Skip to content
September 28, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Pack n’ play

Big yellow Vintage ice cooler. (© image. Copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Big yellow. Chillin’ in storage. Still able to brighten the day royally. (© image.)

For ghosts, call Ghost Busters. But for boxing, call me.

Expertise the result of natural Spatial Intelligence, genetics, or just from of lots and lots of practice stacking and packing, I’m the one.

Some people bought cars for classy looks, Dad bought for how much space in the trunk and between the front and back seats.

Each summer we’d lock up the house and pack everything needed for a 4-6 week camping trip around the national parks.

Canvas tent, camp stove, Amy surplus folding canvas cots, sleeping bags, cooking utensils, and groceries take up a lot of room. Oh, yeah, we had clothes and two pairs of shoes each, too.

One summer we had one of those rectangular car top carriers, but no matter how tightly the canvas cover was strapped and tied, it flapped. My dad did not like flapping. Multiple stops to re-tie. Killed the mileage to be covered before dark.

Every nook and cranny of the car was utilized. It was simply a matter of seeing all items as puzzle pieces that, if fitted correctly, would all go in neatly – and sit quietly. No rattling was permitted. Dad was known to stop and reconfigure until all rattling ceased.

1966 Ford Fairlane 500 Stationwagon parked on side of road (Davelimmer/

We begged for a roomy station wagon, but no. (Davelimmer/

Being the shortest in the backseat, the Big Yellow cooler was snugged on the floorboard in front of me.

I didn’t mind because you could put a towel or something over it to make a platform. The backseat became a peninsula rather than an island  – more seatscape to control. You could stretch out legs, curl up over it, or use it like a table.

Big Brother slyly always tried to convince me I got the better end of the deal…and he thought I bought that story.

I didn’t mind. Smiled to myself. When it got hot – and it always got hot in cars in the summer back then – I could drape bare legs on either side of the Big Yellow Box or hug it with bare feet and enjoy the cool-ish sweat running down the sides.

Brother did sometimes snark I was melting the ice inside faster, to which mom usually said he could have it on his side if he thought it would be better.

No sale.

Vintage car in desert. Actually vehicle with mannequin in. Nevada nucelar testing site. (USPD. by Nat.Nuclear Security Adm./Pub. date,/

“Let me look at that map. I think we should have turned right instead of left back there.”(USPD/

Dad gifted Big Yellow to me when we bought our first house.

It comes out for patio parties sometimes, but is protected in storage most of the time.

 I smiled at it Friday when gathering up some packing materials and sturdy boxes that were needed – not for me, but for rescuing history before a relative’s home is left for the last time.

I’ve been wrapping and packing some china and fragile items that are about the same age is the Republic of Texas. These I will pack to try and make sure they arrive safely to their next guardian. (Fingers crossed for the marble top of the antique console table)

I volunteered to do that. But that’s all. Already sorted, screened, and supervised what immediately went out in the first load.

Others can pack what little remains in that house for the final moving van before the new owner shows up. And they can deal in person with the antics of She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named who is bound to show up. (Who in their right mind hammer texts people starting at 4:30 am? Block. Block. Block.)

Yep. I think this calls for a Big Yellow Box patio appearance. 

Cerveza para todos!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s an out of the box story about a road trip that possibly included beer, selfies, and not exactly the viral fame they were looking for:

“The infamous Jeep Wrangler Stuck on the Dangerous California Razor’s Ridge Bike Trail Has Been Saved” (The Drive). “…Both of the rig’s passenger-side tires were off the narrow trail with the steering wheel cranked left, and that’s where it sat for at least 36 hours…”. I agree the bravest of the SoCal Jeep club rescuers was the talented guy who volunteered to get into the drivers seat. Talk about one who is gifted!

Jeep periously balanced on rocky ridge (Image: The Drive)

One summer I was sure our loaded car was going to end up exactly like this while driving the dirt road up Pikes Peak. (Infamous Jeep perilously balanced on rocky ridge. Image: The Drive)


Leave a Comment
  1. easyweimaraner / Sep 28 2020 6:54 am

    our big yellow was blue and it was in front of my legs… and I remember the time in a mini car with camping equipment and without AC on faux leather seats…. oy vey….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2020 11:21 am

      Nothing like a giant cooler. Parents should be sent home when any kid is born – just to make sure that experience isn’t missed.
      (Faux leather! Hot, hot, hot! Worse was the clear plastic seat covers…a friend’s family had those…we hated it when they car pooled pick up at the pool in the summer) Thanks for digging up that memory


  2. Kate Crimmins / Sep 28 2020 7:50 am

    Cervezas? There are cervezas? I’m in! We never camped and our road trips were usually one day field trips so I missed this whole adventure. However, I did the Pike’s Peak road as an adult. Never again.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2020 11:11 am

      It’s Hispanic appreciation month so of course cervezas and margaritas….oh, heck for just any month HAHA
      Pike’s Peek – shiver.
      Thanks for stepping up to the comment bar

