Sunday, October 21, 2007

If You Try To Hug Me, I'll Kill You

I met H. a few years ago. Our youngest sons were on the same team and we'd chat during practices and games, casual talk about our families and jobs.

One night we found ourselves standing next to each other without our kids or wives around. We started telling stories, about being in high school, and college, and what have you. Finally H. stepped back with an admiring expression and said, "You might be the first person I've ever met who would be a bad influence on me."

We've since become fast friends. We like singing loudly, tormenting our children, and whiskey. We've gone ice fishing together. Dressed as pirates, we called bingo for last year's elementary school fundraiser. We're both treating our high cholesterol with an aggressive regimen of salami and cheese. Most important, his wife and mine have gone back to school. They're just happy if we amuse each other and leave them alone.

Our love for singing is accompanied by a love for musicals. We've developed a habit of getting together every other Sunday night or so. We have a couple drinks and watch a show. The first night was at my house, Walk the Line, all well and good until my Lovely Bride came down at 12:30 in the morning to ask why we were singing "Ring of Fire" on a school night and what the hell was wrong with us.

Now we get together at H.'s house. H.'s wife is an awfully good sport. A typical evening has us turning on a movie, pouring a glass from our impressive collection of half-finished bottles of bourbon, and settling in with a nice plate of liver sausage and onion sandwiches. She'll walk through, shudder slightly, and escape as quickly as possible.

This Saturday we got a jump on the week. My oldest son and I spent the afternoon in one of our city's more interesting neighborhoods. We had lunch at a new restaurant, did some shopping at a wine and cheese store and a Ukrainian deli. It would have been a shame not to share this food and H. happily invited us over.

My Lovely Bride was studying so it was just H., his wife, another couple, my oldest son and I, sitting at the kitchen table, eating and talking. Eventually the conversation turned to hunting. My hunting is pretty much confined to threatening my dog and chasing pheasants around once or twice a decade. H. is much more serious about it and is planning on going this year with a mutual friend of ours. He asked if I wanted a deer if they got lucky.

"Sure," I said. "I like venison. Where do you get yours processed?"

"I do it myself," he said. "Out in the garage. If I get one, we'll do it together."

My oldest shook his head. He's seen us together. H.'s wife has too, and this was her garage.

"Listen," she said, "if you two morons think you're going to splatter blood all over the garage, you're wrong. I remember the time my husband dragged a dead deer through the back yard. There were blood stains on the ground until the next snow fall. I told him if one of the neighbors went missing he was going to have a time explaining it to the police."

H. waved his hand. "We'll be fine. Hang it up, gut it, make some sausage. It'll be fun."

"Fun," said his wife. "It's fun all right explaining to the kids why there's something bloody dangling under the tarp in the garage."

I took a sip from my drink. "This is great. We'll make a sign that says 'Bates Motel' and nail it to the front of the garage. Hey, that gives me an idea for this year's bingo night." H. and I are chairing the bingo committee this year. How nice for the school.

"Vampires," H. said, pouring a drink for himself. "We'll be vampires." His youngest son looked up with alarm from the other room. He hadn't heard the whole conversation but he's already worried about bingo. A statement like "We'll be vampires" didn't do much to help.

H.'s wife had had enough. She stood and told their child it was time for bed. H. and I talked a bit more about bingo night, then the other couple stood to go, I gathered my kid, and we all said our goodbyes.

On the way home, my son asked me, "Are you really going to be vampires?"

"Probably," I said.

"Are you really going to butcher a deer with H.?"

"Probably. I hope so."

He sat in silence the rest of the way home. I'm not sure he understands my friendships. I'm not sure I do. It doesn't matter. I enjoy them, and that's what I hope my kids see and learn, that friendships don't need a reason, sometimes they just are.


Anonymous said...

one of my roommates once went hunting (with a bow, at that) for the weekend and didnt get anything. on the way back, he hit a deer. he got that processed and we had a freezer full of roadkill for quite some time. true story.

now.. tell me about these half-finished bottles of bourbon..

Chuckles said...

If I were to go hunting, I'd use a bow, AIF, but that is only because I was able to put six arrows in a space the six of a quarter at 40 yards when I was in high school. If I were to use a hunting rifle, I wouldn't be able to hit the broad side of a barn from 2 feet away if this weekend's paintball experience was any indicator of future performance.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just write a musical about deer hunting?? You and H can sing and dance... wait, that would probably be more gruesome and unbearable than the actual butchering of a deer.

fish said...

"if you two morons think you're going to splatter blood all over the garage, you're wrong."

Wow, that really brings back memories...

Anonymous said...

Snag, great post. I love your headline.

friendships don't need a reason, sometimes they just are.

And those are the best ones.

Kathleen said...

just don't hurt the fly. Then everyone will know you're not a bad person.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You hit the sweet spot on that one: Drinking, movies, gore, red meat, music.

You come by sometime. We can threaten my dog, who seems to have made it her life's goal to see how much of oour house she can eat before I run her over with the mower.

Anonymous said...

BP- We'll chat sometime about what the dogs we have known and loved have ingested...

If I recall, your pooch was lower on dog-size-spectrum. Grizzled dog once at a mattress. One of my dogs ate my glasses and half of a couch. :)

Anonymous said...


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

OK, BG, 'your'.

But I'm pretty sure OUR dog was not eating Blue Manor.

Anonymous said...

Snag, I saw this last night.

Is this you?????? Going on one of your hunting trips???????

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You know what they say.

'Friends help you move. Best Friends help you move bodies'