Every man likes to think that he is the center of his wife’s universe, the sole recipient of her love and affection. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to my wife, Melinda.
I’m not complaining mind you, I knew the truth going into the relationship. I knew that I would have to share her with rivals as long as we were together and I was alright with that, I really was, and still am. I just have moments of weakness when I wish she had a little more time for me and less for my rivals. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many of them and only one of me.
As I said, I was aware of those “others” from the beginning. My wife lived in Michigan and I lived in Texas when we met over the Internet. We talked on the computer and the phone for months before we met. She flew down to Texas and we spent a week together and she seemed normal enough. Then a couple of months later I few up to Michigan and spent a week with her and it was then that I first saw a glimpse into what my future would be like if I remained with this woman.
The first day I was there she suggested that I accompany her on her daily walk in the park. The walking trail was a couple of miles in length and wound its way through beautiful forest land inside the park. We had only gone a few hundred yards, walking hand in hand, when we came upon a group of walkers gathered on the trail and looking at something.
This was in early May and still rather cool in Michigan, in fact, for me it was downright cold. We made our way up to the group and shouldered our way to the front of the crowd to see what they were inspecting.
It was a rattlesnake. The creature was about three feet long and was stretched out on the asphalt walk way trying to gather some warmth. He was what they called torpid. The people around us were at a loss as to what to do. They were afraid to get to close and they wanted it off the path so they could continue their walk.
Melinda didn’t even hesitate. Before I could stop her she strode right up the snake, reached down and grabbed it behind the head and lifted it into the air. She turned to the crowd with the snake in her hand and the group scattered, giving her a wide berth. She proceeded to walk off the trail a few feet, carrying the rattlesnake, found a suitable rock in the sun, and draped the reptile on top of it.
She turned to me and flashed a bright, innocent smile. “There,” she said. “Problem solved.”
That was the first of many revelations I discovered about my new girl friend that week. Her house sit on the shore of a small lake and she took me down to the edge of the water to show me how she could splash in the water and the fish would all swim up to her…waiting to be fed which she did each day. She introduced me to the pet grass snake who would come slithering out of the grass when she approached. She would pick it up and stroke its smooth skin and let it wrap around her hand then lay it gently back on the ground. At night she left her porch light on and her back porch would be alive with frogs and toads dining on the insects the light attracted. She regaled me with stories about the coons, possums, and squirrels she had raised as pets as a child, about the two baby snow geese she had raised and released back into the wild.
It was then that I discovered that my wife was bilingual, she spoke both human and animal…fluently. I found out that, though she lived only thirty minutes from Detroit and the roads at night could be a dangerous place for a woman alone to walk, she would take nightly walks and never fear for her well-being. You see she was accompanied on those walks by four Rottwiellers each over a hundred pounds. They would walk sedately at her side, unleashed, and ever vigilant, watching anyone who came close to her. With body language, hand signals, and a few words she communicated with these dogs and, in fact, with all creatures she came in contact with.
After that fateful week in Michigan, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and I didn’t hesitate for one minute. A few months later, as the Summer waned, I made this woman my wife and I have not regretted it for a minute.
Almost twelve years later, we find ourselves here living our shared dream on Almosta Ranch. I am still sharing her with all the animals, great and small but that’s okay because she has enough love for all of us. Even though I come from a background of farm life and have been around animals all my life, she has taught me another level of the human/animal relationship. She has taught me the importance of not being the Master, but of meeting the animals on their level, to communicate with them and to understand their varied languages. She has shown me how much better and fulfilling it is to not just control horses or dogs, but to become part of their herd or pack and not just a part of the herd or pack but the Alpha of each.
So I share my wife’s affection and that’s just fine with me. I watch quietly when she walks into the barn and the little pigs begin to sing to her and the rabbits hop to the front of their cages waiting to be petted. I smile when she opens stall doors and each horse is waiting in front of their door to be fed and they each enter in an orderly fashion. I fall in love all over again as I watch her gently stroke each one and whisper in their ears.
Then she walks back to where I stand and she takes my hand as we watch all our “Babies” eating serenely. Yes, I share my wife with all the creatures and I couldn’t be happier. I have to be the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.