I had just spent the weekend with guys in a trailer that most people who call trailers a home, would not find as an acceptable place to put their bodies in, much less eat and lay their head for the night. I spent the evenings on the deck, and ate Jeremy’s wild turkey, and venison, with potatoes and onion as a side for every meal that somehow just mixed into a goulash. I listened to Charley Daniels, David Allen Coe, and Hank Williams Jr., while trying my best at talking about UT Football (which ended when the guys giving me a quiz to name as many players as I could on the team), then came trucks, and the hunting and spray on deer pee.
I left the woods, smelling of it, and feeling a bit different. I know it hadn’t made me a man, but I can’t tell you I didn’t feel a little more coming out. My first stop was a Starbucks in Franklin. The same Starbucks that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban frequent, along with many very trendy, and wealthy people of the area. I wanted to write about my experience, and journal about what happened. It was a weird place to immediately head towards, but I think my life and experiences brought me to a coffee shop as the first place to go. Like I was on auto-pilot.
It was weird to immediately find myself there, after what I had just gone through. I felt like a caveman emerging from a thousand year sleep. I looked around at the people, and little coffees and small tables, and nice light fixtures, and perfumes, and cute smiles of people, it just felt, well—weird.
I can promise you, it was not where the other guys were headed, but in some ways, Starbucks, and Panera Bread had been my home—my hunting cabin for many years. Heck, I had met my wife at one in Colorado a few years back. As I sat there over my journal, everything looked different in the place. I wondered for the first time if I really belonged there. If this was really me.
There was a guy next to me, a few years older than me, dressed nicely with three women around him. They sat there talking about work, and just to and fro, carelessly wandering in conversation like the wind and the coming sea tide. I wanted to journal, but I sat and listened.
Something raging inside of me at the guy. I glanced over at him, with his legs folder over. He spoke to the ladies so well, relating to them, it had me so confused.
I was mad, because in some ways maybe even 72 hours ago, I was that guy, and pretty happy with it.
But what I wanted to do next was walk over to the table, pry his legs apart with the butt of a rifle, slam him around a bit, pour out the coffee on his face, tell him he’s a man, dang it.
I wanted to throw his $5 blueberry non-fat muffin across the table and replace it with some of Jeremy’s deer jerky. Give him a pair of camo pants to replace those designer jeans, then hand the rifle to him, and give him directions to the trailer for a few nights hunting at the trailer. Tell the ladies to go find another woman to talk to. This guy, assuming there is a penis down there, well, he is going to become a man.
But as I sat there plotting, then, I started thinking about some of the guys I had been hunting with. I don’t think they would have enjoyed spending an hour over a mocha cup a joe, with a round table too small to fit anything more than a purse, or a few drinks on to chat. I don’t know if most of them knew any drink outside coffee dark. And I wasn’t sure if they could have held such a captive conversation with women talking about the lighter things of life, laughing and relating so well.
It seemed men had become polarized.
We needed to go to the place we hadn’t received, and ask God to lead us, and put some things inside of us we would not have had otherwise. I wasn’t sure where I was lining up, but I think it was the first time I saw that hunting was not going to make me a man by itself, any more than sitting at Starbucks and talking about my feelings. It seemed somewhere between the two.