids, grandkids, etc.  It was a fun time with warm people and terrific food.  I also made a good friend, a dog named Sweet Pea.  Sweet Pea’s  human care taker is out of state and Sweet Pea seemed very sad.  I spent much time with her, rubbing her ears, back, and massaging her hips.  We really hit it off!

Enough good food to cause a coma

The food was amazing.  The turkey was fantastically moist and tender.  Dale’s dressing was the “wet” kind was lots of butter and broth.  I almost had tears because it tasted so much like Grandma’s.  We also had a corn casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad… and more… and more.. and seconds.  They also sent me home with two plastic containers with more food for the camping trip coming up very soon.  I joked that I’d taken enough insulin to stop an El Niño [weather] event.  All the while Sweat Pea got a lot of handouts.

Sweet Pea between Dale and myself… She loved the turkey and King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls… and banana bread… and pieces of cheese.

Just like New Year’s Resolutions, it’s nice to take some time and think of all the good things that have happened.  We still have our freedom.  The economy is roaring along in many sectors.  (Iowa now has the lowest unemployment rate in the 48 contiguous states, surpassed by only the island of Hawaii).  At home the freezer is stuffed full of food.  Clothing is plentiful, the home base is warm and the sleeping bag is even warmer.  I’ve had every weekend off for 3 months and there has been a lot of time to spend with friends.  Sis has been a huge blessing with help and advice as the new job has developed… and not enough can be said about the career change.

Currently in Linn County looking east in Jones County on a chilly fall day.

The cash register lines at Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving evening. It was a madhouse!

When I started the new job and work camping, my funds were depleted…  There was little to eat in the freezer and what there was came from the river, the food pantry or was discarded at work.  My clothing was old and tattered.  The utility bills were delinquent and on the verge of being turned off.  There was no rainy day fund – not even enough to get by from week to week… and the depression and anxiety were overwhelming.  Welcome to the reality of the working poor.  It’s tougher than tough in the food and retail industries.

But the one thing that didn’t waver is that I believed then and now that God will supply our needs if we ask him.. and often we receive abundantly.  I never felt alone (well, almost when the van was laid up in the middle of last winter).  There is a lot of opportunity in this land and if we’re willing to work hard, it is still possible to get ahead.  These days it has been a lot easier to sleep without worry… and a heck of a lot easier to be thankful for all of the blessings.

Take care and thanks a bunch for following the blog and our adventures.  Happy Thanksgiving and thank the Good Lord above for His Love and blessings on our country and people.

Brad, Jenny, and DJ (Duke Jasper)
Jones County, Iowa

P.S.  The madhouse at Walmart yielded some good finds.  I picked up three decent quality USB charging cords for the cell phone for a buck apiece.  Also, for just $6 they had a 32 gig memory card that will fit into my cell phone.  It will hold a LOT of TV shows for camping.


About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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8 Responses to A Very Happy Thanksgiving to All!

  1. Shadowmoss says:

    I am glad you had a great Thanksgiving. Your upbeat outlook on like is always inspiring to read

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Shadowmoss! Thanks for the kind words. It seems like life was not meant to be easy but it’s easier dealing with it head-on. It’s less stressful that way! Being thankful every day helps ever so much as well… and smiling a lot, too! Take care! VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Love your new friend Sweet Pea. I’ll bet the kitties gave you a sniff and “where you been! ?” look when you got home! “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and his mercy endures forever” Psalm 107:1. I love reading about the good things happening in your life and your faith in God to provide. I share that same faith!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi and thanks for the note! It is important to give thanks. This morning I had a stringer malfunction and lost my fish. I gave thanks for the fish and asked for some more. After relocating to a new park I got my limit to take home… 4 nice ones and a smaller one for DJ to try. Watch out for more weather coming that way!

  3. Jo Harmon says:

    Such a wonderful post. I’m so happy life has turned around for you and that you had such a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends. You certainly had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. You surely were looked out for by the Lord this year.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I hope you had a great holiday. Things have really turned around this year and there is much to be thankful for… except for the impending winter storm that is bearing down on Jones County right now… I had to cut the camping trip short but had some fun at least… working on that post right now. Take care!

  4. Kathy says:

    I haven’t had internet lately so this is my first chance to check in. Glad to see you had a great Thanksgiving & friends to share it with. Now I’ll do a little catch up reading to see what you’ve been up to.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Kathy! Thanks for the note! Things are going good these days… There is a new furbuddy sleeping alongside my thigh. He just ate some more catfish. Jenny is doing well. I’m working full time and camping a day or two per week in the van to reduce commuting. Life has been terrific overall… this summer was rough but who is looking back? I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving! — VT, Jenny, and Duke Jasper (DJ)