Aug 262010

The folks from Grand Rental Station were supposed to be at Elkhart Campground about 10 a.m. yesterday morning to set up the tent we rented for our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally. But at a little before 10, I looked across the campground and realized that there was a big tent where there hadn’t been one the night before!

I was disappointed, because I wanted to get some pictures of the process, but not to worry, my buddy Dennis Hill from the RV Driving School was there with his camera, and recorded the event for posterity.

The first step was to lay out the 50×70 foot tent. It covers the campground’s whole basketball court!

Tent laid out flat

Then they set up the side posts and staked them down. The stakes go 42 inches into the ground, because if a strong wind were to come along, they don’t want the tent flying away to Toledo.

Tent side poles up

They used this nifty machine to raise the two tall center poles.

Raising tent inside best

Dennis said the crew obviously had a lot of experience, because everybody knew what to do and when, and the tent went up like clockwork.

And here is the tent, all set up and ready for our rally to begin. We really appreciate the great service from Nate and the rest of the crew at  Grand Rental Station. They are real professionals.

Tent set up

Of course, no job like this can take place without a lot of sideline quarterbacks making sure every detail is handled just right. Fortunately, we have a lot of guys here who were willing to volunteer for that duty.


The ladies, on the other hand, preferred to spend their time line dancing. I’m not sure which group had more fun.

Line dancers

Speaking of having fun, the people who are already here at the campground waiting for the rally to start have been practicing hard, and they seem to have that down to a science.

Party crowd

Here’s my pal Frank Hinman, cooking burgers to feed the hungry masses. Frank never offered me a burger. I think either he or Dennis Hill ate mine for me because I was busy. Thanks for the help, guys.

Frank Hinman cooking

Not everybody is a party animal. My dear friend Nancy Hazelton makes adaptive clothing for wounded service members, as part of a non-profit program called Sew Much Comfort.

With approximately 40 wounded servicemen and women returning to the United States each week, there is a real need for clothing that will accommodate patients’ medical devices, such as prosthetics, braces and casts, or for those suffering burns and nerve damage. A lot of the clothing has Velcro seams to make it easier for these brave men and women to dress, or to allow room for their special needs.

Nancy 2

Each month, Sew Much Comfort distributes over 1,200 clothing items and comfort accessories to combat medical units, hospital wards, VA clinics, wounded warrior barracks, and military medical facilities in the United States and abroad. Without the special clothing that people like Nancy create, many of our wounded troops would have only standard hospital gowns as their only clothing.

Nancy knows all about the needs of our country’s active duty military personnel and veterans.  Before she retired and ran away to became an RV gypsy, Nancy was my Primary Care Provider at the Veterans Administration hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. She is married to a Vietnam veteran, and her two sons, David and Daniel, are both officers in the United States Army. Nancy may be retired, but she continues to serve our nation’s war veterans. Those are just some of the reasons I love and respect this special lady so much.

If you want to help with this wonderful program, either through a donation, or by helping to sew clothing for our vets, log onto the Sew Much Comfort website to learn more.

Thought For The Day – Remember the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for your actions.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Under The Big Top”

  1. Rats! Now, where are we going to play basketball?

  2. When we looked at the picture of the sidewalk supervisors, I said “We know that guy — that’s Frank Hinman!” (Recognized his clothing!) Sure enough, there he was later, cooking hamburgers. And we’d had only met him once. Maybe he doesn’t have any other clothes!

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