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My Hero Wore Camo
by Mary Elder-Criss
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My Hero Wore Camo

My husband, Jerry is an outdoors kind of guy, a “good old boy,” and his wardrobe reflects it. If you open one of his dresser drawers or browse through the contents of his closet, you will find only durable, rugged, no-nonsense clothing. Summer wear is t-shirts and jeans, or polo’s with cargoes, and winter’s attire consists of flannel, sweatshirts and denim. His footwear is comprised of three choices; tennis shoes, boat shoes or hiking boots. He’s not big on fashion trends, will never be on the glossy cover of GQ, and only replaces garments when I make him.

One of his favorite pieces of “loungewear” happens to be a pair of Mossy Oak Camouflage sweatpants my son bought him several Christmases ago. I detested these pants on first sight, so naturally they have become Jerry’s most beloved wardrobe essential. Many cycles through the washing machine have reduced the drab colors to even blander shades of green and gray, and a hole has appeared mysteriously in one knee, ripped on who-knows-what. He insists these only add to their character. I insist they should be burned.

I have attempted to do away with this offensive garment on several occasions, but he obviously has a hidden radar detector sewn into the waistband. Each occasion I think I’ve finally succeeded in destroying them, I bear a smile of glee; each weekend following he saunters into the living room wearing them and a smug look on his face.

My sister takes great delight in the fact that I hate these pants, and encourages Jerry to dress in them as much as humanly possible. If he’s aware of an impending visit from her, he makes sure he dons them at least once during her stay, sometimes even going so far as to wear them two days in a row. For Christmas this past year, she bought him camouflage boxers, and included a note which stated he’d never spend a night on the couch again if he chose them as his nighttime attire. Sometimes I’d like to hurt her.

As an outdoors kind of guy, my husband likes to spend time in the open air, pursuing hobbies such as hunting and fishing. Although a pretty decent fisherman, he’s yet to actually bag a deer of any kind. Even his “lucky” camouflage sweatpants seem to leave him high and dry. Each year, he swears this will be his year and he’ll return with the “big one.” He proclaims his prize will be, at the very least, a “ten-point buck.” Each year, I just laugh and send him on his way, knowing without a doubt the only thing which will qualify as “bagged” when he returns will be the seat of those detestable sweatpants after he wears them all weekend.

This past hunting season found him posturing and boasting once again of the trophy buck he was going to bring home. This, undoubtedly, HAD to be HIS year. Him—great white hunter bearing food. Me—ever grateful adoring wife.

After listening to his bragging for several minutes, I finally had to interrupt to bring him back to earth.

“Jerry,” I said in exasperation. “Let’s face it. The only way you’re going to kill a deer is if some old buck who’s simply tired of living walks up to you, pulls out a knife and cuts its own throat out of pity.”

Needless to say, the great white hunter came home empty-handed another year. Evidently the deer aren’t real impressed with his Mossy Oak sweatpants, either.

Yet, as much as I hate those pants, and as many times as I have attempted to hide, lose, or destroy them, I still love the man who chooses to wear them, despite my protests. Recently, a small calico kitten wandered onto our property, not knowing there were two adult dogs and puppies living on the premises. In fear, it climbed the nearest tree. We called the dogs off, and secured them, hoping the cat would be able to clamber back down and make its way to safety.

A previous engagement left us no time to do anything further, and when we returned that night, we no longer saw the kitten. Assuming it had indeed escaped, we went to bed. The next morning was a Sunday, and my husband was in the bathroom, shaving, in preparation for attending Morning Worship. He had overslept, as usual, and was scheduled to drive the church bus which meant he had thirty minutes to shower and dress before leaving. It was then he happened to glance out the bathroom window, and see the kitten. It had indeed managed to escape the first tree, only to be treed again in a second one about ten feet away. The temperatures had been in the thirties the night before and the poor thing was about half frozen.

With traces of shaving cream still on his jaw and chin, and running twenty minutes late, he did the only thing a “real” man could do. As I watched from the window, he stood at the base of the tree, and coaxed and cajoled until the kitten crawled down into his arms.

“Here, kitty kitty…I won’t hurt you, come on down,” was whispered softly and soothingly in his deep bass voice, as my husband tenderly carried the frightened animal inside.

It was only then, when he was walking back towards me, I noticed his choice of clothing. Wouldn’t you just know it? My hero wore camo.

Copyright 2005 Mary Elder Criss

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jean Boulmay 15 Feb 2005
Mary, As always, enjoyed your article and your humor. Jean
Kathy Pollock 07 Feb 2005
I told you he's a hero--bet he was wearing the boxers under the camos. love, sis.


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