In a Sow’s Ear 12-6-10
It’s here once again. Hunting season – the lust to track down the wily wild game animals that lurks in the hearts of men and some women. Its primeval song causes males (and some females) to go off into the wilderness with enough armament to take over a country.
Prior to the season’s opening date, males (and some females) grow itchy, scraggly fur over their faces, claiming the stuff protects them from the cold. Men (and some women) acquire swaggers to their walks. They gather together in clumps in sporting goods stores, local coffee shops, taverns and leaning against the backends of pickups. They talk guns, size of game brought down in previous years. They practice tooting on their mating-call tooters in their vehicles while driving one-handed.
A typical routine in my neighbor, Gladys’, dwelling starts with a hunting party of half a dozen fur-faced hunters including her husband, Grover, sitting around the ranch kitchen table drinking coffee while waiting for daylight. When the first morning rays skim the eastern horizon, all six rise, grunt and shuffle off into the gray dawn. They walk warily, eyes ever alert for a passing mastodon. (Actually, they boarded a crew cab 4-by-4 pickup, loaded with enough gear to last on a three-day hunt in the back country).
Gladys watched till the tail lights of the pickup disappeared, then galloped to the phone. Within the hour, five vehicles pulled into the ranch yard. A hunting widow emerged from each outfit. For the next three days, the Gladys and her hunting-widow friends talked, worked on quilting and craft projects, talked, cooked, ate, talked, read, told jokes, ordered stuff off the Internet, talked and laughed non-stop.
On the third day, the women picked up, cleaned up, and gathered up their stuff and departed. When the mighty hunters reappeared, their facial hair had not only grown longer, the whiskers bore fragments of nature entwined amongst the strands – bits of pine needles, traces of beans and bacon, and a dried substance that may have originated from runny noses.
One bearded man (who claimed to be Gladys’ soul mate) had bagged a moose with antlers too big to go through the door. Gory, grimy, bedraggled, he insisted Gladys take his picture with the critter. The man was about as happy as a man could get and still be earthbound. Gladys, being a savvy wife, listened to the tale of derring do with smiles and pats and “Oh, my, really!”
Finally, hubby Grover inquired, “And what have you been doing while I been gone?”
“Oh, not much,” said Gladys. “A couple of friends stopped by. I worked on a quilt project. Baked some things … you know the usual.” She emitted a forlorn sigh while smiling sweetly.
“Oh, I know, Honey, I know,” said Grover, “I had all the fun while you had to stay home. Well, maybe next year, I’ll take you along.”
“Sure,” said Gladys crossing her fingers behind her back, “that’ll be great.”