Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Forty Ain’t So Bad After All

Last week was one of those milestones in one’s life. Yes, I turned 40 years old. There, I said it. Are you happy?

I don’t know what it is about turning 40, but there is a certain psychology about it that influences your mind. I don’t know if it is a social dynamic or just folk lore about turning 40 that makes you pause and think a little longer about where you are in life. There is even a blog about turning 40. I swear, nothing more than people’s thoughts about turning 40. Even our own Outdoor Bloggers Summit guru Kristine recently posted that she is turning 40 in a couple months and wants to do 40 important things next year to commemorate her experience.

So what is it about 40 that strikes fear in the hearts of men and makes women weep? I don’t know. It was all pretty much lost on me. While I did think about the fact that I was turning 40, it was more in the context of trying to understand all the hubbub about it more than from the desire to run out and immediately buy a red convertible context. However The Wife, who is 14 months younger, was more excited than I was about wanting to make a big deal about it.

“I don’t want a big party, no surprises, just a morning duck hunt and dinner with my family,” was my request to her.

“Oh come on, don’t be a party pooper,” was her retort. You can guess who won that discussion.

So we had a nice, small get together with 37 of my close hunting friends and family. It was a very nice gathering that went late into the evening with lots of food, hunting tales, and more than a few bottles of red wine. So much for not wanting to make a big deal about this birthday. The Wife organized everything while I was on an extended business trip, which I really appreciated.

So I bet you would like to know what this has to do with hunting? Well, nothing I guess, except that I assumed that my party was the capstone to celebrating my special day. A few days later, on Thanksgiving morning, I had received the O.K. from The Wife to go duck hunting with The Hunting Partner. I was quite happy because I always like the nostalgia of going out for a hunt before the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast. I’ll write about that later.

As I headed out the door at the usual 3:00am, I noticed a card taped to the door with the words, “Do not open until instructed to do so” written on the outside. Hmm, what is this about?

I drove to The Hunting Partner’s house to pick him up and as we started to load his gear into my car, I paused and said, “Why do you have two gun cases?” He smiled and said, open this one. I unzipped the cover and what emerged was a beautiful camo semi-auto shotgun.

“Dude!” I exclaimed in less-than-40-year-old-verse, “What did you buy?”

“Open the card” was his reply.

I stopped and I swear if you were standing there you would have literally seen those little cartoon gears turning in a bubble above my head.


“Open the card that was on your door,” he repeated. How did he know there was a card on my door?

Ignoring the growing obviousness of the situation, I asked him again, “Did you buy a new gun?”

“OPEN THE CARD,” was his repeated reply.

Suddenly it hit me like an anvil and I quickly began to piece the puzzle together in my mind. I grabbed the card out of the car and opened it and here is what it said:

While I don’t always see your passion for hunting in a positive light, I do see how much you love it. To know that it makes your truly happy and that you’ve found friendship in The Hunting Partner as a result brings me joy. You’ve been a good sport about your birthday without expectation or disappointment. I wanted to surprise you and hope you know how deeply you are loved. Enjoy your day and your new toy. Forever, The Wife.

The little stinker had fooled me. That’s not possible, I’m always the foil to her plans, and she can never surprise me! Dang it.

The Wife had arranged to purchase a new Benelli Super Black Eagle II shotgun for me. She had worked extra hard and billed more hours to save enough for this very cool gift. Isn’t she just the best! And to have roped The Hunting Partner into the ruse was all the better.

So at the end of the day I survived my 40th birthday, and in fact, had a really nice week of celebration. And boy am I glad I didn’t go out and buy that little red convertible …


Blessed said...

What a great surprise! I bought my hubby a 7mm Rem Mag for his 30th birthday as a surprise... that earned me quite a few "good wife" points. Now he's wanting a Beretta Extrema2... I've got a few more years until his 40th to save for that! :)

Anonymous said...

How cool is that. The best birthday surprises are the ones you completely don't expect. I'm glad you had a nice 40th birthday. I can only hope mine turns out as well as yours.

And I'm with you. I never got the big deal about turning 40. When you consider the alternative, how can you help but be happy about gaining another year?

crestonejake said...

Wow! Your wife really knows how to make a marraige stronger. My wife never opposed my buying a shotgun but always inquired "another one?", "why do you need more than one"? I am a big fan of the Benelli Black Eagle and I personally think it is the most balanced semi on the market, enjoy yours as well as I have for many years. By the way, how was hunting on that particular day?

Tom Sorenson said...

Wow - that should make turning forty a little more bearable!

The Hunter's Wife said...

What a great wife!

As for being 40 and how bad it seems with the new noticeable wrinkles and grey hair, I wouldn't know. :)

Glad to hear you had a good time.

sportingdays said...

What a great story and great 40th birthday all the way around -- fun party, new duck gun, great surprise!! Welcome to the club. I celebrated my 40th last year with a duck dinner, friends and family. It was perfect.

Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Jon! What a fun story to read and kudos to the wife for pulling one over on you. I am sure you will enjoy your new hunting rifle for a long time to come.

Terry Scoville said...

Well I'll be! Congratulations on 40 there ol' dead eye! What a birthday gift, one you'll never forget I'm sure.
Ahh I do remember 40, just about 10 short years ago. OMG I'll tell ya' how 50 feels in a few days! LOL

NorCal Cazadora said...

Happy birthday!

What's the big deal about turning 40? Well, you're a hell of a lot smarter than you were 20 years ago. You're going to start holding reading material farther and farther from your face. Then there are those stupid aches and pains you did nothing to deserve.

But you won't notice any of that because you'll be preoccupied at least until you're 45 with that new shotgun...

Tom Wilson said...

Happy birhtday Jon. What a great story about The Wife. All the best.


Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Congrats on the milestone -- hope you're still out there in the marsh at 80!