Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Death in the back of a pickup truck

My girls are very aware that my F-i-L (their grandpappy) likes to hunt for deer, turkey, duck and fish (okay, technically he doesn't "hunt" for fish, but I don't see why we "hunt" for other animals but not the swimming kind...wait, we do hunt for sharks and they swim, oh it's all so confusing).

But I digress. He likes to hunt and likes to cook and eat what he kills.

And the girls seem okay with it.

Perhaps they are still to young to have explored whatever ethical, anthropological and psychological stigmas that may exist regarding the practice of stalking and killing a wild beast for sport and nourishment.

Or it could be that their surrounding environment actually encourages the practice to the point of it being the norm.

Maybe they just like to listen to their grandpa tell hunting stories.

And even though as litt'uns they were as freaked out as I was by the bevy of stuffed wildlife that populate the den walls at my in-laws lake house, neither of them seem disturbed by the fact that the now stuffed creatures hanging up and out in their grandparents vacation home were once living, breathing creatures.

What could have been a pivotal moment in their lives occurred the other day as my F-i-L and B-i-L pulled into our driveway on their way home from a recent hunt and the girls caught a glimpse of a furried hoof sticking out from their pickup's tailgate.

It was a mature doe that my B-i-L shot for the meat, signaling the near future arrival of low calorie low cholesterol low fat venison steaks, sausage, and jerky (deer meat is too lean for a good burger) to our table. Neither him, nor my F-i-L spotted a buck they wanted to take. They are responsible and discriminate hunters and since both have bagged large "8-pointers" in the past they are only interested in bigger bucks with larger racks.

Nope, this doe was strictly for the consumption.

I watched with care and concern as my two girls took in the dead deer. My B-i-L was mindful to cover up the incision where he had field dressed the animal, so they only really saw the unmolested carcass.

At this point I could only spot innocent curiosity creep across their exploring faces. Nothing more or deeper emerged from their initial examination as they touched the soft fur, poked at the hooves, and ran their fingers along the snout.

Other than that, no CSI examination techniques were employed, or comments made other than a few emoted "ewwws" and quietly uttered "eees."

As I was looking forward to a deeper discussion on the dead deer with my 9-year old later that night during our bedtime tuck-in ritual, it was my 5-year old who surprised me with her unique grasp of the situation when she told me later that day..."Daddy, I asked Uncle S if I could have two of the feet of the deer to keep since the deer wouldn't need it [sic] anymore and he said okay..."Naturally, I asked her why she wanted to have the deer feet."To make the clip clop sound when I sing the sleigh ride song..."Apparently audio effects authenticity are important for my 5-year old. Hmmm, should I be worried about this kid?

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you...


Patience said...

Nope! You shouldn't be worried about this kid! He knows that these feet would make the perfect clip-clop sound!!

redforkhippie said...

When I was about 8 or 9, my grandpa raised meat rabbits and let me have one to keep as a pet. Mom made me pay Grandpa for the rabbit feed so I'd learn about responsibility and all that. As the bunny grew, it became increasingly expensive to feed and decreasingly interesting to play with, so we worked out a deal wherein I could trade a full-grown rabbit back to Grandpa for a new bunny each time a new litter was weaned. I was well aware that full-grown rabbits are capable of pure, unadulterated evil, so I felt absolutely no remorse about the fact that my rabbits were being butchered upon their return to Grandpa's house. Grandpa took great pains to make sure I had not actually raised any of the dressed rabbits he sent home to stock our freezer. Mom was a little concerned when I said, "But Mom, my bunny will be tender. I fed him clover."