Finally! The Long-awaited Surprise Revealed


Or Jerry.

Or let Jerry.


Finally! My birthday arrived yesterday. I could at last see the artistic cat-gourd creation Jerry made for me.

A few blogs back, I wrote about my trip to the Wuertz Farm Gourd Festival (see archives on right for “Eat. Pray. Gourd). In Washington state, our festivals honor umbrellas and basset hounds dressed in tuxedos and pink princess dresses. In Arizona, the festivals honor ostriches and hard-shelled squash. I had never attended a festival dedicated to gourds, so I had to see what it was all about.

Once inside, I fell under the allure of all things gourds and wanted a souvenir. I spotted a gourd painted like a cat and considered buying it.

Jerry said to me, “Don’t buy that. I’ll paint one for you.” I think Jerry thought to himself, No way am I letting her spend money on a gourd when I can do that myself, thereby leaving money for more important necessities like volt-o-meters and running lights for my Honda Goldwing trike.

I agreed to Jerry’s plan as it would be more meaningful to me to have something he made rather than something dreamed up by a stranger.

The festival had numerous bins full of dried gourds, all the color of beige and in various sizes and shapes. Some slick and smooth with long necks and others fat and warty resembling creatures from a Star Wars movie. Jerry spent quite a bit of time searching the bins for the perfect cat-shaped gourd. By the time he found the perfect one, I had circled the festival grounds several times sampling sweet organic oranges and inquiring about the price of a gourd fashioned into a mandolin. ($300!)

A cat gourd is somewhere in one of these bins.

A cat-shaped gourd is somewhere in one of these bins.

As we left the festival, Jerry announced that he planned to give me his cat-gourd handiwork for my upcoming birthday. How sweet, I thought.

A week before my birthday, I had forgotten about the promise of a cat-gourd until Jerry said, “Oh no! I have to paint that gourd for you!” He said it in a disgruntled tone, the kind of tone one might use when saying, “Oh no, I have to clean the toilet for your birthday.” It was kind of like he was thinking, Darn! Why did I promise her that for her birthday.

I offered him an out. “You don’t have to give it to me on my birthday. Just whenever you get it done will be great.”

“No,” he said. “I promised you I would give it to you for your birthday and I will do that.”

The next couple of nights I noticed Jerry in the bedroom hunched over in the corner, seated on a chair, seeming very secretive. I pretended I hadn’t noticed him crouched in the corner trying to hide whatever he was doing. I quietly stepped back out.

I sent an e-mail to my friend Debbie in Santa Fe and told her about the cat-gourd project and expressed my anticipation to the unveiling on my birthday. She shot an e-mail back, writing, “Send me a pic of the cat-gourd!!!”

I awoke on my birthday excited to see the finished project. I was expecting Jerry to wake me sweetly with cream cheese scones and hot tea and announce with great bravado, “Tah Dah!” Then present his cat-gourd creation with all the hoopla that goes with a project kept secret until the birthday moment.

I', ready for the hoopla, Jerry!

I’m ready for the hoopla, Jerry!

But Jerry said nothing about the cat-gourd when I woke up. After some time passed and nothing said about it, I couldn’t stand it any longer. So I asked, “Where’s the cat-gourd? Isn’t there some kind of unveiling?”

Jerry said very casually, “Over by the coffeemaker.”  His tone seemed to suggest that everyone who paints a gourd for their wife’s birthday places it by the coffeemaker. (Why I’m the only wife in the world who didn’t know this is beyond me.)

Jerry added, “Well you make coffee in the morning, so I thought you’d see it right off. How did I know you weren’t making coffee?”

I have a rule to not do any work on my birthday and making coffee could be considered work. Jerry must have forgotten my rule.

Besides, we were going out to breakfast and I’m trying to cut down on caffeine.

I strolled into the kitchen and there was my cat-gourd, staring at me with baby blue eyes next to the Cuisinart coffeemaker. I laughed when I laid eyes on it. I loved it.

Keep in mind, when I first moved to Arizona, I spoke with a lady who told me she paints gourds and sells them at a gourd festival in a nearby city. At that time, gourd art seemed ridiculous to me. It was on par with someone telling me they paint bananas or artichokes for their artistic outlet. Who would want a painted gourd, I thought to myself? Much less buy one? 

Well, now years later, I realize who would. Me.

Debbie, my friend in Santa Fe, suggests Jerry start a new career painting and selling his gourd creations. I mentioned this to Jerry. “Maybe you could sell them for eighty bucks a piece,” I said (after all, the guy who made mandolins out of gourds had prices in the hundreds.)

Jerry said, “Pshaw! Asking and getting are two different things, Bronwyn.” Then Jerry grabbed his coffee cup and headed to the garage where he can happily work on the fun stuff like fixing his volt-o-meter. He later mentioned he’ll be needing a part for the volt-o-meter and ordering it online.

Jerry's cat gourd

Tah-dah! Jerry’s cat-gourd waits for me in the kitchen. Adorable!


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