The Bear in the Garage
If you ever want to make a couple of folks from the city feel well and truly out of their element, invite them over to your house during hunting season. We moved to Vermont fully ready to immerse ourselves in country life. Very ready to not be in a big city anymore. Ready to cook for ourselves and fend for ourselves (now, it turns out we weren’t actually ready for this step, as we have learned time and time again, but we really thought we were) and embrace life without 24 hour access to everything.
We had great attitudes and welcoming spirits and energy and enthusiasm. And very tolerant neighbors. I mean, I’ll give us the credit that we were willing and open to new things and VERY ready to laugh at ourselves. But, seriously, we could not have moved to a better town. We know we were laughed at, but no one made us feel foolish and no one didn’t help when we needed it. (Several years after the story I’m about to tell, the son of this neighbor prevented the hubby from ending up on a tragic episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos in a incident that involved a tree limb, a 1985 Chevy truck and a chainsaw.)
But, back to being newly arrived in the US, in rural Vermont and in hunting season. I swear we had been here a week. Maybe two? It was early, early days. Our next door neighbor showed up at the back door to introduce himself, offer the use of any tools he had and to tell us he had an 8-pointer, a 5-pointer and a 250 pound bear hanging in his garage. (Yes, most of this took some explaining to even understand what was happening here.) And we had to come over and see. When I say ‘we’, I mean the husband. Yes, sexist. Yes, I now know plenty of women and girls who hunt. And yes, I was mighty glad that this invitation was not directed at me. While pleased and proud that the invitation had been extended. But, hoo wee, was I glad to not head over to that garage.
I won’t lie here, the hubby came home a little while later pretty green around the gills. Feeling a little too close to nature. Having been handed freshly sliced venison (the very best cut too – truly, this was a grand, kind, welcoming gesture) to bring home since he was a chef and would know how to cook it right. We were both touched and pleased, even while hubby stated that he never wanted to see meat again that wasn’t first wrapped in cellophane. Just a little more distance, please.
But sometimes life doesn’t give us distance. And sometimes we give it to ourselves, and that’s necessary. But sometimes you dive right in and learn a few things and survive. Nope, neither of us are big fans of venison, neither of us would ever hunt an animal and yes, we get the hypocrisy of some of this. And yes, we laughed many, many times with this neighbor about that first month in Vermont and the city boy holding on to his Budweiser, with his funny accent, standing there in that garage being polite and feeling queasy.