Friday, June 12, 2015

Big Game Hunter

When I was twelve, my aunt and uncle came to visit from Alaska and take us on a road trip from Washington to California. I’m not sure what possessed them to take their newborn baby and four nieces prone to motion sickness down the coast highway, but we made them pay. Our cousin never stopped screaming and we never stopped barfing. It must have been miserable for them to hear the sounds from the back seats.

Our destination was our uncle’s stepfather’s house somewhere on the northern California coast. I think we went there for the two to reconcile, but all I remember was the taxidermy. The man was quite wealthy and spent his riches on safaris. Not photo safaris. Not pet-the-giraffe safaris. Kill all things safaris. The upper floor of his house was one large room devoted to displaying his trophies. There was an entire stuffed bear, posed on its hind legs, its arms outstretched, and its jaws agape. An African lion stalked the room. Elephant tusks were displayed on walls, while the feet served as the base for glass-topped tables. Overlapping zebra hides covered the floor. I was quite impressed by the glamour of the dead animals.

I spent the night on a sofa in the den, watched over by a stuffed bobcat. I was forbidden from touching the slightly decaying feline, but I never took my eyes of its own shining (glass) orbs. Like the room upstairs, I was at once repulsed and attracted.

I’ve come to despise the big game hunter and his legacy of death, but there is some allure to the safari look. As long as it’s a safari that takes no more than photos and leaves no more than cash in the local economy.

Dress, Equipment. Shoes, Gianni Bini. Sunglasses, Toms. Earrings, Ali’s Boutique. Necklaces, thrifted and consignment. Bracelets, Claire’s, thrifted, vintage, and Garden of the Gods gift shop. Bag, vintage.

And here I am carrying an alligator bag. At least I didn’t shoot the alligator. (And, hopefully, he was enjoyed by a few people before the bag came into my possession.)

My own little hunter chases squirrels, but contents himself with the big blue ball (which I must toss endlessly into the doggy pool for him to retrieve).


Anonymous said...

I have the same necklace (the one with an elephant)- it is very old (80's)- and it always brings Africa to my mind

IrishRedRose said...

What a funny/ghastly road trip story. Hope you weren't on Highway 1? The Big Scary Drop-off cliff views never helped my motion sickness as a kid!

The faux ivory necklaces fit the theme here. Do you ever go to Rio Vista? There's a bar there called Foster's Big Horn which is another fabulous wild game museum of death. It's all from the 30s-40s era, though, so I must admit it doesn't bother me as much as that kind of stuff going on today would. The place is VERY vintage and does have a cool atmosphere.