Monday, February 8, 2016

Check the freezer, deer

If not bound by the rigors of daily life and children and jobs, my husband and I would be fantastic hobbyists.  I can’t wait until we retire and have time to tackle all of the projects we have dreamed up, started, paused, and abandoned.  For as excited we are to do things like bake all of our own bread and build our own furniture, the sad reality is that we can’t find enough hours in the day. 
But still, we try.
I am the child of a family who always had a freezer full of food in the basement.  Slabs of beef, frozen peppers and tomatoes.  Pies, casseroles, leftover pizza, soup.  Nothing ever went to waste and we always had a stockpile of food in a subterranean deep freeze. 
My married life is no different.  Our chest freezer is full of Girl Scout cookies, bulk meat purchases, the forty seven thousand containers of applesauce that I’ve made and accumulated over the years, and enough strawberry jam that would require a truckload of peanut butter.  We purchase quick frozen entrees for those especially busy nights, and there’s always a mysterious container of something that has gone without label for an unidentified period of time.
“Why write what it is on the outside of the clear bag?” we often chuckle.  And then regret.
But our freezer now contains something that is definitely unmistakable.
My hunter husband snagged a decent buck last fall, but not quite amazing enough to shell out the money for it to be properly stuffed and mounted.  “I’ve been doing research on the European mount,” he told me.  Then he explained that it was a method of removing all of the flesh and fur and just leaving a full skull and antlers.   It was a craft project, a disgusting one, but a bit of hobby coming back into our scheduled lives.  I was happy for him.   I was dreaming about retirement.
“Oh, by the way, the entire deer head is in the freezer downstairs,” he mentioned as he walked away.
From the neck all the way to the tippy tip of the antlers.  Wrapped in a white garbage bag, unmarked, and sitting on top of my applesauce.
And there this beast has stayed, for months now, as we venture down the basement stairs to retrieve something from under the decapitation.  He says it’s too cold to complete his project, and given the winter we’ve had, I have to believe he’s honest.
So week after week, I find myself maneuvering around this beheaded beast in the deep freeze of my basement, its head surrounded by the rest of his body in one form or the other.  Vegetarians beware, wives of hunters smile and nod in complete understanding, and our uncle reminds me, “A deer in the freezer is better than a horse in the bed.”


Originally written/published 2/22/15
And it wasn't until December 2015 that he finally took it out!

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