Much is written these days about the breakup of the family, all the divorces and alternative family styles. But I must say, from my very limited experience, that the old way was not all that hot. I would be out of an evening for a stroll up and down the street enjoying a postprandial puff, and I’d look into the windows of the houses as I passed and observe the dim light of the TV flickering in the living room, and think that each one of those places was a god damn insane asylum. What’s that song, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors?” Well, thank god for that.
For example, while Mr. Hunter had a sunny chain jerking story telling side, he was, according to Mrs. Hunter, a fucking bear to live with. He had rages and sometimes would pick her up by the shoulders and bang her against the wall. This was no small thing because Mrs. Hunter was six foot two and thick boned. Also, poor Mrs. Hunter had not only the big baby to attend to but four little Hunters all with orange red hair, red freckled faces, and big bones. She said that she would put a ham down in the middle of the table and when dinner was done the whole damn ham would be gone except for the bone.
Mr. Hunter was your nuclear family type and for a long time resisted Mrs. Hunter going to work it being a man’s duty to bring home the bacon or, in their case, the entire ham. But the more you fed the kids the bigger they got and the more they needed to keep growing and it sure did look like every one of them, even the girls, was going to top out well over six feet. So Mrs. Hunter, who had a nursing degree, finally had to go to work at a nearby hospital.
Eventually, she made more money that Mr. Hunter because, while he wouldn’t have put it that way, he was pretty much a glorified animal janitor. He told a story and made it sort of funny by saying the gorilla compound had been made for gorillas and not people because the only way into the place was up from the bottom through a trap door and every time he opened it to go into the compound he had no idea what manner of gorilla piss and shit was going to come pouring down on him. If you think about it for a minute, a job that involves getting covered in gorilla shit and piss cannot pay much.
So to preserve his manhood Mr. Hunter insisted Mrs. Hunter sign over her pay check to him. And when they went to get groceries together, as they always did ever Saturday morning, he would be the one to pull a wad of bills out and pay the cashier. At one point Mrs. Hunter went to a counselor to try to save their marriage, and I was happy to hear that but not so happy when she told me she was going to a Christian Counselor and what they did was sit on bean bags and pray together for God’s guidance.