Lee Pitts: Inferior decorating
I have a great eye for fashion and style and my wife thinks so too, even going so far as to call me FiFi. I think I would have made a great interior decorator if I only had a limp handshake and referred to everyone as “darling.” However, my wife does not share my good taste and creativity; where she sees a wagon wheel I might see a coffee table and where she sees only a shiny horse bit I see a toilet paper roll holder. My wife fails to appreciate the patina of ammunition boxes, old guns, ceramic cows, bull rider’s bells, spurs, square nails, chaps, reatas, broken saddle trees, prison-made headstalls and canes made from the reproductive organ of bulls.
Our different interpretations of style came to a head recently when I tried to sneak another old saddle into the house.
“I thought I told you no more saddles,” my wife said forcibly.
“But it’s only the sixth one. Besides, I thought you liked the western look.”
“I do, but I will not have my home looking like it was decorated by the Visalia Stock Saddle Company. There’s not a soft edge anywhere.”
“That’s not so. What about all the Pendleton blankets? They are soft and they are made from wool, and wool is hot this year. Or any other year, for that matter.”
“It’s way too masculine and I don’t like all the cowhides hanging from the barn wood on the walls. It’s bad enough I have to vacuum around all the saddles, I shouldn’t have to vacuum the walls too. Not all our guests appreciate old things like you do.”
“You should be grateful that I like old things,” I said, looking directly at her.
“Very funny. It’s just that our home furnishings look like they are things you picked up on Roadside Cleanup in the FFA 45 years ago.”
“I know, isn’t it great?”
“NO, it is not! I don’t like to feel like I’m camping out, sleeping in a tack room, living in a bunkhouse, or a Wells Fargo stagecoach.”
“It could be a lot worse,” I reminded her. “Just think, if I was a farmer our guests would have to sit in old tractor seats. If I was a mechanic our walls would be covered with hubcaps, car parts and license plates.”
“Did you forget that your entire office is covered with old license plates?”
“Yes, but it’s just one wall and it compliments the wall of barbed wire quite nicely. Besides, you were complaining that I had too many bookcases filled with books.”
“I merely said our books seem to all be written by Will James and J. Frank Dobie.”
“I’m not like most interior decorators, I don’t buy my books, or my art, by the yard. I have way too much good taste for that.”
“You’ve taken over every room in the house with your cowboy stuff.”
“That’s not true. You still have the kitchen.”
“Have you even been in the kitchen lately? We have wild rags hanging from branding irons for curtains, we eat off rodeo plates, the walls are covered with calendars from old saddleries and the napkin holder is an old stirrup.
“Yes, that was an inspired touch. The repurposing of old things is all the rage in Paris right now.”
“But who eats while looking at a bull’s head on the wall?”
“I took that down, remember?”
“No, it fell down. And the deer head is still up.”
“Quit complaining, I gave you the whole yard for your junk.”
“Are you kidding? There are two concrete cowboys, one horse, old bits and spurs, wagon parts and all the other overflow from the house. What do you think it says to any dinner guests we might have if a cement cow and a plastic cowboy welcomes them at our front door?”
“I don’t know. That there’s a good chance we won’t be serving chicken for supper?”