Charlie came to live with us sometime in the mid 1970's...He was homeless...How could I say no? Actually he was a trophy deer head that my brother Tom had passed on to me when he was going through a divorce...Along with several of his treasures came Charlie and Tom's words...."Just keep Charlie a few weeks Sis...Till I can get settled somewhere." ....Yeah, right.



Good Sister that I am, AKA Sucker..I took Charlie. Little did I know Charlie was a long term resident. Charlie hung (literally) around the house for several years...He never said a word...Just stared vacantly into space. He was a hatrack, a coatrack and a general conversation piece. Charlie never complained. He was a better houseguest than most.



Being the gypsy souls we were, Charlie got to see a lot of new places. We hauled him here and there...Over hill and dale...Up the road and down the road....For 10 years! The kids went to elementary school. middle school and then into High School. Yet Charlie just hung there...Never saying a word. I did....I said, "TOM...COME GET THIS DEER OR HE IS GOING TO THE DUMP!" "I will Sis...I promise." Yeah, right.... He threatened me with my life if I got rid of Charlie. I believed him.



Years rolled by. Charlie got evicted to the laundry room. See, it's like this...Charlie was getting ratty...Well, more like mangy...He had seen his best day to say the least. The once proud ears had peeled back to expose the taxidermist's Coor's and Budwieser cans. A slight breeze sent Charlie fur flying. Charlie's fur followed us from the laundry back into the house regularly. Charlie was everywhere.



Tom would blow through now and then...Tom brought us dogs and an occasional baby possum...I would hand them back to him and say, "Tom, take Charlie with you!" "I will Sis...next time." ....Yeah, right.



Revenge?? Me??? Nahhhh...That ain't the word...I don't know if the word exists...All I knew was Charlie was going home to Tom one way or another. We plotted this one. UPS...nahhhhh...That was too easy. This would take some thought. So, my teenage daughter and I sat down with make up and jewlery in hand and went to work on Charlie.



It took only an hour or so to make Charlie into Charlotta...The cheapest, sleaziest, transvestite deer in Southeastern Oklahoma. He/she had screaming blue eyeshadow...red lipstick (have you ever tried to paint lips on a deer???) He/she had earring on every antler...All 10 of them....Dangly, cheap, gaudy ones....Nothing too good for Charlie! We topped it off with a huge bow around his/her neck and doused him/her down with smelly foo foo water, AKA perfume. He/she was ready to go see Tom. He/she looked like a traveling bordello.



Off we went to Tom's in Denton, Texas for the weekend, Charlie/Charlotta in tow. We got some strange looks on the way there. I don't know why. Doesn't everyone do this? Our timing was impeccable. Tom was at work at the GTE offices. Just as we had planned it. We cased the joint. He was on break! Great...No one to catch us. We ran back to the car and grabbed Charlie/Charlotta and ran screaming and giggling into the building. A teenage girl and her deranged Mother.



Rounding a corner we ran right into a man in a suit...uh oh...All I had to say was, "It's okay...I'm Tom Chambers' sister..." A look that said nothing related to that man would suprise him came over his face and he stepped aside without a word...Actually he dived for cover, but that's another story.



We scampered into Tom's office that he shared with several other people. Charlie/Charlotta was waiting for him when he came back from break...Sitting at his desk...In his chair...Smelling up the entire room....With a note that said, "Tom Chambers I presume?" Ahhhhh the sweet feeling of knowing you got someone back! It was a beautiful moment. Of course, by the time Tom got there, we were long gone. I'm crazy, but I ain't THAT crazy! He would have made me take Charlie for another 10 years!



Tom came home that night and never said a word. Finally I could take no more. "Did you find anything at your desk today?" "No." Hmmmmm...Maybe Charlie was deer-napped...
"Ok...Let me make this clear...DID CHARLIE SHOW UP TODAY?" "Ohhhhh...Charlieeeee...Yesssss..." Silence. Hmmmmm...."Annnnnnd?" "Every man at GTE begged me for Charlie" he said... Sheesh..I woulda given his mangy head to them years ago! Where were they when he was shedding all over my clean towels?



Last I heard of Charlie he was hanging around my nephew's house. He inherited Charlie after Tom's death. I can give him some tips. Don't put Charlie in the laundry room! And never trust Auntie Allison...She will make you pay. :)

Allison Chambers Coxsey
c1999


In Loving Memory of Jesse Thomas Chambers



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Artwork showcased on this set from the artwork of Terry Redlin