W is for Tammy Wynette

Shaun and I honeymooned in Wisconsin Dells, officially, but before the official honeymoon, we went to Winnipeg for a weekend. At our hotel, we found karaoke night in the bar, as was our way, and I sang first, as was also our way. Unless you’ve heard Shaun sing, trust me. You don’t want to follow him.

We took pride in surprising each other with songs, and refused to share our selections before we got on stage. While I appreciate folks who have “their” karaoke song, Shaun’s so spectacular at karaoke, I don’t know that I heard him sing more than two songs more than once in our fifteen years together. I am not so spectacular, but I tried to find my wheelhouse every time. (Mostly my wheelhouse is Loretta Lynn and Dusty Springfield)

So we’re in Winnepeg, karaoke-ing for the first time since getting hitched, and I think “Hm. Romantic song? Nah. Let’s go the other way. It’ll be funny.” We both submitted our slips at the same time, but I made clear that I got to sing first. Soon after, I belted out the lovely Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” This was a song that haunted me as a child, though my parents remained happily married until my dad died in 2002. As a blushing new bride? I found it hilarious. So I sang it, and sang it well.

And Shaun got up and sang some Billy Joel love song. I can’t remember if it was “She’s Got a Way,” but I do know it was absolutely the most romantic thing anyone has ever sung to me in the history of time.  I felt weak in the knees, but also like a shrew and an idiot, for my song choice. Good job, wife.

I tell you this not because I really think my song choice led to the end of my marriage thirteen years later, but because I needed a topic for my W entry, and I’ve been thinking about our D-I-V-O-R-C-E lately, as it will become final in the next few weeks.

Here’s the thing. Our divorce is consensual, and necessary, and good. We’ll all be better off for it, in the end (though V may never see it this way). But the worst part? You wanna know the worst part of getting divorced? (Not counting the whole shattering of our hopes and dreams and eternal resentment toward the concept of happily ever after and also we’re breaking our sweet daughter’s heart? Not counting that…) The worst part is, I have no one to help me hide the bodies.

Yeah, you read that right.

Of course, I don’t mean HUMAN bodies. But I was mowing the lawn today, which I do once a month whether it needs it or not, and found a dead robin in our front yard. I have always been a sucker for robins, and dead ones make me cry. I can’t explain it. They just do. So I mowed around it and later went back and moved the body, gingerly, into the trash can. This used to be one of Shaun’s (frankly few) jobs: there’s something dead? He’ll take care of it.

I am a feminist, and a proud one at that. Spiders, mice, bugs of any sort don’t bother me. But dead birds make my heart hurt for some reason. So I called in back up, when I could. Now that I’m the sole grown up, though, it’s my job, and I don’t like it.

But wait, there’s more.

After the unpleasantness that was the front yard, I went to the back, and mowed in a big square, smaller and smaller, until I was about halfway done, when suddenly I noticed, in nearly the center of my yard, a dead squirrel.

You may recall from earlier posts that squirrels are not now, nor have they ever been, my favorite. I rather despise them, and wish I could build a squirrel-proof dome over my backyard so as to keep them all at bay. I once ran over a squirrel on a rural road, and honestly felt no remorse whatsoever.

But this? A dead squirrel in the (ahem) dead center of my backyard? I did not rejoice. I might have, had Shaun been in the house to come and move it. But instead I had to get the snow shovel, and scoop up a mid-sized rodent, and dispose of it in the trash. This meant I had to look, really look, at the squirrel. She was sort of lovely, with a tail tipped in white, all around. Some poor, middle-aged squirrel, ending her life unceremoniously in the backyard of a known squirrel enemy. I was, dare I say it, sad. I don’t know what she died from, but I was sorry she’d met such a mediocre end in my overgrown grass. Having to move the body meant I had to acknowledge her life in a way in which I had grown unaccustomed, when I had Shaun to help wield the shovel.

I still don’t care for squirrels. And I don’t care for being the sole grown-up at this house. But I suppose it was good for me, to have to face the apparently untimely death of an enemy. And to take care of all the things, all on my own.

Tammy Wynette should’ve written a song about that, if you ask me.

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About Jennifer

Writer teacher mama sister friend sewist poet trying to stay warm in Minnesota's northwest.
This entry was posted in $haun, Family, Grief. Bookmark the permalink.

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