Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce, by Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter
One of my most prized possessions is a fine China plate embellished with genuine 24-karat gold paint and the number 50 displayed proudly in the center. It’s not really my style, but I cherish it like no other thing. It was my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary gift — their golden anniversary.
For me, it’s rock-solid proof that love endures. Theirs was a true love story. It also serves as a perpetual reminder that love is an intensively fragile thing, something to be carefully cherished and protected. To make sure the plate isn’t accidentally broken, it is tightly clasped to a sturdy wire plate hanger that embraces it tightly. That hanger is secured to one of the thick logs that make up our home with a three-inch metal screw.
This year was our silver anniversary. With all my heart, I aimed to celebrate the anniversary with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance such an event deserves. The thing is, who celebrates anniversaries anymore? Back in the day when we had cable, there were plenty of shows about weddings. Entire magazines are devoted to weddings. Cards, gifts, parties and showers are dedicated to weddings. Sure, there are a few cards for the anniversarial occasion, but I can’t remember the last time I bought one for someone else. And as far as I know, there is no prime-time programming such as, “Yay, Rah, You Endured Another Year.”
Yet I have noticed a few Hallmark cards dedicated to divorce. It made me wonder what happened between the two big events.
I let my mind ponder that when last week’s memories resurfaced like a bad case of food poisoning. Hubs was at work until the next week. How am I? (Insert crazy-woman rant here.)
The proper answer: Like everyone else at end of a whirlwind Alaska summer — busy. Exhausted. One stuffed pillow short of a matching set. That is because the dog ate the other pillow. Ate it. As in she completely obliterated the outer shell that contained what was at one time an entire heard of feathered friends.
When I opened the door to let her in I shrieked (insert soprano scream here). “Something died in the driveway!”
I you envision this scene, leave me out of it. I was feeling like frump girl, wearing yesterday’s clothes (I’ll stop the description here. Let’s just say I wasn’t very photographic.) because the other fur beast was up all night whining. He wanted in. He wanted out. ALL NIGHT. I know better than to leaving a whining dog in the house. That mistake results in, shall we say, “crud.”
But that morning I remembered that I had forgot that I had an important errand to run. It took longer than I thought — MUCH longer. The wind really picked up over the afternoon. As I pulled into the driveway, I was greeted by flying feathers.
The dead pillow was reanimated. Wahoo! Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only mess I had to mess with that day.
Opening the door, I was welcomed by two overly exuberant dogs and the results of one of their overly exuberant digestive system.
Diarrhea. Diarrhea squirted all over the floor. Pure Mop and Glow liquid stench! I was too shocked to scream, too nauseated to cry. I closed the door, hoping the wind would stop and the feathers wouldn’t fly in. I held my breath. Entering the cabin, I closed the door and opened the windows, now desperately hoping the wind would not stop. Grabbing gloves, a wad of paper towels and bleach I felt like I was in a horror movie. I am dying! I need air!
(Cue a manly ring tone.) It was my sweetheart, wishing me a happy anniversary. For a moment I had a flash of the big party I was hoping to pull off when he got home and the sweet things I was going to text him before he started his shift. But it was the best I could do to not gag or snarl as I made sweet wifely replies to his sentimental sentiments.
My stomach churned. Why he felt the need to ask, I’m not sure. Could he hear the devastation, the frustration, the small “urf,” in my voice? Then he popped the question, “How are you?”
I spilled my guts. He was amazingly kind and did not chuckle —at least not very noticeably. He listened. I’m pretty sure he said some nice stuff that did make it better, mostly.
It’s been a week. I’ve recovered, so has the cabin and, I hope, the intestinally sensitive dog. I’m still thinking about that anniversary thing. I’ve decided that we will go out for dinner when he gets home and will make a big deal about our anniversary next year. Life’s not always the way we plan it. Schedules, feathers and, yes, diarrhea happens, but I’m thinking that the way to get to the gold is to keep on celebrating and protecting and cherishing.
It probably doesn’t hurt to buy synthetic pillows, either, and to remember that one should never (ever!) try new varieties of chew bones before any major holiday.
- Grounds for staying married: Going for the gold.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer who lives (and loves) in Soldotna.