Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Friday, September 07, 2012

Michael in Mozambique

My husband is the Man of Hobbies.

Some years he takes up beer-making. Some years he decides to dedicate himself to the perfect homemade sausage. During med school and training he did a great deal of hand-piecing and quilting. He used to repair key-wound toys. A few years ago he wrote a novel to see what that was like (I think it's lying around somewhere, almost finished.) Among other pursuits, he cooks, bakes, volunteers as a neuromuscular neurologist in Viet Nam, goes fishing, leads a Boy Scout troop (just back from clambering up Mt. Katahdin in Maine and headed for the Grand Canyon some time next year), teaches a confirmation class, and was recently a Senior Warden at Christ Church (where James Fenimore Cooper was once Senior Warden), travels whenever he gets the chance (lately: Cambodia, Thailand, Sweden, Yukon, Morocco, Egypt, Greece, Turkey), and hunts.

Right now he is hunting in Mozambique, accompanied by our friend Jack, who is packing a camera. Yesterday Michael killed a Cape Buffalo, and I am wondering what on earth one does with a powerful and short-tempered but dead Cape Buffalo, and also thinking about the mischief and fun there could be in becoming a vegetarian... Thanks to a certain person's hobbies, I have eaten antelope (spicy, as if it had been eating mesquite, maybe), caribou, mule deer, white tail, and innumerable other four-legged and two-winged creatures.

Michael and I have been married for 25 years. We eloped and had a sheriff's deputy for a bridesmaid. He was packing a gun but didn't mind holding the bouquet, my one symbol of the usual way of doing things. Flowers and a gun: it seems like a key to how things have gone... I never would have guessed that Mike would sew as well as cook (I knew he could cook), or that he would crave traveling to places like the Crazy Mountains and the Yukon and Mozambique to hunt.

More than most lives, his is an adventure. I do hope he is not eaten by lions.

8 comments:

  1. Marly,

    I'm not gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I now have a man crush on your husband.

    I think it is a sign of a good woman to "allow" a man to have his own life like that. (Is allow the right word?)

    Congrats to both of you!

    Gary

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  2. Hah, Gary!

    Interesting semi-bald men have to hang together, I guess...

    "Allow" appears to be definitely the right word, as we know quite a few men who are not "allowed" by their spouses. In fact, I have been proclaimed the perfect wife by a number of fellows! For good or ill, your choice.

    Thanks. 25 is impressive to us, too. Because there is no marriage without rocks to clamber over and hike around.

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  3. Congratulations on the 25 and for such an exciting relationship. What an interesting man, I imagine many a woman envies you (mind, I'm happy with mine even after 42 years, rock clambering and all).

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  4. Yes, he's pretty lively!

    Luckily, he thinks I'm interesting even though I spend so much time pushing words around.

    It's good to be content after 42 years. I look forward to it.

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  5. Your post brings to mind one of mine where I took issue with my husband's definition of 'bravery.' It seems that the two of you are at peace with your differences on the topic. Wonderful post.

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  6. Hi Mamie--

    I am perfectly willing for my husband to be a rather different person than I am! On the other hand, we have a lot of tastes in common...

    And I think it must be the writer in me, but I am interested in many things that I don't wish to do. But my characters often wish to do what I do not!

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  7. You seem to be more of an armchair traveler than he, but adventurous nonetheless. The description of your marriage proves that.
    It is interesting under the circumstances that he decided to write a novel just to see what it is like, and apparently decided, as we writers know, that writing is not thrilling in the same way as the kind of wandering he does.
    I hope he comes home safely very soon.
    My guy took a train home from VA, sitting for 4 days without a bath in an observation car. I am glad I was not there to smell him or endure that experience myself, but I'm happy to have him home. He had a wonderful time.

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  8. Oh, when you have three children, you are not going to get to go most of the time! But that's all right; I'm plenty busy.

    I think he enjoyed the novel; I liked the parts of it that I read. Maybe he'll finish it up some day...

    He will not be back for a while. But I am into the "safe" idea! Glad Richard got to ride the train cross country. It's good to fulfill those dreams.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.