Shaken, Not Stirred

Humorous Essays and Other Stuff

Gerald Andersen

Gerald Andersen
Location
Califon, New Jersey, United States
Birthday
January 06
Bio
"“When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me.” - William Faulkner "I grow old...I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled." -T.S. Eliot

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JANUARY 9, 2013 7:03PM

Merry Little Moosemas

Rate: 6 Flag

 
 
merry moosemas
 
 
My wife gave me an oil painting of a moose for Christmas.

Not only that, she allowed me to hang it in the living room. 

As you can see from the photo of this priceless gift, it is a well rendered rendering of a mighty moose in all his majesty.

I could not be more thrilled. Now every morning, as I sip my coffee, I can ponder this fine, fine painting. Is that anger in his eye as he warns off his foes, or lust as he trumpets to his mate? The beautifully interpreted drool and slobber issuing from his mouth would support the latter view. Note how skillfully the artist, one D. Alpaugh, has captured the light reflecting off the slobber. Observe how he has balanced the splendid but terrifying rack of antlers with the dessicated bush at the lower left. Painterly, indeed. Is he saying, that as virile and throbbing with life as this beast is now, he too will one day return to the soil? I suspect so, and it brings a lump to my throat, and I instantly bond with this forlorn beast. A memento mori, I believe the ancients called this. Perhaps it's just sadness in his eye.

I first saw this painting in an antique shop in Lambertville, NJ and proceeded to rave about it to my wife: "Can I buy it? Huh, huh? Can I buy it?", I bellowed spraying my own moosely slobber far and wide. She just rolled her eyes and walked away. 

Can you imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the carefully wrapped painting shaped package under the tree? It was my personal Red Ryder BB gun! I shredded the paper off with reckless abandon, and there was the mighty beast. I ripped her favorite Will Moses print from the wall and mounted my trophy. "Are you going to let him hang that there?", our daughter asked. "I can tolerate it," Kathie observed. "I've put up with a lot worse from him." I married an angel!!

I must admit I have a moose fixation and am always on the lookout for Mooseana. My family knows this and feeds my jones by sending me moose related objects: ceramics, stuffed toys and the like. Since I have never seen an actual moose, they also taunt me by sending photos they have taken on their vacations of the out-sized ungulates.

It is not from want of trying that the big lugs have eluded me. For years we vacationed in coastal Maine, and each year I would drive around at dusk seeking out the marshy areas  they favor. I went on early morning moose stake-outs. Many years ago, I found a marshy, sandy area behind a newish subdivision that was chock-a-block with moose tracks. As often as I could, I would stake myself out behind a dune or bush and await the beast whose huge hooves had made the tracks.
 
It never came to pass. Once, I met a woman back there who was berry picking. I asked if she had ever seen a moose. “Often,” she replied, “Take my word: you don’t want to run into one up close. It’s scary.” Indeed, but probably no more scary than running into an over-weight old guy in a bucket hat and shorts lurking behind a blueberry bush.
 
Some may think it odd to be obsessed with and collect images of a creature or creatures they have never seen. In other quarters, however, this is called religion. I think I have a better chance of seeing a moose than I have of seeing an angel.

Correction: an angel is staring forlornly at her desecrated living room wall. Lucky for me, I'm married to her.
 

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You did marry an angel! Not that I don't think moose aren't majestic but well um....nice picture :)
Haven't seen a Moose yet? I heard Sarah in Wasilla has a guest room with your name on it! Great painting & enjoy - but you know what they say about Art.... R
Beats the hell out of Unicorns!:-)
If she's read this, she's feeling pretty lucky right now too. If she hasn't read it, give her a copy. You're both lucky.
Although I've lived in many places where moose are said to be common, I had never seen a moose until about 10 years ago.

I was, at that time, doing a light "you load - we drive" moving service as a sideline that paid for my drinking habit. I had a job to run my van full of furniture from Toronto up to a small town about 9 hours drive north.

At about 3 am, while cruising along at a steady 100kph (60mph), I came around a curve in the road to see the biggest doggone animal I've ever seen, standing broadside to me, on the road, about 60 yards from me.

Definitely no time to stop. Should I try for the other side of the road? I knew that if I did that for a deer, it would jump for the other side also; what would a moose do? I had no idea.

I opted to just hit the brakes with the idea in mind that I could crank the wheel over at the last second by coming off the brakes. The moose looked calmly at me and quietly ambled over to the other side of the road, letting me pass easily. I came to a stop about 150 feet or so past him. I felt like I should thank him for moving out of my way.

I sat there for a few minutes, re-living those few seconds when I was on the brakes as hard as I could get on them and could see the side of the moose looming up in my windshield. I was in a Dodge half-ton van - much higher up than your average car. I could see that, if I hit the moose, the bottom of his belly was going to come through my windshield. That's to say over four feet from the ground. And that, my friend, is one BIG damn animal!!

I've seen any number of movies, videos, photos, and paintings of moose; none of them got it right about how big they are. Not even close.....

;-)
"R"
.
My friend and I in the late 1950's would ride a two or three city bus transfer to a well-tiled relic of a late century natatorium. A sad, awesomely stoic moose head with a ten foot rack silently greeted swimmers in the silvery atrium, along with the antiseptic sting of chlorine. We'd roughhouse and swim and race all afternoon and reverentially pause on our way home beneath that majestic moose. Those judgmental eyes marked time. Waiting at that bus stop, our hair would freeze tough-guy fashion. Our endorphin-laced breath steamed and we would stomp our feet to keep warm, as though motion would save our souls. Nowadays I maintain a rather startling treed leopard--a lithograph of some sort--camouflaged yet watchful in its quietus of synthetic jungle. Recently I learned the natatorium was refurbished to a trendy restaurant housing dolphins and sea lions for a 'unique dining experience.' The restaurant ultimately sought bankruptcy protection, and a judge stepped in to compel sale of the last dolphin. I have no clue about that morose moose trophy; the logistics of transport and 'preservation' rejigger the imagination in timeless repose as does your finery of image and story.

Happy New Year, to you and yours, Gerald. Let's see what Discovery TV offers as 2013 blinks....
I'm not particularly a moose fan, but I love your painting's colors. I also love how you slowly revealed why you have such a painting on your wall. And lo and behold, while I didn't think I could relate, it turns out you and I are very similar: I'm also fascinated and moved by a wild animal that I've never seen in person. My "moose" is whales. Especially bowhead whales, which only live in the Arctic and are extremely rare. Here's hoping you'll get to see a real moose one day and I'll get to see a whale (both of us observing from a safe distance, of course)!
i met and conversed with moose; intelligent animal concerned about taxes and the Dixie Chicks. I believe it was in New Portland, Maine, or perhaps Imagination Junction, Ct.