Lonesome Larry’s Christmas Fiasco

Frequent readers of The Cottage Chronicles, and the more astute among you, will recall that we had a comment from Lonesome Larry a few days ago, telling us quite proudly that he had bought his darling wife, Gorgeous Gwen Of The Lake, (GGOTL) something wonderful for Christmas, something red, topless and shiny!!

You all remember Lonesome Larry, he’s my chestwader wearing neighbor from the cottage, the kind of guy that can wear his waders all the time and nobody notices or asks why. Although, if you do wonder about it and break down and ask his wife, she just says, “It keeps things neater.”

Well Lonesome Larry could barely contain his excitement, his comment reeked of a “can’t wait for the big day excitement,” which…of course carried over to our house.

Something “red and shiny”….what could it be? Wendy said, “Oh what a sweet, sweet, and caring husband Lonesome Larry is, what a man!” She sucked in her tummy and stuck out her chest, “If only you were more like Lonesome Larry, he got his wife a convertible car for Christmas, probably a Mustang!!!” (the italics are hers, she said it in italics) “I always wanted a Mustang convertible” she added, to rub it in a bit.

“I doubt that.” I replied trying to appear disinterested, staring at the distant horizon like there was something there worth looking at, like the 7 horsemen of the apocolypse were about to crest the hill behind the house, all the while hoping to all that is holy that he didn’t buy his wife a %#@-*&& car, good God, what would the rest of us men at the lake go through if he did that??? It wouldn’t be pretty…when teh wives found out…..it would be anything but pretty. We’d probably have to move.

“He said it was red and shiny and topless.” Wendy giggled, “What else could it be? Again with those damm italics in her voice.

“I don’t know, maybe a new red vacuum?” I replied, Maybe Electorlux have a model they call ‘Topless’…..

“Yeah, right, like you bought me the past two years. A vacuum for the house and….a freakin’ shop-vac for God only knows what !! He’s not like you, I know Larry, he’s thoughtful, kind and generous to his wife, the lucky girl, women can tell these things.”

“Larry?” I questioned, “Lonesome Larry from the camp? Are we talking about the same Larry?” I tried to raise my left eyebrow in an enquiring, suspicious manner, “The guy with a truck, two hunting dogs, boats and guns and fishing rods? The guy who wears chest waders everywhere?, The guy who has rabbit stew for breakfast, trout for lunch and venison for supper?”

I thought to myself, I know Lonesome Larry, he’s not the “buy the wife a convertible” type of guy…..unless…..of course….it hit me smack in the middle of the forehead like the unfettered boob of a 75 year old female nudist riding a jet ski on a rough lake, Lonesome’s not the kind of guy to go buying red convertibles for his missus unless he had done something wrong….really wrong…..

Now ladies, before I go any further, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that the only time your husband buys you a car is after he has done something wrong, far from it, there are, I suppose some guys who, for whatever reason, do that kind of stuff. Most of the rest of us guys tend to shun those particular guys on the salmon river or in the duck blind. And we really avoid them at parties. I just didn’t believe, couldn’t believe, wouldn’t believe, that Lonesome Larry, that moose shootin’ wader wearin’ duck dog handlin’ son of a gun, would do such a thing to his buddies. I had a brief picture in my head of Alleghany Al, when he finds out…well….he would be….I dunno, I suppose aghast, he would simply be aghast…..

I decided it was best for me to shut up at that point. I mean, c’mon what was I going to say, and I know I was in dangerous waters, like a broken down WWII merchant ship drifting rudderless off the coast of France in 1943. It was time for absolute silence on deck….lights out…mouth shut….zipped up like a straight guy at a gay party…Open my mouth now and one of two things happen, I say something stupid and sink my own ship, or possibly sink Larry’s ship, and he really will be “lonesome”

I looked over at Wendy, she was sitting at the kitchen table staring longingly out to the driveway at the old Dodge Caravan, covered in road dust and rust scale, looking every bit it’s advancing age. (The road dust hides the scratches) I knew she was picturing a shiny red Ford Mustang convertible in the driveway on Christmas morning, waiting for her to take the top down and go for a ride, I am not sure, but I think I heard her humming the opening bars to the song, Born To Be Wild….

A glance through the classified car ads in my neighbors newspaper convinced me rather quickly that trying to match Lonesome Larry’s generosity was going to be expensive. I didn’t have a lot of time to look, the neighbor would soon be home from work and looking for his newspaper, so I fired it back on his step and sat down on mine to think.

New cars, even used cars, convertible Mustangs for example, are not cheap, they are not cheap. I figured I was done like bacon and eggs for breakfast in the logging camp, no car under the tree for Wendy, no car keys in her sock. At the same time I was thinking, man-mano-man, Larry, what did you do?? You must really have done it big time this time big fella.

It was particularly awkward that Larry’s message came through before I had done my Christmas shopping for Wendy. In fact, it was on the heels of a post I had written about the problems I was having deciding what to buy her for Christmas. Up until that time a car was not on the books, although a mini-bike had crossed my mind, but was quickly dismissed when I saw the price of them.

