He moves a little slower now. But hard work will do that to a man. His joints creak now when he gets out of our double bed. But he has sinew on his arms, like rope stretched round an old post many times over. Losing none of its strength simply looking a little more worn. Hands that I’ve seen lift a 100 pound sack of feed as if it were a plaything, and yet wet a cloth to wash my face while I’m ill with the delicate ease of a doctor. You see the cowboy stars on television who perform seeming impossible shots with their western rifles. I’ve seen him fire a bullet hole in a bullet hole from a place so far away I couldn’t even see the cross mark. A man we know carries the target in his wallet , that my husband once shot as proof that he knows a man who can shoot ” a hole into a hole.” I’ve dreamed a dream up in my mind and said , ” If I wanted a shelf that looked like this and went here in this space, would you build it for me?” . And out of spare wood from the yard, and his pure imagination , he can build it, and stain it and make it a work of art. His boys think he is the strongest, tallest , smartest, best Daddy in the world. And why not? He’s taught them how to catch a fish with just a string, a hook, and a worm. How to walk tall in a world full of people who tell them differently. They know how to shake hands with a man when saying hello, and how to open a door for a lady. He’s taught them how to skip rocks, crack a Bible, kneel in prayer, and if need be, how to throw a punch. He’s told them you always love your Lord, your Momma, and your neighbor, and IN that order. I first laid eyes on him when I was 16, and told my friend, I’m gonna’ marry that man, and I did. He has been my light on some very, very dark nights, given me two amazing children, been my laughter when I am down, my lover, my strength on some days when I thought I didn’t want to go on anymore, and always, always, my BEST FRIEND. Today he is 48 , and I love him more now than I did that September day when I first saw him across the churchyard. Happy birthday babe, you are my everything.
FaceBook’s an interesting place these days. It’s funny because you can start a conversation with just one sentence and 5 minutes later literally people from all over the world are joining in with their opinions on what got said. Here in Arkansas we just recently wrapped up deer season . We live in LA ( Lower Arkansas) 🙂 and hunting and fishing is a way of life for a large majority of people here. In my family it goes back so many generations it is even traced in our family’s surnames. My maiden name WAS DEER. My husband’s name is WOODS. So quite literally it is in our blood. When I was barely big enough to walk my Daddy would put me in a sleeping bag and tote me into the woods, , prop me up against a tree, and let me sleep while he waited for the deer or squirrel to come by. I didn’t realize at the time , we didn’t just do this for fun, we ate wild meat like rabbit, deer, squirrel, because it was cheap, and we were not just the richest people in the world. The funny thing is we ate so well we never noticed. But back to FaceBook. We got into a conversation about the “RIGHT” way to prepare deer meat. Practically everyone said you must, you just simply MUST skin and soak the deer meat in ice and salt water for several days before pounding it tender and thin and cooking it. Well, my husband , myself and my family had NEVER heard of such a thing! My husband can clean and skin a deer faster than just about any person I’ve ever seen . He makes those fellas in the butcher shops look like amateurs, lol. But he’s had lots of practice. When he gets a deer and hangs it to butcher , he skins it, and quarters up the tenderloins . Then I’m cutting it up in the kitchen , pounding it flat, salting and peppering it, putting a little flour on it, and frying it thin and crispy . Pour a little milk, flour, and salt back in the pan, and stir. Making the thickest creamiest white gravy you ‘ve ever seen. Just the way my Daddy used to do it. So not only does it taste out of this world, to eat it reminds me of sitting next to that old oak in my sleeping bag, waiting for Daddy to say, “I got one. We can go now.” So many memories. Food for thought. Food for the body. Food for my soul.