      Liked by 1 person

  3. D. Wallace Peach / Sep 28 2020 9:40 am

    I remember trips like that – packing into the Rambler. My dad would put a canoe on the top and fill that too. This post brought back great memories. We still use the “platform” style of packing to make the back seat more comfortable for the dogs. 😀


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2020 11:17 am

      There. We should have had a canoe…(then once arrived at destination mom could have shoved up off the bank and had a moment of peace and quiet to herself).
      Despite the conclusion that this virus is here forever, we discuss car accommodations for Molly Malamute for trips. We used to fold seats down for a platform, but the last time we found she’s older and not jumping as quickly, so we had one side/rear seat bottom that we could flip vertical backwards which gave her a lower entry point. Then we’d have to convince her to huddle on the far side while we repacked and leveled it out for her. I’m not sure she’d trust a ramp and is a big large to be picked up…maybe a dog lifting car crane accessory to be invented? HAHA.
      Car trips teach a great deal HAHA
      Thanks for boxing up a comment to leave.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach / Sep 28 2020 12:11 pm

        Our dog is too old and creaky now too. We tried a ramp and it was too scary. No more car rides. Just sitting in the shade on the deck and watching the squirrels. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. sustainabilitea / Sep 28 2020 4:14 pm

    I’m an packer extraordinaire myself, perhaps genetically from my mom. I can also estimate almost exactly which container to best use for leftovers, something my husband can’t understand. When we traveled, we had a station wagon but I don’t remember a cooler. My husband brought a large, red Coleman cooler, already used, to our marriage and 36 years later, it’s still going strong. It’s also great for attracting hummingbirds when sitting on the cabin porch in Wyoming. 🙂


    BTW, I can barely look at that last shot of the Jeep. A nightmare of mine.


  5. Anne Mehrling / Sep 28 2020 9:17 pm

    Wow! You have lots of camping memories! Yours make me glad we hardly ever left home.


  6. Ally Bean / Sep 29 2020 6:59 am

    Amy surplus folding canvas cots. Now there’s a flashback for me. At one point I slept on one that was set up in a bedroom until we got a real bed for me. I kind of liked the thing, feeling like it was more hammock than bed. The photo of the Jeep is horrifying, but glad all is well now.


  7. shoreacres / Sep 29 2020 7:58 pm

    I remember those Colorado roads. It was the 1950s, and some of them weren’t paved. And I remember logging trucks. I think I’m going to go lie down now, and see if I can get my heart rate slowed.

    By the by — did an out of control herbicide dispenser take out the palm trees at your corner? It’s so odd that they’re only dying on one side of the road. In better news, the pumpkins and such are back at the house down the road. Every tree and bush is hung with Jack-o-Lanterns and ghosties — and not a single one is wearing a mask — thank goodness!


  8. Littlesundog / Oct 1 2020 4:45 am

    Ah, memories of early 20’s when my first husband and I were poor and camping out west (west of Nebraska – Colorado, Wyoming, Montana…) was the only option for vacation because it was cheap! We couldn’t afford the camping fees a lot of the time, so we ended up on logging roads and out of the way spots to set up camp. Only once did we get the boot from a game warden, but he was nice about it. I’m sure a person couldn’t get by with that today.

    I bet you were referring to that one-way, treacherous road to the top of Pike’s Peak and not the highway that was later built? I was so stressed when we took that drive and was thankful to get to the top, only to be greeted by an early snowstorm and got stranded at the top for a couple of hours in our shorts and no jackets.


  9. disperser / Oct 3 2020 11:44 am

    Pikes Peak’s wonderful road has been ruined as they started paving it before I left (it may already be all paved . . . and they added railings in places! . . . the fiends).

    I have great memories of driving my Suburban up to the top at about twice the posted limit (sliding around a curve without a railing is something my passengers did not much enjoy . . . they also objected to me hugging the outside edge of the road).

    A friend who was visiting, and whom I took up to the top, a few weeks later confided in me that was the most scared he’d been in a long time.

    Pikes Peak was always a fun drive . . . but for sheer stress . . .


    • disperser / Oct 3 2020 11:45 am

      Wait, there’s also Gold Camp Road . . . ah, the memories of thrilling and dangerous driving.


      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 5 2020 7:56 am

        Life was much more fun with dirt and when people didn’t expect the entire world to be perky, risk managed Disneyland. A fan of the road lesss traveledDad never met a dirt road he wasn’t intrigued by. Can’t tell you how many times Mom and to take the wheel while we all got out and pushed out of a mud hole. “Adventure” actually meant the actual definition for us. HAHA
        Thanks for choosing this fork in the road

        Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 5 2020 8:00 am

      The whole concept of “challenge” seems to have been lost…along with what was gained with those experiences. Probably explains so much of the “what is wrong with people!”…like deficiencies of vitamin SD with overkill with sun block (“Save the children!”)
      Appreciate you wandering into this comment parking lot
      (Thanks for the link – will travel over your way.)

      Liked by 1 person

Always glad to hear from readers.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: