What the HAYnes? On surprises and finding an elk in my car

HUMOR – I do not care for surprises. I am one who prefers to know about things well in advance so that I can ease myself into the idea of moving to Seattle, owning a German shepherd, having a fourth child, or whatever the case may be.

The problem is that surprises happen rather frequently when you are married to someone like my husband. For example our old German shepherd, our unexpected move to Seattle last summer, and my fourth child were all surprises.

Some surprises are good, like the Deluxe Scrabble game that he finally got me for Valentine’s Day after years of hinting. But, some surprises are more of the variety that your golden retriever might kill and leave on your front porch as a gift.

Last fall my husband went on an elk hunting trip in eastern Utah. I was not raised in a hunting family – or an organized crime family – so this culture of occasionally bringing home a dead body is unfamiliar to me. My only stipulation with this hunting trip was that my husband would not bring home a giant elk carcass to butcher in my kitchen. He promised that if he shot an elk he would leave it at the butcher on his way home.

To appreciate this story of surprise, an important detail to note is that my husband took what was then MY car – a Chevy Tahoe that is getting on in years – on his trip. I was okay with this, since I was secretly praying that he would not shoot an elk. I have developed a pretty decent relationship with deity, so I thought I was in the clear. I was sure that he would not need to use my car to transport a dead elk.

I am a fool.

The morning after my husband returned from his trip I awoke early to drive my wee ones to school. I peeked in the third row of my car to find a rather large elk cow wedged into the back, her legs folded in like those on a card table. It was surreal and terrifying, like something out of a horror movie.

I have never found a dead body in my car before. I wanted to scream and yell and vomit simultaneously. Righteous indignation coupled with nausea is a unique sensation.

But I did not freak out even though I am sure we can all agree that freaking out would have been justified in this situation. Luckily the elk caught me on one of those mornings when the sun was shining and I did not have to drag my children out of their beds by their ankles. I assumed that there must have been a good explanation, and there was.

At this point in the story, I am sure that my husband would like it if I explained that the butcher was closed by the time he passed through Kanab. He had no choice but to bring a giant, smelly elk home in the backseat of my car.

He would probably also like me to mention that he has since surprised me with a much fancier, less blood stained car. Marriage saved.

After almost 10 years of wedded bliss I am learning to adapt to my husband’s surprises. At least, as of this moment I am. If, however, he brings home another German shepherd – things might change quickly.


Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Audrey March 2, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I admit your tahoe did look like your husband murdered someone. When i drove up and saw blood dripping down your bumper i thought, “oh…. he is in SO MUCH TROUBLE…” ha ha hahahhaha!

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