Picture this – it was almost fifty five years ago as my new husband and I embarked on our first vacation as a married couple. I know this would be considered ancient history in our culture today, but we’d only traveled together once before. That was during our senior class trip and we were surrounded by classmates, teachers and chaperones. Even though this was a different time and place it was hard to steal a kiss much less do anything more.
We were one of those couples who waited until our wedding night to consummate our love for one another. Our wedding day was held on the opening day of bow and arrow deer hunting season. Imagine how much harassing my new husband took for giving up this day in lieu of me. It was the first sacrifice of great merit that he actually made for me. There would be many more.
Our honeymoon trip was set. The first few days were spent driving through the North Shore of Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was the height of autumn colors. Trees had turned to rust, gold and crimson and were dotting the countryside like blobs of paint on an artist’s palette. We were blessed with beautiful weather and stayed in lovely accommodations and treated royally along the way.
On our way home, we drove through the farm country of Wisconsin, where I’d spent most of my summer vacations as a child. It was forested with tall, white pines and lots of unsuspecting deer traveling through. We stopped at my grandparents’ farm for a visit. I could tell Paul was itching to get into the woods. My grandpa’s encouragement about shooting many a deer on old county road whatever it was, became tantamount to putting the icing on the cake.
As his brand new wife, I said I would go too. Of course I wouldn’t get out of the car while he hunted, bur he would also know that I wanted to be involved in some way. I still wondered if he planned on hunting all along, because he managed to tuck his bow and arrows deep within the trunk.
So we reached old country road whatever it was, parked, he kissed me goodbye and headed for the woods. I sat back in the seat of the car and began to read a book I’d brought along. Time seemed to press on slowly. What seemed like hours wasn’t more than several minutes. I became bored with the book. I watched out the window and became more and more concerned for my new husband.
Had he decided to ditch me in favor of a fuzzy animal with horns? Was he having difficulty getting the dead buck out of the woods? Had a wild animal torn him to shreds? Had he become victim of a pool of quicksand and needed me to help him get out? So I did the only logical thing I could think to do. I beeped the horn!
This was acting in the moment, mind you. Any presence of sanity had already flown out the window. It wasn’t long before my husband appeared at the edge of the woods. His face was red and angry. I breathed a sigh of relief since he was all in one piece. Little did I know that he had come upon a majestic 14 point buck, was just pulling back on his bow when a car horn went off. I’d never seen him so angry. He opened the trunk and threw his weaponry in. He opened the car door, raging like a bull in a china shop. Little did he know that I was the one responsible for beeping the horn. No one could be that stupid.
That laid the groundwork for our marriage. I admitted to laying on the horn. I cried. He asked to be forgiven for flying off the handle. We kissed and made up. I have never gone hunting with my husband since. We are still married after almost fifty five years. Maybe I learned the secret to a long marriage on that day.