Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The circle of life

Cliff was asked to be a pallbearer at his Uncle Phineas' funeral, which was held yesterday at the same place where we bade goodbye to his parents, his grandparents, and most of his other relatives who have died up to this point.  Now that it's getting close to our generation's turn, the funerals are likely to be spread more widely around the country.  I'll bet I've been to a couple of dozen funerals at Kidwell's over the years.  
Because it was a nice day with no rain forecast, Cliff and I rode to Versailles on the motorcycle.  It's a two-hour drive one way through picturesque Missouri countryside.  
Uncle Phin was eighty-nine years old, a World War II veteren; so he was buried with military honors. Quite impressive, as always, in its simplicity.  
Once the graveside goodbyes were said, Cliff's sister and I wondered if we could find their parents' graves.  I knew if the younger sister were with us, she could lead us right to the spot.  Versailles cemetery is a large one, and it was too hot a day to be searching out markers.  I was, however, fairly certain that Cliff's grandparents' grave wasn't far away, and we went looking for that.  

And there it was!

I remembered that Uncle George's grave was near their marker, and we soon located it, too.  Uncle George really liked me, which of course made him a favorite of mine.  He lived in a cabin in the woods where Cliff and I would occasionally visit him and spend a night, early in our marriage; it was pretty primitive:  Uncle George got his drinking water from an open spring, and although there was an outhouse on the place, it was filled up with junk and therefore not usable.  When nature called, there was nothing else to do but find a convenient tree behind which to hide.  Let's not talk about the ticks that thrived in the woods and hitch-hiked back to the cabin after such a mission.  
I once wrote a song about Uncle George and his cabin, long after he passed away.  

Speaking of the circle of life...
Remember when you, my readers, helped name this little fellow?
He goes to the butcher shop today to become grass-fed beef for our freezer.  He is one year old and outweighs his mother.  It's time.  He's had a wonderful life and given me lots of laughs with his antics.  His mom will get a few weeks of rest, and then deliver a little whiteface calf, good Lord willing.  I really, really hope for a heifer calf, as I always do.  But once the sperm has met the egg, there's no changing the outcome.  So it's just wait-and-see.  
I hesitated to mention Sir Loin's imminent demise, knowing how much complaining I've read online about what goes on at Pioneer Woman's ranch.  Folks, if you eat beef, you may very well have eaten a product that spent part of it's life on the Drummond ranch.  So get over it.  If you are going to eat meat, some animal has to die for you.  That's just life.  And before they die, those animals must be herded and branded and castrated and sorted and weaned.  All of which may seem cruel to sheltered city folks.  
I do not feel bad eating meat that comes from an animal that enjoyed life and was loved and laughed at while he was here.  


Marcia said...

Totally agree! I think your Bonnie must be due about the same time as my Molly.

small farm girl said...

I agree with you! Eat a steak for me. lol

Anonymous said...

Donna, You are telling the truth. It is easy for people who only shop in the grocery store for all their food to forget about where it comes from. Karen

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It's so true about that circle of life. It just keeps on going... Most of my remaining aunts and uncles are about the same as Cliffs uncle. Soon I'll be the older generation in my family. I already am the oldest of my immediate family. My cemetery plot already has my name right next to DDH. Just waiting for the date to be filled in. I grew up with my grandparents on a farm so I never thought much about the beef or chickens we ate. It was just a natural process. Like growing vegetables in a garden. We nurture them so we have food too.

Ms Martyr said...

I completely agree logically but I'm a city girl and probably would have made a pet out of Sir Loin. I eat meat and am not adverse to hunting; just haven't grown up with animals raised to eat. I'm sure I'd get over it.

Julia said...

Years ago my husband had an 11 yr old boy tell him all hunters were bad because they killed animals while his father stood behind him looking smug. David looked at the kid and asked if he ate hamburger, then proceeded to tell him where it came from. The father got upset but David told him just because you didn't kill it yourself doesn't make you better nor does it make you right. I've also had people rant against the fur business while horsing down roast beef. People I've found tend to be very subjective when it comes to that subject.