It's Sunday morning. Mr. Moon is still up in the wilds of Georgia but will be heading home today. It's still very odd to me that I am married to a hunter. When we met, he and I, I couldn't imagine a man more unlike any possible future mate I'd ever met. First off, he was (is) about a foot and half taller than me. No exaggeration. So of course that meant he'd been a basketball player- a jock. I was more the girl-who-dated-guitar players. I had even married one. And divorced him. And then, there was that hunting thing.
I'd been a vegetarian on and off my entire adult life. You know, a hippie girl. Southern hippie girl. We ate a lot of beans and rice and cornbread and even in my little suburban house, painted pink with gray shutters, I had a garden in the back yard. Guns were an anathema to me. And here came this too-tall man who had played basketball and who had guns and hunted with them. At least he, too, was from the south. Tennessee, to be exact, which is where my mother was raised although he came from the Nashville part of the state, she from the Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga part.
I guess he was just enough of a novelty to me to get me interested. Also, he was just about the sweetest darn guy I'd ever met. And happiest. I mean, the guy was just happy to be alive. And he showed it. No neuroses were apparent. Enjoyed a drink but didn't overdo. Showed up when he said he would. Hell, he didn't so much show up as just be there all the time. Since I'd been single I'd dated a string of complicated, just-this-side-of-completely-nuts men which was how I thought all men were and they maybe showed up and maybe didn't and they couldn't be counted on and I was in a constant state of love-sickness which was really getting old, plus I was still dealing with my ex who was the King of Inconsistency in those days and we were having our letting-go issues and I was in nursing school and raising two kids. All at the same time. So yes, I was fucking nuts too.
So here was this guy. This big guy. Tallest guy I'd ever personally met and he was just so damn sweet and he brought me flowers and I knew from day one that he had set his cap for me, he was pitching woo, he was showing me pictures of his PARENTS for god's sake, saying things like, "I can't wait for you to meet my family."
Freaked me the FUCK out.
I was still getting some ya-ya's out. Oh yes I was. And before I knew it, this guy, this TALL GUY, had taken over a closet in my bedroom, had moved his own bed in because mine was obviously too small as it was designed for normal-sized people, and when I came home one night and found him WASHING AND PUTTING AWAY THE DISHES HE'D GOTTEN IN THE DIVORCE FROM HIS FIRST WIFE, I freaked out and said, "Out, out, out!"
The dishes were ugly.
He packed his things and moved into a room in a friend's house and we spent one night apart and then I went and got him and brought him back home.
It was just a test, I guess. Just a test. He passed.
He continued to court me. He took me to New Orleans where we had the most profound shared-telepathic experience you've ever heard of. I'll write about it some day. He told me he loved me. He bought my kids Christmas presents and was good to them and around them. He took them fishing. He did indeed introduce me to his family. He built a ten-foot-tall privacy fence around my back yard and asked my permission to repaint the house in a color other than pink. He moved his dog in, parked his pick-up truck in my yard, found a place in the side yard for his jon boat. HE COULD CARRY THE JON BOAT AROUND WITH NOTHING BUT HIS SHEER STRENGTH!
He helped me with the garden. Everything I cooked for him, he praised to high heaven. He told me I was beautiful. He gave me reason to trust him.
He shot some quail and plucked them in my kitchen and marinated them in my refrigerator.
Still. I let him stay. It seemed...inevitable. Even if I'd wanted to slow things down, it wasn't even possible. He was like a force of nature. And the more I learned about him, the more I really liked him. He was the unimaginable- a really truly good guy.
Plus, he had a few hippie ways. And to be honest, the body of a god. Also, he'd lived in Europe for awhile, playing pro ball over there, and that experience had given him insights he never would have gotten otherwise. He may have been an ex-jock and he was definitely a hunter but he wasn't a redneck.
And his family just took me in and enfolded me in their love and treated my kids like they were their own and his daddy told me that they loved me because I was making their son happy and he hadn't really been happy in a long time. He wouldn't say anything derogatory about that first wife of Mr. Moon's, but he made it clear that she really hadn't been the woman for Glen. And made it even clearer that he and Glen's mama thought I was. The woman for him.
What's a girl gonna do?
He gave me a ring on my thirtieth birthday. I still wasn't really up to speed if you want to know the truth but there was that element of inevitability. There was my good sense (who knew I had any?) telling me, don't let this one get away. There was my womb telling me yes, yes, yes.
What the hell? I married the guy. This October it will have been twenty-eight years.
And in those twenty-eight years we had two more kids, he started and ran several businesses, supported us through thick and thin times, introduced me to Mexico, worked his ass off, put up with my insanities, supported me in my beliefs, kept praising my cooking to high heaven, and went fishing and hunting whenever he could.
We've seen friends into death with each other, survived the loss of both of his parents and his sister. We own property and a house on Dog Island with a friend and a beautiful little lot down in Apalachicola where we plan to build a house with a long dock out over the bay. He bought me my dream house- this one we live in- even though he didn't really want to. He tells me now he loves it.
He tells me he loves me all the time.
He's been the best daddy to all of our kids I can even imagine. He's supported them through things that would have brought other men to their knees. They all know that if they need ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD, he'll be there. One phone call. He's there.
I think about the time (and I can barely write about this, even now, decades later) when May got hit by a car and he got to the hospital before I did and I was only three blocks away, and he was there when they opened the ambulance doors and I had to stand back because they hadn't told me how badly she'd been hurt (bad) and I was so fucking scared, more scared than I'd ever been in my life and more scared than I've ever been since and more scared than I ever want to be again, but he was there, he talked to her, I heard them, I knew it was going to be all right. Some how, it was going to be all right and it was.
Yes. He hunts. And I have learned to respect that and I'm human and I still sometimes get a little bit jealous of the time he spends on that endeavor but just when I've reached my limit, he swoops me away to Mexico and drives me around on a scooter and makes me sunset drinks and takes me out to eat for three meals a day and holds my hand when we snorkel.
And I cook his venison for him and he praises it to high heaven.
And now we're grandparents and that's another kind of bond I'd never really imagined. I watch him play with Owen. They pretend-fish and they really do fish and he gets down on the floor and does puzzles with him and now he nuzzles and loves the new boy, too. You've seen this picture before but it does bear repeating.
Listen- if I listed every good thing about that man, we'd be here for days.
And no, he's not perfect. Neither am I and neither are you.
We've had our ups and our downs. We've had our scary times. But here we are and he'll be home today and I've got some venison cube steak thawed out in the refrigerator and tonight I'll cook it like a good Southern woman and mash up some potatoes we grew in our garden and maybe make a salad with some grilled vegetables and spinach and we'll watch another episode of Deadwood and sit on the couch and hold hands and he'll praise my cooking to high heaven and he might even wash the dishes.
He drives me crazy and he brings me back again and he'll be home this afternoon with a load of laundry because two pairs of his pants and a shirt is a full load, even in the High Capacity Washer.
He's tall, y'all. And he has to be because his heart is so big that it takes a body that big to fit it in. A heart that he's not stingy with but gives away easy and with grace.
Well, it's Sunday morning. I need to eat something. I'm going to go get Owen to come out and play today. The cicadas are singing and the sun is shining and the chickens are scratching and although Sunday is my crazy day, I feel all right. My hunter will be home and next fall he'll be bringing more deer meat home. I married a hunter, a man who loves the woods and the sea and who loves to bring home meat from both.
I never thought it'd be this way. I'm just so grateful it is.
That's my love story.
To be continued.
If I'm very, very lucky. Which I have been, ever since the day I met him, that man, that hunter, this man I love so very much.