Monday, June 30, 2014

Déjà Vu

Twenty years ago this month I traveled this road. Literally. Route 404 on Maryland’s eastern shore. I rolled slowly behind a truck hauling crates overflowing with chickens on their way to the slaughterhouse. I stopped eating meat that day.

Today, on the long drive home from a weekend away in upstate New York, I found myself on Rte 404. In the passenger seat this time, napping, I awoke just in time to see this.

I asked Ed to pull alongside so I could snap photos. This is what I saw. 

It was just as gruesome as the first encounter, except this time I could see their faces. 

Twenty years is a long time to do — or not do — anything. Three meals a day x 365 days x 20 years is 21,900 deliberate acts of kindness.

But even one day a week of meat-free meals can make a big difference to your health and the health of our planet. And the lives of animals.

According to Meatless Mondays, “Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.”

There are lots of resources if you wish to explore further. For the newbie, blogger Courtney Carver posted this guest piece, penned by Minimalist Adventures. For the foodie, check out cookbook author Mark Bittman's take on flexing into veggie meals.

Ultimately, your actions speak volumes. Consider the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Food for thought.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day

This first year since my Father’s death is punctuated with milestones ... birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Today is one of those holidays, the American celebration of fathers. I observe it with no phone call or bear hug, but with a years-old Hallmark card.

My siblings and I earlier this year sifted through my Dad’s stuff. My Father lived in the homestead he built for us decades ago, kept relatively clutter-free by disposing of ephemera regularly. 

Not much of a sentimentalist, my Pop rarely hung onto our mutual memorabilia except for photos of his wife and my beloved Mother, their six children and respective partners, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandkids. 

On the tall bookcase in between the dining and living rooms, and tucked behind a slender statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I spied a slim stack of dog-eared greeting cards. 

I slid them off the top shelf to inspect. Of the dozen or so cards he kept, five were from me: a postcard, two birthday, and two father’s day. Including this one:  

It’s touching to imagine him deliberately saving these sentiments. I wonder whether he pulled them from their perch and thought of me, thinking of him? 

Now, here I sit hundreds of miles away and months after his transition, thinking of him, thinking of me. 
June 15, 2014
Happy Father’s Day, Pop! 
You are a remarkable force of nature who taught me to see the beauty that surrounds, the meaning of commitment and hard work, and the value of unconditional love. I am grateful.
I miss you. I love you.