Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2021 >Daily Dispatch #325

November 24, 2021: Giving Thanks, Year around

I don’t know why people in this country take one particular day of the year to express their gratitude for all they have. And I don’t know why millions of turkeys pay the price. This seems to me to be downright barbaric. Sad to say, few I know share my sentiments. It must be that once the bird is cooked it’s no longer cooked; rather, it is then meat. And humans are first and foremost vegetarians.

I became a vegetarian at age 14. I don’t even remember why. It must have at least been the then trendy thing to do. I went to a school where many majored in Agriculture – and so many of my classmates were heavy-duty meat eaters, and proud of it.

Ranger and Rover

In my first semester, I learned what veal is and how it’s produced. This was enough to affirm my growing conviction that the livestock and poultry businesses were cruel and cutthroat.

I never looked back. I have never hungered for meat. And now, the smell of, say, seared flesh on a grill, makes me feel nauseous.

I never have attempted to push my beliefs on anyone. Pete decided when we first got together thirty years ago, to be what he then called a “social carnivore,” which means that he ate meat outside the home. He still does. He’s the head cook here, and he has never brought dead animals of any kind into the house. I suspect now that if I wasn’t around, he would be eating meat at home. Most recently when a friend asked him about his meat preferences he said, “I’m a meat eater.” “Oh,” I thought, to each meat his own.

Me, I could not, after tending to chickens and goats, eat them. I remember when we brought Ranger and Rover home. I named them such because, as I said, they were going far in life. I was going to keep them for a few months and then pass them on to our neighbor Kirby, who’d then butcher them. I knew that my having named them would make this a difficult proposition. Ahh, but what I discovered was that it wasn’t the naming that endeared them to me. It was the fact that they came running in my direction when I called their names.

I’d like to think that Kirby was secretly relieved when I told him that I was keeping both Ranger and Rover. Hard to say, though, if he has as big a heart as I do.

Rover died a few years back. He was heavily eulogized, in town. I wrote a series of poems entitled Greatest of All Time, and a local artist painted pictures. I still have the poems. I’d like to put together a chap book.

The chickens – they jump on my arm when it’s cold and it’s time to go into the upper roost. I have been most worried about them the past few weeks – their roost is not heated. Thelma’s and Louis’s egg laying days are about over. I feel good about letting them live out their years here at Squalor Holler.

Maybe, instead of being thankful that we have turkey on our plates, we should instead let the turkeys be, and give them some of the other food on our plate.

Next: 326. 11/25/21: Cold Weather is Okay

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles