Friday, December 3, 2010

Hot Dogs - Another Sherwood (The Traveling Man) Essay

My youngest child, Adam, got married September 8th, making my nest officially empty—not one child with my DNA living anywhere on or near my property—not in a bedroom, mother-in-law quarters, barn, or in a tent next to the Butterfly Palm in the front pasture. 

But don’t worry about me. I’m getting a dog, and I’m naming the dog Adam.

I’ve gone back to college, which means I have homework now, so while Adam’s been on his honeymoon I swept all his junk into a laundry basket and stole his desk, oh wait . . . my desk.
 Now it’s just me and my darling husband of twenty-eight years. 

Oh, and the dog named Adam—when I get it.
I just hope the dog is less gassy than my darling husband of twenty-eight years.

Sherwood travels. Sherwood travels a lot and when he travels, he tends to eat unsavory, if not downright poisonous foodstuffs—in airports, on the run, without much thought or judgment, and at his age the results can be unsavory if not downright poisonous—sometimes volcanic.

After a recent flight home, Sherwood began exhibiting the ominous rumblings and the strange expulsions of an airport dinner gone massively wrong.

“Oh my goodness, what is going on with you?” I waved a hand wildly in front of my nose.

“A Coney Island foot long hotdog.” He frowned and burped.

“What were you thinking?” I said, horrified. “A man your age should know bet . . .”

“With chili—the hotdog had chili. A foot long chili dog.”

He rolled on the bed and groaned while various noises emanated from various parts of his person.

“Whatever you ate isn’t dead yet. It’s still making sounds. How could you possibly survive two hours on an airplane in your condition?”

“The real question is, how did the other passengers survive two hours on an airplane—with me.”

I gasped for air and clawed at my chest. “You . . . did . . . not!”

“Oh I did—a lot. I let it rip; I had to or die, but I pulled a blanket over myself and pretended to be asleep. No one knew that it was me.”

Shocked by his crazed optimism, I said, “Oh they knew. Believe me, they knew. Babe, you live alone in a hotel room way too much if you think people on that airplane didn’t notice the green methane cloud hovering over your seat.”

A volcano rumbled somewhere near the place where pizza goes to die in my husband’s insides.

“I am pretty disgusting.” 

It seemed pointless to disagree with the obvious, so I smiled a crooked smile and tried not to breathe.

He lay on the bed like something washed up on the beach after a bad oil spill. Putting his hands behind his head, he rumbled and gurgled—thinking deep and meaty thoughts.

“You know what I am?”

I couldn’t imagine. The truth is, I couldn’t get enough fresh air to form a coherent thought.

“I’m a modern day mountain man.” The volcano erupted—once, twice.

I was momentarily blinded.

“You mean like one of those guys who used to live in the mountains, in caves, wrapped in animal skins, wandering around—alone—talking trash to a donkey, looking for beavers to bash on the head? That kind of mountain man?”

The volcano complained but did not erupt.

I sighed. “And just think, now that Adam is married it’s just you and me and whatever you decide to eat on your way home.”

“That’s right.” He visibly brightened. “And that means we can run around the house naked if we want.” 

“Is that something a modern day mountain man would do, you think?”

He burped and bubbled. “Absolutely.”

“Hey, I want to be a mountain girl. Can I have a dog?”

Don’t you worry about me; I’m back in college, I’ve got a great new desk to do my homework on, and I’m getting a dog. And if life gets dark and dreary, I have my darling husband of twenty-eight years who, by all accounts, is a modern day mountain man. Top that.

Happy to be getting a dog,
Linda (Hold the Chili) Zern 


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