Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson: No good deed...

For our 18th wedding anniversary, I decided to surprise my wife. I told her I was a really a woman.

Ha! Of course, I’m kidding. She already knew that. No, I mean a surprise gift.

Some gifts are easy to sneak in the house. A ring. Flowers. Spam. But others, such as a farmhouse-style dining room table she had her eye on at a home furnishings store, aren’t so easy.

This table appeared to be made of wood, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually granite that looks like wood. It weighs more than my Uncle Joe after a trip to the gutbuster buffet.

So, as is often the case with Uncle Joe, I needed help sneaking it into the house. I called on my dad, who retired from his job as a safety guru a few years ago to become Mr. Douglas from “Green Acres.” He now spends much of his time on his farm, where he bops around on an old tractor and works hours upon hours so he can complain about deer eating his crops.

Of course, on the one morning I had a chance to sneak in the 18-ton table, it rained. It didn’t rain cats and dogs — it rained elephants and hippopotamuses. Fortunately, my little SUV made it down the muddy dirt road to Dad’s cabin intact. Little did I know the adventure was just beginning.

Perhaps because he feeds them so well, the area around the cabin is a deer haven. You practically have to wade through them until deer season, when they hide from hunters, yet walk out in front of speeding cars.

So Dad has built himself a deer stand adjacent to the big field. He doesn’t do anything small, so it’s the Trump Tower of deer stands, though I’m surprised he went with oldfashioned stairs instead of an escalator.

Anyway, he’s proud of his deer stand, so he insisted upon driving me by it before picking up the table. It was quite the sight. I think you can see 11 states from the top floor.

And I got to see it a lot because we spent the next hour stuck in the mud outside it. It was the first time I’d been stuck in the mud since my cousin Keith and I went mud-bogging at the bottom of a bauxite mine in college and had to get a fella we call Freight Train to tow us out.

After fighting in vain to get out of the muddy trenches, Dad rolled up his pants, took off his shoes and marched through the mud and rain to get his Mr. Douglas tractor to tow us out.

He was a frustrated man, disgusted with himself and actually cussed, one of the only times I’ve ever heard him do such a thing. Thank God he couldn’t hear me laughing from the cab of the truck.

We did manage to finally get the table. Unfortunately, I missed my wife’s scream when she saw it — as well as the scream when she saw my muddy clothes on the laundry room floor.

I guess this is why you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day.