By Jacki Michaels, for the Redoubt Reporter
It’s a family tradition to listen to audiobooks during family road trips. Still, after many hours of intellectual enrichment and family bonding on a recent trip we found ourselves in desperate need of a little more distraction before we arrived at our destination.
“I have an idea!” I declared.
I could see my hubby cringe. He has learned from experience not to say, “Oh, no!” when I announce that I have an idea. Still, the cringe says it loud and clear.
Nevertheless, I proceeded, “Since we’re going hunting, let’s practice our moose calls!”
His mouth said nothing. His eyes said, “Oh, yay!” in a mocking tone. Sarcasm speaks louder than words.
Catching his father’s attitude, I could feel our teenager’s eyes roll into the back of his head, even though he was in the back seat. An audible groan filled the cab.
“Is that a boy bull call, Patrick?” I asked.
From there a serious discussion on the finer points of speech and moose calling ensued.
“Boy moose,” it was explained, is definitely a grammatical no-no.
In a most masculine move my man posed his hands in prayer position, pinched his nose with his pointer fingers, flared his hands into a shout position, took a deep breath and made a sound that could only be roughly compared to a constipated water buffalo.
“Whoa,” I said. “Good thing you used a duck call when you were courting me!”
“Seriously, Mom, he did that?” my son was incredulous.
“I married him, didn’t I?” I said. Then I rolled my eyes. Being guys, they did not catch my sarcasm.
More groaning from the back.
After hearing that women and kids are often better at calling (mostly because we apparently are more willing to be openly silly and foolish in giving it a good try) I decided that it was my turn. Besides, the guys had resorted to the standard fart contest out of boredom. Making matters worse, we had recently stooped to eat fast food, so I was desperate to distract them with a new game.
I assumed the call position, drew in my breath and gave it a try, remembering to sweep my head left to right and add emphasis at the end.
“Aaaaa oooo uuuuuuuuuuh-ugH!”
Translated, “Oh, please! There’s got to be a real manly man moose out there somewhere! All I see are wimpy punks and I’m sooo annoyed!”
“Pretty good,” was hubby’s assessment.
I tried again, several times. Instead of getting better I started trying too hard. As a result each call was worse than the one before. What started as sounding like a dramatic dying cat wailing with a speech impediment regressed into something so disturbing that it could have been marketed to get teenaged boys out of bed in the morning.
I know this because on my next attempt of verbal feminine mooseishness Patrick jerked awake from his little catnap and asked, wide eyed, “What happened?”
This game was altogether too much fun to quit. I kept on practicing, each time getting unbelievably worse. I embarrassed myself but that paled in comparison to the quality of my guys’ annoyance.
Then it happened.
They got me back. But good.
I’m still airing out the truck.
“Aaaaa oooo uuuuuuuuuuh-ugH!”
Grounds for staying married:
- Being the kind of wife who packs meat out — over hills in the snow for miles.
- Being the kind of husband who plans every trip down to the last little details, including disposable hand warmers and a can of Lysol in the truck.
- Learning to work as a team to annoy and embarrass our kids.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer who lives (and loves) in Soldotna.