How does anyone go from “Never” to “I guess its okay?”
It starts with shock then it works itself into normal.
Back in the ’60s we had a neighbor lady, a widow. We called her “Crazy Old Lady Badell.” She had a big, fat, white furry cat that sat in her lap. She stroked it daily and the fur flew. She found great comfort in that cat.
My friend said to me, “Crazy Badell froze her cat.”
I said, “Froze her cat? Why would she do that?”
“Well she was really attached to it,” she said.
“I knew she found great comfort in that cat. I need to see it for myself.”
“Yes, it’s in her freezer. She’s crazy. I’ve never heard of such a thing as that.”
Then several years later, I opened my freezer and a wild turkey was starring me in the face. With its wings spread across the entire chest freezer.
I yelled, “Yikes, what’s this? Al, what have you put in my freezer?”
“Don’t touch it, don’t mess up the wings, it’s a trophy.”
I struggled with that turkey for months. Finally I said, “Get rid of that turkey or I will feed it to the dog, I need the freezer space.”
Al said, “I hope you didn’t mess up the wings.”
“Al, just get rid of that bird. I’ve fought with it long enough.”
Then there was the badger, the road kill.
“Al, I don’t think it is safe to put road kill in the freezer with our food. It will contaminate our food.”
“Oh, don’t be silly. It’s fine. We’ve never had food poison, we are all healthy.”
Then there was the bear hide that took up half of the freezer.
“Al what is in that big black bag in my freezer?”
“Oh, my friend got a bear and he gave me the hide. I want to have it tanned.”
Two years later, I was still packing food around that big lump.
Then came the buffalo hide.
“Enough is enough,” I said to Al
Al gave me a rebuttal, “This hide is valuable, it is a buffalo hide. Don’t touch it.”
I didn’t buy into it. “Al, get rid of that hide or I’m throwing it out.”
“I don’t know what to do with it, give me some time. It’s fine where it is.”
“No Al, it’s not fine. I need the freezer space.”
So that’s how you go from saying’ Never” to saying, “I guess its okay.” After the initial shock, then you start figuring out how to live around it.
I talked to a friend. “Is this normal? Are we going to die with some kind of disease from those animals in our freezer? It’s gross.”
She said, “My husband does the same thing.”
I guess if someone else is doing it, then it must be okay. “What is in your freezer?”
My friend said, “I have a wild pig with big white teeth in mine.”
“Well, Al brought home a coyote.”
You go from shock — that’s crazy — to a mutual society. Then it is upping your friends.
I walked into the kitchen, Al is using my blender.
“Al, what’s that pink stuff in my blender? It looks like Milk of Magnesia.”
“Oh nothing! They are just deer brains, I’m blending them. Then I’ll apply them to the hides, which will make the hides soft.”
I should have known. Al got another wild-hair idea; he had been reading his Trapper Magazine again and decided to tan hides. Maybe he’ll get that buffalo or bear hide out of my freezer.
“I knew I should have thrown out those hides when I had a chance. Al, sterilize my blender when you get through.”
“Betty, you are so touchy.”
“Touchy or not, sterilize my blender.”
I have taken away all of Al’s fun and he is driving me up the wall with all his hunting stuff. I use to think we had a little class, but now I know we have none. I am wondering about the health department. I’m not shocked at anything any more.
Turkey season is here. I might be living with another turkey in my freezer. I’m still sleeping with an old turkey in my bed.
Was old Mrs. Badell so crazy after all? Maybe a cat in the lap is the way to go. Mrs. Badell is way dead and gone and her big, fat cat is probably mounted and sitting on someone’s mantle.
Final brushstroke: I don’t know what brings more comfort: sleeping with an old turkey in the bed, or stroking a fat cat on the lap.
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Artist’s quote: “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder, author.