texanist taxidermy
My husband wants to taxidermy our dog when he goes to that big yard in the sky. I don’t. Can I convince him this is wrong?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: Our family dog is getting on in age, and my husband and I have begun to talk about the end. We’ve had the dog, who is a golden retriever, for thirteen years, and he’s truly a part of the family, so this is not easy. My husband says he wants to have him stuffed once the time comes, and our two boys are all for it. I’m totally against it, but I fear that I’m outnumbered. How can I convince them that this is wrong?
Name Withheld

A: First, allow the Texanist to offer his sincere condolences for your loss, impending though it still may be. Saying goodbye to a beloved family pet is always difficult, so the Texanist has attempted to compose this answer such that it may offer you comfort and guidance both before and after the fateful day. He knows well the sorrows you will soon be/are now experiencing, for just as precious as your prized pooch is/was to your family, so too have a number of canine compadres been to the Texanist. And though many of them, alas, have now passed on to the great dog park in the sky, their unwavering loyalty and unconditional love (not to mention their slobbering dog breath) remain vivid in his memory. These traits, no doubt, are/were shared by your noble pup, thereby earning him the privileges of a full family member in good standing (or sitting, rolling over, etc.). This fact, however, is precisely what makes your husband’s plan so wrong. He wouldn’t think of having his dear departed old Aunt Betty stuffed and mounted, forever to preside wanly over the living room from an eternal perch by the fireplace, and neither would it be right for him to subject old Duke to such postmortem maltreatment. The fact is, your husband just doesn’t want to let go, which is understandable. His remedy, though, is objectionably crude: “Oh, I’m going to miss Duke so much when he’s gone. Wait, there’s a taxidermy shop out on Saw Mill Road. Duke doesn’t have to go anywhere. I will love Duke forever.” This is most assuredly not what the old boy wants/wanted and hopefully your husband will understand this before it’s too late. The Texanist stands steadfastly with you in your opposition to having your adored pet suffer the indignity of an afterlife spent suspended in an everlasting “stay” position. And again, the Texanist is sorry for your loss. Or will be when it occurs.

Q: I am preparing to take a concealed handgun-license course. While my ultimate goal might be termed “civilian combat efficiency,” image is also of importance. What handgun should I carry from an image perspective? Firepower considerations point toward 9mm semiautomatics, traditionalism toward the venerable Colt M1911 .45-caliber automatic, and concealability toward small-caliber semiautomatics, but reliability and safety usually point toward revolvers. There are, of course, those most Texan of handguns, the large .44- and .45-caliber revolvers, but those are hard to conceal. Decisions, decisions. What does the Texanist think?
Name Withheld, Kerrville

A: Pardon the Texanist for asking, but are you at all concerned that your attempts to project a tough Texan image to your fellow citizens as you amble, spurs jangling, slowly down the middle of a dusty Kerrville street around the noon hour will be somewhat thwarted by the fact that your concealed handgun license allows you to carry only a weapon that, according to the law, is not “openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person”? Brandishing isn’t allowed either. No, not even a little brandishing. But perhaps the image you intend to project is as much a matter of inner confidence as it is outward display. So on to the shopping: the particular weapons that you have named with regard to firepower, traditionalism, concealability, reliability, and overkill are all aptly identified. It’s clear that you’ve done your homework. However, you need not spend one more sleepless night wrestling with these pesky choices. Though Texas state law prohibits you from unconcealing and openly displaying your concealed weapon, it does not limit the number of concealed weapons you may have upon your person at one time. The sky is apparently the limit. Just be careful and try not to shoot your foot off. Or anybody else’s, for that matter.

Q: As a seventh-generation Texan, I’m addicted to Tex-Mex food. I enjoy high-class places with their white cloth napkins and more-humble places, where I wipe grease from my lips by tearing off a white paper towel from the roll on the table. One place serves the freshest ingredients, and the other serves tacos so greasy the tortilla is practically transparent. I like both. So when non-Texans visit me and they’ve got time for only one place, where should I take them: places with white cloth napkins or places with white paper towels?
John Thomas, Dallas

A: Here in Texas we are blessed not only with an abundance of delicious Tex-Mex eateries but also with a vast range of varietals within this much-favored cuisine. The Texanist, like you, can go both highbrow and lowbrow; at times he has been known to run that gamut in a single day, gobbling up a “Regular Dinner” of browns and yellows at lunch and knocking down a colorfully clad pescado veracruzana with all the trimmings at dinner. He finds that his spot, like yours, is hit squarely by both and that, postprandially speaking, the level of satisfaction is wholly indistinguishable. In essence, you’ve asked the Texanist to help you out with a choice between manzanas y naranjas, when your out-of-state company will be duly impressed with either fruta. The other option is to have them stay over another day and enjoy both of your favorite haunts. Of course, meals like this are precisely why many non-Texans choose to have their stays indefinitely extended. Enjoy your meal, but please see that your guests make it back to their home state.

Q: On a scale from one to ten—one being totally unfazed and ten being really upset—where should a parent’s response fall when a son announces that he’d rather go hang out at the mall than go deer hunting with his dad? This has happened twice recently, and I find that I’m at about a two while my husband is somewhere in the eleven-to-twelve neighborhood. I say anything over five reflects poorly on him as a father, and he says I’m crazy. Who is right?
Name Withheld

A: Before the Texanist can issue a ruling in Mom v. Dad v. Son v. Deer, he must carefully weigh all the facts at hand. Unfortunately, your short note does not contain very many. Please answer the following questions so the Texanist may proceed: What was the weather like—cold and wet? How cold and wet? Is the deer blind heated? Does it have a food court? Is it infested with yellow jackets? How old is your son? Will there be girls from his class at the mall? Will there be girls in the deer blind? The Texanist will be happy to help once he has more information.


The Kryptonite-green nuggets found atop the famed DeLuxe Fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana are actually small pieces of dyed and glacéed pineapple. They are completely edible and will not harm you or your children. Happy holidays.