So….long story short, let’s review the situation…and it is a situation, something that really should be considered by the guys at CNN in the Situation Room…..the chronology….
Lonesome Larry sends me a comment, saying what a wonderful gift he got his wife for Christmas.
Wendy reads the email, guesses he bought Gwen a convertible car, probably a Ford Mustang.
That…is the situation in a nutshell. Can you see the issue here? This is an issue make no mistake, and here’s why.

I am convinced Lonesome Larry has gotten himself in some kind of marital problem, and is trying to get out of trouble or at least trying to lessen the “blow” so to speak, that he would or…..depending on your frame of mind, would not receive, if and when Gwen finds out.

But that wasn’t the only issue here…there was a bigger one, bigger because it affects me, yours truly…..I hadn’t been Christmas shopping for Wendy when all this transpired, so, when I did go shopping, I felt rather guilty myself, well, more cheap than guilty, but nonetheless, I was feeling like Lonesome Larry had kind of backed me, and a lot of the guys at the camp into a corner. So I did the only thing I knew to do, I pawned my least favorite shotgun, my boron fly rod, (the one with the sticky line guides) and my radio tracking collar I got for the rabbit dog, just after she ran off and never came back. I headed to the mall.

I guess you could say I splurged, right there in the jewelry store…yup, jewelry, man’s best friend, right after a good rabbit hound, man’s best friend is expensive jewelry. I ended up spending a couple dollars more on Wendy’s gift than I had planned because the sales clerk was cute and I didn’t want her to think I was cheap> Thank God the pawn shop clerk didn’t know anything about boron fly rods or he would have realized the fly line stuck in the guides.

Meanwhile, throughout my last minute shopping spree, I had trouble concentrating on my Big Mac and fries in the food court, because I was worried about my friend Larry’s relationship. You and I both know how these marital issues go, things never go good, especially for the neighbors. The guy buys his wife something nice, and the next thing ya know, the lawyers are dividing things up, she get this, she gets that, he gets….well something…but…..their cottage gets sold, the money goes to pay the lawyers, and that….my cottager buddies, is the really sad thing here, the real tragedy of it all….Of course you know why…..but if you don’t….read on….here is what happens because Larry bought Gwen a shiny red convertible….

The Aftermath
After it’s over, those of us left behind get new cottage neighbors to contend with…probably some brain surgeon doctor or corporate lawyer with lots of time and money to go fishing. Before long he’s building a new, modern cottage, more of a mansion really, probably a cedar log home that dwarfs every other camp on the lake, and is only matched in size by his boat and SUV and loaded with the latest appliances, hot-tubs, satellite dishes, and helicopter pads.

That’s never a good thing. Local land values skyrocket, our property taxes go up, the roads all get paved, a shopping mall with a Walmart springs up in Bessie’s old farm field where we used to shoot deer, a 24-hour flavoured latte shoppe with drive-thru window gets built on the old hardwood hill above the orchard where the ruffed grouse used to roam, the four-wheelers are run off the road by new Lexus’ and Land Rovers, a housing development springs up on Loon Island, float planes start taking off and landing all day, fireworks every night of the week….the locals all sell out to the well heeled newcomers and move to condos in the city, closer to the amnenties. All because Lonesome Larry bought his wife a new Ford Mustang convertible, red in color…..

If only Lonesome Larry had come to me or Alleghany Al first, maybe we could have helped…..

Now do you see the situation here? It’s not as simple as just running out all hotty totty and buying your wife a shiny red Ford Mustang convertible. Even if you are in some kind of trouble, or even if you are not in trouble, you soon will be….and most important, your actions have an impact on others, your friends and neighbors, your fishing and hunting buddies, even your buddies hunting dog suffers….it ain’t pretty.

And so today, we heard from Lonesome Larry, unable to contain his excitement any longer, he sent us a pic of the new red and shiny vehicle he had bought Gwen to get himself out of the trouble he was obviously in….

Yup…it’s what it looks like…a 1960’s vintage Bombardier all terrain tracked vehicle…Here is what happened, in Lonesome Larry’s words, when he gave his lovely wife the keys to her new vehicle:

“When “GGOTL” saw her new re-built 1960 sumpthin’ Bombadeer J5 in the driveway she was overcome with emotion, standing with her hand gently on the roll-bar she bowed her head and slowly moved it side to side, I guess it was a little prayer , I only heard a few of those “church words”. I told her how much easier it would be to get her moose out of the woods when she gets drawn for a license and that her and Wendy would have no problem moving Rob’s shed with “The J5” . She stopped shakin’ and went in the house before we got pictures of me givin’ her the keys , I guess she wanted time to gather her thoughts, later she told me that after New Years we would get the paper-work done , I wasn’t going to register and license it but she likes to have these things all proper, even mentioned a lawyer, guess she wants to be sure the grand-daughter gets “The J5” in the will.

Tomorrow I am returning the expensive jewelry I got Wendy, she needs a new shop vac….it’s good to have things back to normal….


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