My son loves this time of year – bow season opened this morning and after swearing me to secrecy about his hunting spot, he finally told me where he’d be. It’s this way every year – in the south, it’s almost a rite of passage for boys and even some girls (my niece has mastered shooting) that they learn all about gun safety and bows and arrows. Girls grow up and odds are, they marry a hunter. They grow accustomed to planning Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners around their husbands’, brothers’ and fathers’ hunting schedules. The truth is, many of us hope they don’t come dragging a deer or hog home as everyone’s waiting around the dining room table for them. Plus, it always means a mess and then we have to cook it. Not a pleasant thing at all.
In 1998, when I remarried, it was to someone I’d gone to high school with. We didn’t go out long at all before we got married. After all, we grew up together. A few weeks after we married, and on a Monday night, I decided I needed ice cream if I was going to suffer through Monday Night Wrestling (don’t judge me…we all have our crosses to bear and with him, it was wrestling that I had to “oooh” and “aaahhh” over because that’s just what we women do). When I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, I reached down to get my wallet out of my purse. I realized I didn’t have much cash on me. I always kept ten, fifteen, maybe twenty dollars in the console. So when I opened that center console, instead of finding cash, I find a needle and a small vial of something that was liquid. I can tell you my heart sank and then began racing as the fear the set in. I know I must have stared at that needle for two minutes, not sure what to do. It was one of those moments where you just freeze and time stands still.
It then occurred to me that I was driving around with illegal drugs, even though I had no idea what it was. Finally, after about an hour, I called my new husband. I really thought I had calmed down enough to talk reasonably, but when he answered, the first thing he wanted to know was if I was OK. After all, my ten minute run to the grocery store has now stretched into an hour or longer. I burst into tears and the only thing I remember saying was that I wasn’t coming home and “Oh my God…I married a drug addict!”. All I could think about was my son, who was nine at the time. I just kept saying to him that I couldn’t believe I married him – an addict – and asking what I was going to do now. Finally, and I’m not really sure how, but I stopped rambling and then I heard him laugh.
“Wait…you’re talking about a needle in your car? In your console? The one with the bottle of liquid?”
“Yes, Kevin…you know damn good and well what I’m talking about!”
“Donna, don’t open that bottle. Please. Just don’t open the bottle. Get in your car and come home and I will explain everything. You couldn’t be more wrong.”
“You’re crazy as hell if you think I’m coming back there. I know your secret – you’ll kill me to protect it!”
By then, he’s really laughing at me.
“What the hell are you laughing at? I’ve been married less than a month and I find out you’re an addict! How did I miss those signs? What is wrong with me?! No..wait…what IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”
“OK…calm down. Look, that’s not what you think it is. Remember when we were in Laurel this weekend and we stopped by Joe’s?”
“Remember he was telling me about the doe he killed that morning?”
“That’s doe urine we extracted from the bladder.”
“WHAT? OH MY GOD….YOU ARE INSANE!” (I’m sure I’m yelling by then and people are beginning to stare at the crazy woman yelling and crying into the pay phone (it was before cells)
“Calm down. I’ve never done drugs – you should be happy about that.”
“So you’re not an addict, but you’re crazy enough to save the urine from a deer so that you can use it as some kind of scent you wear to lure a male deer? I’m SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT?!? YOU’RE INSANE AND I’M NOT COMING HOME”
At this point, I’m beginning to sound a little ridiculous even to myself. It all begins to make sense, well, as much as marrying a man who’s so into hunting that he and his cronies go to those lengths during hunting season can make sense. The marriage didn’t last long, but looking back, that really was one of the funnier times.
When I was plundering through Facebook this morning, I can’t tell you how many declarations of these crazy ass men who proudly announced they were “quietly moving in the woods with red fox urine on my boots” or “Just missed an awesome shot reaching for the scent to spray on me” I wonder if the deer can’t hear them texting into their Blackberries?
All I could think about was that night all those years ago when I didn’t get my ice cream, though I did get out of having to watch wrestling.