Yesterday, I spent a rather silly amount of time setting the Thanksgiving table, even pulling out my mother and grandmother’s sterling butter knives. Sherod mostly puts up with the silliness though it means little to him. Then we sat, each of us at each end of the table, and had a marvelous meal with our children, grandchildren and three friends who knew Sherod and Charlie when Charlie was a little boy–in fact, Sherod and his first wife and children spent summer vacations with Pat, Larry and Brett. Sherod and I now share a meal with these new-old friends most Sunday evenings.
This morning, I was up at a bit before four and sat with my stepson while we both drank coffee. We are both early risers. He was up especially early to spend the day deer hunting. By mid morning, Sherod had decided he was going to join Charlie for the afternoon part of the hunt. It’s been close to twenty years since Sherod’s done that. We often talked in Ft Lauderdale about how he’d lost interest in hunting, no longer willing to kill a creature so easily. It was clear to me yesterday, and even more today, how deep the bonds are between father and son, and how formative these kinds of days have been for both of them. Sherod has come home in so many and such profound ways.
I can’t say that days like today and pictures like this are all that easy for me. I know I will enjoy bowls of venison chili this winter. I had no doubt that it was important for Charlie and Sherod to go do this thing. I am just keenly aware that it is a part of the circle of his life I stand on the outside of–just as he looks in on much of what still defines me, like the butter knives I stood and polished for over an hour on Tuesday. The mystery of the Venn Diagram that constitutes a marriage…
Venn Diagrams — what a perfect image for married life. I quite agree. We can never completely overlap. It’s the differences that keep it interesting, and keep us looking beyond ourselves into the unknown.
I wish I hadn’t seen that, you can justify all you want, but that is revolting. It isn’t interesting, it is simply horrifying.
I have a snapshot of myself, aged about two, sitting on the hood of my daddy’s car and clutching the antler of a similar kill. Horrible juxtaposition, but … I was two. This is life in the American South. It’s not the life I choose for myself; my spouse does not hunt (though he has done in the past).
If you were to look at my Thanksgiving photos from this week on Facebook, you’d see my sister’s Southern-Living-esque ranch house, utterly full of hunting mounts and chandeliers made of antlers. Part of me wants to run away in horror, to eschew any contact with that lifestyle. However: she is my only Nancy. She and her family run a high-dollar hunting operation on their property for a major corporate client. It is their life and livelihood. And she is my sister.
Part of my life lesson in this stage is to hold in tension the combinations of things, including those I cannot bear, with faith that the truth will become apparent.