HARMON: A ‘Man Cave’ no more

September 18, 2013 

We are about to embark on a journey in this house that will be interesting, life altering and probably mind-numbing.

A grandchild, the offspring of my daughter and the man she married and the first new person to enter the “fray” around here in almost 30 years will arrive near the end of February.

We have some adjusting to do as the child will be born nearby and brought into this house shortly thereafter for a time. The length of “the visit” is known only to God, as is the knowledge as to whether or not the older people currently living here will survive the experience.

This house is almost paid for and we could move to a retirement home if need be, but getting along with old people is about as difficult as placating a person who wakes up at 3 a.m. to eat. So we’re making tiny adjustments here and there to make things work.

For instance, we’re in the process of making a small house larger without actually adding on. Something that by definition cannot be done, but nevertheless, will be done. Something tells me that my space (not the web thing) is about to shrink. Furniture is leaving daily on the pickup truck, going who knows where, but hopefully there’s a tax write-off in here somewhere.

Things we never thought we could live without we’ve discovered -- we can. There’s also the three dogs to consider and well, the poor things have no idea what’s soon to befall them. Months away from the event we’re hearing, “those dogs had better not wake the baby.” How can three dogs that sleep all day wake anything up? I’m worried about the baby waking them.

We will not know the sex of the child for another few weeks so the painter -- that would be me -- has no idea what color to paint his former “man cave.” We could go with something neutral, but I’m not taking any chances, if you get my drift. Life is hard enough.

And what about the “Man Cave”? That bastion of solitude dedicated to me, and invented by my wife in an effort to get me out of the area of the house where so-called “respectable” people congregate.

Designed with privacy in mind, I can wear what I want or nothing at all in the “Man Cave.” Towels and bathrobes are my favorites. It’s also understood that when I go to the “Man Cave” the dogs go with me. They like that because I do not require them to wear their doggie diapers. We can all have a great time scratching and doing what dogs do.

The “Man Cave” is a recent phenomenon. My grandfather didn’t have nor need one. He didn’t need one because the entire house was his “cave.” This included one bathroom, two bedrooms downstairs and two upstairs and a living/dining room with one television and three channels. If you didn’t want to see Sugar Ray Robinson or Archie Moore beat the fool out of somebody on Friday Night Fights, you could go to the kitchen and listen to “Gunsmoke” on the radio. He smoked Fatima cigarettes -- lit them with a long stem, sulphur, strike anywhere match. He struck that match anywhere he pleased because the house was his. Using the inside bathroom in his “cave” was a privilege so if you found yourself in there when he needed it you had about 30 seconds to take care of business. We all learned to “hold it” until he went to bed.

I wonder what he would think of me now, grandfather to be, cowering in the back with three dogs and a towel. Best not think of that now. Besides, that place will soon join the other things no longer in my life like combs, push mowers, motorcycles and red meat.

Sterling Hayden (the actor) wrote a book years ago called “Wanderer.” It was an autobiography that included his love of the sea and his hatred of the Hollywood scene. I suppose I’ll just be the “wanderer” around the house -- me and the dogs. Maybe I should take a picture of us and put it on the mantle entitled, “In Remembrance.”

Sonny Harmon is an educator at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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