Sunday, January 4, 2009

People for the Ethical Treatment of Riflemen

We should have known better. Our families and friends warned us. “A mixed marriage?” they worried. “Are you sure? What about the children?”

To some extent, they were right. It’s not easy to raise children in a home with parents of mixed backgrounds. It’s a tough, bitter truth that I chose to deny when wedding Mr. Wright.

I hear that it’s tough for couples of different races, too, but that’s their story to tell, not mine.

My story is about the radically different couple who chose to wed, blend their children into a frothy marriage margarita, and become perhaps the only family in America to be card-carrying members of both PETA and the NRA.

It’s an old story, I suppose (stop me if you’ve heard this one)… Liberal vegan girl, single mother of vegetarian son, meets conservative hunter guy, single father of four little barbarian omnivorous children who cut their teeth on wild boar marrow.

Ah, sweet destiny!

In my defense, I didn’t know Mr. Wright was a hunter when I fell in love with him. I just knew he was damned cute. When he invited me to his uncle’s cabin, conveniently located at the end of the known universe, I thought he wanted to show me off to his family. Flattering, right?

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the Washington equivalent of the Randy Weaver compound. Good old Uncle Wright and his family raised their own food, drilled their own water, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and, I suspected, a bomb shelter stocked to the rafters with Auntie’s canned preserves. No neighbors within forty or so miles.

A shining example of the Second and Fourth Amendments in action.

Mr. Wright Puppy (the story behind the name comes later – I use it now to differentiate him from Uncle Wright, because it is particularly important for this sentence) and I spent the night cuddled together on the couch, small and compact, as only the newly in love can be.

In the morning, he was gone. I tried to make small talk with Auntie, who informed me that the boys had gone “over the ridge” to see if they could spot a herd of deer that Unc had been tracking. How sweet, I thought. Out communing with nature, surveying the local wildlife. An animal lover!

The rumble of a truck and a cloud of dust alerted me to the return of my beloved, and I peered out the window to drink in his beautiful, rugged… blood-smeared body as he… hauled an enormous dead deer out of the back of the rig… with a… what was that? A knife?!

As a young waitress, I served plenty of steaks, but I never actually saw the process that brought the sacrificial animal to the plate. Now, here it was, in all its sweaty, bloody glory – and my sweetheart was the Captain of Carnage! I couldn’t stand it. Something had to be done, something that would shock him out of his testosterone-induced madness…

I opened the door. Unc was opining, “This sucker’s a record kill, for sure…” I knew I had to act fast when I saw the satisfied, caveman look in my honey’s eyes. No longer the cutie of my dreams, he was beginning to resemble some Cro-Magnon nightmare…

“Oh, Puppy!” I gushed. “I’m so glad you’re back! I woke up and you were gone…” Pout. Batted eyelashes. Googly-eyed sappiness.

I am pleased to report that the impromptu nickname served its purpose. Unc and Cousin burst out laughing, Puppy blushed, and the thrill was immediately sucked from the kill. It’s hard to maintain a dignified level of machismo when you are being called “Puppy.” Unc was right about it being a record, though. It was the largest buck taken in the state in 2000. Puppy had the head mounted after processing the meat and selling the hide to a local tanner… and, as of June 30, 2004, “Buck” wears my wedding veil. Call it a small protest on my part, but many of the bragging rights are stripped away when visitors laugh at the trophy on sight.

The result of our mixed marriage is that my vegetarian son is now a certified omnivore, the two babies we are adopting are (mostly) vegetarian, my four step-kids have learned to use the term “fake-o steak-o” (introduced to them by an absentee bio-mom, who protests any aspect of my life on principle) only behind my back, and our oldest daughter is planning to pursue a career in veterinary medicine when she graduates high school this year.

She heads up anti-fur campaigns between cheeseburgers with friends…

this brings us to the political aspect of our family dynamic (and the primary reason that Gonzo Parenting takes an apolitical position). In 1992, I was a 17-year old freshman in college and seriously bummed that I wasn’t old enough to help vote Clinton into office. Puppy was a conservative young professional and audiophile who respected only one Clinton – George.

While he’s become a little more liberal, and I’ve become a little more conservative, our children have been learning to develop their own ideas. They hear our often-conflicting points of view on things that matter, go with us to the Washington state capitol and Washington, D.C. to talk with legislators, and have perhaps worked on more political campaigns than James Carville.

Speaking of James, Puppy and I had the opportunity to hear him and his wife, Mary Matlin, speak in D.C. a couple of years ago. In regard to their vastly differing political views, they said something to the effect of: we don’t talk politics at the dinner table.

That’s great advice, but I didn’t get a chance to ask if that dinner table was vegan or omnivore…

1 comment:

  1. Write on, Christina-Marie. Keep up the real life stories from your "pureed" family. Helps me feel better about my own family's idiosyncrasies!