Keeping it Real: Trust the Journey

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When a city girl marries a country boy, it can sometimes feel like you are living right smack dab in the middle of a sitcom or a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s a collision course of two worlds that can be a beautiful, wonderful and hilarious ride…IF…you don’t take life too seriously and if you are able to find the humor in your differences.

The very first time I took note of how different my husband’s world was to mine was when I made the trip to meet his family at their home in Slaughter, Louisiana.

I remember walking into their living room and immediately taking note of the many deer heads hanging on their walls. I had never seen anything like it. There were deer, squirrels and even a fan of turkey feathers mounted perfectly on their walls.

And just like comedian Jeff Foxworthy had joked about in his “You might be a redneck if…” comedy routine, their working television in their living room actually DID sit on top of their non-working television! Lol!

I had grown up in a home with family portraits on our walls, rather than deer heads, so this was such a contrast to what I was used to. I was fascinated and dumbfounded all at the same time. Little did I know back then that a trip to the taxidermist costs just as much, if not more, than a trip to a portrait studio (I sure as heck know that now.)

When I met my future in-laws, I loved them instantly.  My husband’s mom offered me the sweetest smile and the warmest embrace, while his dad offered me good ole-fashioned ribbing. Let’s just say that if he messes with you, he likes you.

I will never forget the moment he arose from his recliner to come greet me.  As he made his way toward me, I couldn’t help but notice that his face looked a bit deformed.  His right cheek looked completely swollen. He was smiling from ear-to-ear and once he reached me to give me a hug, I realized that his cheek wasn’t swollen, it was chalk-full of some sort of dark, leafy product like Popeye the sailor man. When he spoke, he was loud and gregarious, but I couldn’t understand a word he said with all of that chew in his mouth, so I just courtesy laughed my way through that first meeting.

After a few moments, my husband’s father reached for a white foam cup. He pulled that cup up to his face and then proceeded to spit the nastiest coffee-colored fluid into that cup right in front of us while he was in the middle of a sentence!

No one else acted like anything out of the ordinary had just happened, so neither did I.  I just talked myself out of gagging in front of everyone in that moment. A few years later, I bought him his own sleeve of foam cups. I just didn’t see using the same one for days at a time. (Yuck!)

So here I was, a girl who had grown up in a non-hunting, non-dipping, non-smoking, non-cussing family, and I had already fallen in love with a man who came from a long line of country folks who did all of the above.

Our children are quite the mix of both sides of our families.  Allow me to share with you guys a few funny observations/compromises that I’ve made over the course of my life as the wife and mom of country boys who love to deer and duck hunt.

You can kiss any extra closet space in your home goodbye

A zillion puffy camouflage coats, hoodies, hats and boots will overtake your closets and any other free space available in your home.

You will lose some wall space to animal heads

Just give in to it. It’s happening.  Now, if you are clever, like I was, you will talk your husband into closing in the garage and making a man cave/den out of it that you promise he can hang any animal trophy in it that he wants.  But be prepared…if you make that promise, you better be ready to ask Jesus to come sit on your tongue when your man turns every bit of that wall space into full-on 3-D looking deer head wallpaper.

Humor tip: During the holidays, simply dress each of these deer heads up in full Christmas reindeer attire and label them each as one of Santa’s reindeer. It’s my favorite thing to do each Christmas.

The hunter’s internal clock is a phenomenon to behold

Your hunter may struggle to wake up in the wee hours for a crying baby, but sister, if he has plans to hunt the next morning, his inner clock wakes him up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed before his alarm clock even sings. The energy with which he gets up and outta there to head into the woods is that of a young child on Christmas morning.  This will annoy you.

Turkey calls and duck calls will send you to a psyche ward

This is only true if your hunter and his offspring insist on practicing their instrument in the house…daily…with no care…how it grates on your nerves.  Oh, they will think it’s hilarious to continue yelping and quacking after you have asked them nicely to stop. But then, something will shift in the “anger” nerve section of your brain when they continue to ignore your request to stop loudly quacking…..and that is when… You. Will. Lose. IT. An explosion of anger will erupt from your throat that makes the sounds of their turkey and duck calls wither in smallness. In that moment, it will feel as though time halted and the world stopped spinning. Once your head swivels back around to the front of your body and all of the smoke that bellowed out of your ears has dissipated, they will finally and instantly give in to your request. But, here’s the kicker: They will look at YOU like you are the crazy one and then patronizingly say something like, “Okay, okay, Mom.  We were just trying to have a little fun. Geez…Chill.” And with that laaaaast order to “chill,” you will indeed reach for a straight jacket to place upon yourself so as not to kill them with your bare hands.

The home furnishing compromise

Rather than purchasing that night table for your husband’s side of the bed to finish off the look of your master bedroom, you will be talked into getting a gun vault instead. It won’t be the accent piece you dreamed of and you’ll never be booked on the “Parade of Homes” route, but it’ll keep your people safe and sound.  And quite frankly, there’s just too much time and work involved to have your home in that kind of parade anyway…soooo…I’ll take the vault.

Your carport, garage or shed will be converted into a mini Bass Pro Shop

This is usually where your ATVs are stored, along with twenty bags of corn, a thousand duck decoys, duck blind material, nets, loads of lanterns and flashlights, a few propane heaters (which actually come in handy on those cold soccer nights), waders and more puffy camouflage coats that couldn’t fit into anymore closets.

My advice?  Just roll with it.

Actually, that’s my simple advice about marriage in general.  Whether you two come from different backgrounds, different religions, traditions, cultures or whatever…just keep your wits and sense of humor about you and roll with it. Be the reason that life has more meaning and is more memorable for those around you.

Acknowledge and appreciate the many life lessons you will have acquired by simply living your best life together. Trust this worthwhile journey and always… Keep it real. 😉