Running Free

Running Free

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bear Claws, Saws and Wood

Dinner at our house is usually a fun and often funny affair. If not for one reason than definitely for another.

Oftentimes what it is I have attempted to make for the evening meal becomes fodder (no pun intended) for hungry mouths. Sometimes their disappointment is tantamount- especially the expressions of DS when he queries me, “What’s for dinner Mom?”

Me: “Steamed broccoli and baked salmon.”

DS: “Oh” with a long drawn out sigh and a face like a red balloon.

Me: “I hope that is okay?!”

DS: “Oh it’s fine, I was just really hoping for tacos or a burger or macaroni and cheese.” (Followed by another deep sigh).

Me: “Well, you can save those thoughts for another night or an evening out with your Dad.”

DS: “You’re right.”

After we settle down, give thanks and begin attacking the fuel enriched food in front of us, what usually happens is that one of us will bring up a topic and that topic will then take off on tangents so unrelated that one wonders how to ever get back to the beginning.

Take for example last night. We somehow got onto the topic of high school and electives. DH was delivering his version of what electives should comprise- as when he was in school taking honors everything from A-Z pretty much. He decided to take things like home economics and woodworking as a soothing balm to his otherwise GPA-enriching workload.

I was fine with the conversation until DS asked DH to explain woodworking. As my DH detailed what was involved in the act of working with wood he added that DS should consider taking such a course in either junior high or high school.

And this is where I dropped my fork, letting it fall ungracefully onto my salad which caused a chain reaction of rolling tomatoes and jittery romaine strips to slide here and there. It was as if they too were alarmed at the sudden turn the conversation had taken.

“Over my dead and buried body will any son of mine be in a woodworking class,” said I in a very high and mighty tone of voice – it surprised me too I must admit- but well, motherly preservation or whatnot just kicked in I guess.

“I learned incredible things in woodworking dear,” my husband said in his most pacifying voice- the one that makes my eyebrows shoot straight up.

“Indeed,” said I.

“Like what Dad?” inquired my very curious son.

“Oh I learned how to use a band saw to cut steaks off a slab of frozen meat bear.”

I looked at my DH to see if he was serious (his dad was known to have killed a skunk and even had it mounted someplace so I wasn’t sure what to think other than appalling thoughts of sadness for the poor bruin.)

He added that he learned to use a lathe, a device that rotates a piece of wood at high speed and allows the user to cut with tools (e.g. you use it to make chair legs). Somehow I can’t envision my engineer exacting husband as the Home Improvement kinda guy.

But I was still back on bear and saw and shuddering uncontrollably and thinking that this conversation was way off the track when my DH added more information about the many benefits of wood working class.

“There’s the great use of a planer –a device for feeding wood through, and grinding one surface completely smooth and flat, always a good skill to know,” my husband proudly added.

I just stared at him, at my son and back again at said Home Improvement master- the Grand Poohbah himself- Grizzly Adams sans bushy beard and hair. Who knew that the king of sawing bear steaks was sitting across from me this very evening? In fact, we had been living under the same roof all these years…and I had no idea. Come to think about had I known my DH had such fondness for woodworking and saws I could have put in a request for a handmade vanity and a set of side tables and…

“Dad, how does the bear get frozen? And what do you do with the claws?” my son asked.

My dear dear husband was chuckling and chortling and he and dear dear son were really getting into the whole conversation- probably getting a chuckle out of my complexion turning from red to green and back again - like a Christmas ornament.

Except that this ornament was about to crack.

But I had a trick up my sleeve- little did my DS and DH know that they were being enrolled in a Fred Astaire dance class…and it would be starting sooner than either of them could say one more word about saws and bears and lathes.

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