I enjoyed lunch with the ladies today at Anthony’s seafood restaurant in Bremerton. My girlfriend, Angela, arranged a Christmas luncheon amongst some women artists in our area. It was great fun.
Angela had me explain my project to the ladies, and it was really the first time I tried to explain out-loud just what it was I hoped to accomplish this year. Ladies ranged from 70 to 40, so it was an interesting group to pitch the idea of a One Woman Killing Spree. To my surprise, the group was rather supportive. Several ladies seemed familiar with the perils of industrial food.
I didn’t get up on my soap box too much, because nobody wants a lecture on the sickly conditions of our poultry houses while choking down chicken strips. And I didn’t want to point out the issues behind farm-raised salmon while our hostess dug into her $20 salmon lunch salad. Sometimes the soapbox and oversharing makes you unpopular. It’s all about balance, I guess.
The women asked many intelligent questions, one was about whether I could actually shoot and eat deer. It surprises me that folks see deer as magical creatures yet have no problem with the idea of slaughtering pigs, sheep, cows, goats, chickens, and the like. I love all animals, especially the domestics that I grew up with as a kid. And while deer are graceful and fun to watch, I’ve never seen them as magical. Unicorns are magical. Deer are a part of nature. Nature is nature, not magic.
I tried to defend the equality of animals in relations to the BBQ to the plate, and how no one animal was more “magical” than the next when it came to dinner time. Deer eat my roses and my hydrangeas, not to mention the carnage they committed on 15 fruit trees I planted 3 years ago. I see nothing magical about that.
Talking about the deer reminded me of something I did as a teenager, that I’m pretty ashamed of. While I was an exchange student in Australia, my mom sent me a picture of her holding up the antlers of a four-point buck. In the photo, Mom wore a red bandana around her head that covered her waist-length dark hair. She was covered in blood up to her elbows. Blood stained her left cheek down to her jaw. At sixteen years old, I was appalled at the photo. I was so concerned my nosy host-mother would see the picture of my real mom and pass judgment on me and my family in America.
I tore the photo in little tiny shreds and burnt it in an ashtray in my bedroom. Now I wish I had that picture. Mom sent the picture some 30 years ago. She would have been a several years younger than I am now. I’d love to see that victorious look and outdoorsy vigor she must have sported after shooting and gutting that buck. But at sixteen, I was too stupid and vain to realize just how cool my mother really was.
I never wanted to learn how to hunt from my folks. My hunting career ended when I was about eight years old. Mom drew her rifle up on a deer and I screamed, “Run Bambi, run.” My outburst earned me week-long stays with Granny while my parents and siblings hunted without me.
So, it is an odd thing to revisit this old memory. I wonder if it is too late. Is it too late to ask Mom to take me hunting? Is it too late to celebrate her wild side? I hope not. I’m going to have a long talk over a nice bottle of Riesling with her this weekend. I think my mom would make a fine mentor.