Have you ever run into an old friend, or anyone else for that matter, who seemed way too glad to see you? This story recounts just such a meeting between me and my boss at the time! Some folks who read this story already know my old pard, Brent Hyde, but if you don't, and have read my earlier books, you've met Brent in stories titled, "Chicken ala #&*%" and "Camp Robbers Wear Uniforms." Of course if you asked Brent, he would tell you he remembers certain previously published accounts of our adventures a little differently than I do. My standard answer is, "Brent, if you want your side of the story told, you can write your own book!" For reasons beyond knowing each other for thirty plus years, Brent continues to be a constant source of material. This story goes back to the spring of 1992, shortly after Brent became my supervisor.
For the last twenty plus years, a certain good looking brunette who goes by the name of Jan, has exhibited patience far above and beyond the call of duty by remaining married to Brent. All of us who know them, marvel at her sense of humor, her perseverance, and her ability to keep smiling after all the years. I'm not sure when or why Brent first started calling her Muffin, but her indulgent smile when he calls her that, tells me there is another story lurking behind some door.
It no longer comes as a surprise to Jan, on their anniversary or Mother's Day, when she receives a new pack saddle, a wall tent, a reloading outfit, a wood splitter, or other similar items. Rather than bore you with a list of Brent's attributes, both good and bad, I'll just say he was among the best people I've worked for in the last thirty plus years!
On the day in question I'd called Brent early in the morning to get some last minute instructions for a work detail another officer and I were assigned to for the opening weekend of fishing season. In the conversation, Brent mentioned he was going through his camp outfit and getting everything ready for a camping trip with his wife the next week. I was running ahead of schedule that afternoon before I picked up Tom Whalen, the other officer I was working with, so I stopped at Brent and Jan's to visit for a few minutes.
Before I could even get the parking brake set, Brent was out of the house on a dog trot headed for my truck. He greeted me as if we hadn't seen each other in ten years, let alone talked that very morning! The first thought through my mind was, "Whoa! Something is going on here!" "Come on in," Brent urged as he put his arm around my shoulder!
When we walked in the house, two things were very obvious. First of all, Jan, aka Muffin, wasn't nearly as glad to see me as Brent had been just a minute earlier. Secondly, soapsuds obscured their entire kitchen to a depth of about three feet! In Brent's effort to lessen "Muffin's" workload, he had graciously decided to run all his camp dishes through the dishwasher, and save her the bother after she got off work. (It's still a little cloudy as to whether this was the first time in all the years they'd been married that Brent actually ran the dishwasher!) She'd got home from work only about ten minutes before I'd arrived, to find Brent reading in the living room while the dishwasher churned out buckets and barrels of soapsuds. It seems that Brent, in his desire to please Jan with his domestic abilities, had substituted liquid dish soap when he discovered they were out of the powdered dish soap required by dishwashers!
Being an astute game warden, he knew Muffin would cool off after awhile, and that my presence would probably help! In other words, the pending domestic argument would be postponed at least until I left. I am happy to say, though, that they are still happily married. Brent, of course, never mentions this incident in her presence. But, to this day, she still gets tight jawed when Brent's domestic abilities are brought up in conversation!
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