Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sometimes A Husband Doesn't Know Jack

First published in The Oxford Journal on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Sara Mattinson.

Our home is decorated with watercolour paintings and a couple of oil lamps, several shelves of books and the carvings my sister brought back from Ethiopia. I chose the paint for the walls and the furniture in the living room. My husband has never complained about my knick-knacks, never balked at a colour, never vetoed an idea. Perhaps there’s bit too much clutter but as long as you stay out of the guest room, we don’t look like hoarders. 
So why did my husband suddenly decide he needed to contribute to this well-oiled decorating machine? 
Dwayne went to Dartmouth a few weeks ago for a surgery follow-up with his surgeon. That evening, he said, “By the way, I picked us up a new pet today.”
“Okay,” I said, not really sure why  he was grinning like that but I figured the pet was going to be a giant concrete rooster or some other item he shouldn’t be lifting.
“It’s out in the truck,” he said.
I was sitting at the dining room table checking email on the laptop when he returned. When I looked up, there was this enormous black bear with a huge pink tongue and giant teeth roaring at me. 
“Holy crap!” I screamed and leaped out of the chair, putting it and the table between me and the bear. It looked very, very real. 
Except for the fact that my husband was holding it in his arms because it had no body.
“What were you thinking? What did you do?” I hollered.
Because when your husband goes to the city to see his surgeon and returns home with a mounted bear head, obviously something happened. 
That something is an outdoor store between here and the city. 
“Some guy brought in a bear and put a down payment on getting the head mounted but he never came back for it,” Dwayne explained. 
“So you thought you’d bring it home.”
“I got a really good deal on him. Oh, and his name is Jack. Where do you want me to hang him?”
 When I moved in here, I made him remove the “family heirloom” from the bedroom wall because I refused to sleep under massive moose antlers yet now my husband was standing in our dining room, holding a massive, gape-mouthed black bear head, which he had named, and was expecting me to point to a spot on a living room wall.
 “You can’t hang that in the house,” I told him. “The dogs haven’t even blinked their eyes since you brought that thing inside. And how long do you think it will take the kitten to discover he can hang off that mouth?” 
“You really don’t want Jack in the house?”
By then, I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not but NO, Jack is not living inside. Jack can live in the garage with the moose antlers. 
(Which now has me wondering if he’s going to want a face to go along with that rack.)
As Dwayne carried the bear head out to the garage, he said, “If you write a column about this, I get to hang Jack in the living room.”
Oh, puleeze! Bring it on, Jack. 
Who goes to the city to see his surgeon and brings home a mounted bear head? A man who lost his decorating cred six years ago, that’s who. 

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