Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Wild and Free City Boy

Have I told you that I grew up on a farm?

We grew most of what we ate. Summers were spent weeding and harvesting. Our garden was large enough to provide a bounty of fresh vegetables during the warm months, and enough for my mom to preserve for the long, cold winters. We had cows for milking and cows for eating. We had chickens for laying and chickens for meat.

When you grow what you eat instead of shopping for it, you have absolutely no illusions about where your meat comes from. I used to watch my father turn a side of beef into roasts and hamburger; a pig could quickly become ham and bacon, and it didn’t bother my young sensibilities at all—for the most part.

I learned early to stop naming the animals. Once you’ve named something it’s terribly hard to eat it. Even though Dad swears Bossy and Bones were sent to auction (oh, right. They went to live on someone else’s farm in the country. Sure, Dad.) and not to our freezer, I don’t actually believe him. I’ve discovered he’s lied about several things related to food, but that’s a different story all together.

Eating our cows and pigs didn’t bother me too, too much. It’s just part of farm life. The chickens though, oh the chickens bothered me terribly. Maybe it was the fact that they’d dance after having their heads chopped off, or perhaps it was the putrid smell of hot water baths used to defeather the birds. What ever it was, the annual chicken slaughter warranted any excuse I could come up with for an absence. I’ve spent close to two decades trying to block the memory of dancing chickens.

Thankfully, it all seems so far removed from my urban, adult life. In fact when people from back home ask my parents about me, my mom has been known to say, “Tricia’s become such a city girl, she actually thinks her meat comes from the grocery store.”

So, Mom, this story is for you … if any of your friends ask about your grandson, you can tell them he’s definitely following in his mommy’s foot prints, and he’s already very much a city boy.

Sunday my four-year-old and I spotted turkeys walking along the road while we were driving. I slowed down and pointed out the three gobblers to Aaron who promptly asked if there was a farm near by.

“Not all turkeys live on a farm,” I said. “Some live in the wild.”

“They live wild and free?” he asked with a hint of wanderlust.

Later that evening while at the dinner table I prompted Aaron to share with his 24-year-old brother what we had seen.

“We saw turkeys, Shawn. They were wild and free.”

“Really. Do you know what we do with turkeys?”

Aaron hesitated just long enough for Shawn to come in for the kill, “We eat them.”

Rather than get upset, Aaron chuckled. In his most authoritative preschool voice he countered his older brother who obviously didn’t know what he was talking about, “Oh, Shawn! We don’t eat the real ones.”


If you’re looking for Thanksgiving recipes to help you plan the perfect meal, go check out Jan’s Sushi Bar. She’s posting a new recipe from her tried and true favorites every Thursday until Thanksgiving. Here are links to her first two delicious suggestions, and mark your calendar to head over there again this Thursday … well, just head over there every day. The recipes are a bonus.

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21 comments to Wild and Free City Boy

  • Jan

    Silly Shawn! You tell him, Aaron – those grocery store turkeys are entirely different from the ones you can see wandering around in the wild…they come from the Butterball plant. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    Thank you for the link love! I’m having fun posting my Thanksgiving recipes, and I’m going to do a bunch of holiday goodies afterward, through New Years. Then I’m going to go on a serious diet.

    Cranberry sauce this week! ;)

    Jans last blog post..Lookin’ for Love on All the Web Pages

  • I can attest that we definitely don’t eat the real ones. If we did, we’d not have a flock of 20-odd turkeys causing havoc throughout our neighborhood.

    Very cute.

    patoiss last blog post..Haiku: Gift

  • Amy

    You crack me up!!

    We have regular dinner conversations about where our food comes from — my thirteen year old loves to tell the youngers just where it came from! But I believe they need to know and then they have a choice to eat it or not!

    I will be checking out the recipe links you posted!

    Amys last blog post..Bloggy World Fun!

  • Nice! Kudos to Aaron! What an awesome answer, heheh.

    goodfathers last blog post..The Shed, Chapter 3

  • Meat comes from the grocery store. End of subject, do you understand?

    Hey, I’m turning 24 this week AGAIN!

    I’ll be giving out TWO prizes every day thru Friday to celebrate! Contests, prizes — fun, fun, fun!!

    Stop by & wish me a happy 24th!

  • donna

    ok you knew that I would respond to this. I think that Aaron and yourself can believe whatever you want. A lot of the population do believe that meat comes from the grocery store. I do not like the slaughtering of the animals either. But the meat that we grow ( and yes we still grow our own meat) does not have all the growth hormones in it. I know what I am eating is pure and good. We do not slaughter our own meat anymore nor do we cut it up ourselves.
    And yes we do send it to a reputable place to have it slaughtered.
    So for all of you that believe your food all comes from the grocery store that is OK. It is all in the choices that we make. Great post Tricia I always look forward to your reads. Brings back a lot of memories. However I do not can any more. I buy fresh.

  • A four year old and a twenty four year old? Girl, we have soooo much in common!!!! LOL

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..Taking Care Of Important Business

  • Tricia

    Jan: I hadn’t thought of the Butterball plant. That’s perfect. When Aaron does catch on, that should buy me some time. If you’re going to keep posting recipes well into the whole holiday season, I’m going to be really, really fat.

    Patois: Turkeys are destructive. We actually had a herd (or is it a flock) when I was a kid, and they tore all the trim off my mom’s car.

    Amy: Yea, you see, it’s the choice thing you mentioned. If I tell him we eat the real ones, I’m quite positive he’ll choose not to eat and I’ll have an even harder time getting him to consume ANYTHING.

    Goodfather: I like awesome.

    24: You’re 24 again. I’m starting to get a bit suspicious, but I do love a birthday party!!

    Mom: Um, remember when I was a little girl and I’d stick my fingers in my ears and yell “la la la la la” so I couldn’t hear you? Well, yea, I still do that.

    Midlife Slices: The 24-year-old is my step son. We’ve got five children in the family, with wild age ranges: 36, 35, 24, 21 & 4., Certainly makes for interesting dynamics.

  • That is just so cute! I tend to not tell the kids where meat comes from. But on the one occasion that I did, they looked disgusted a wouldn’t eat meat for a week!

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Test Day – Please stand by

  • So funny and very reminiscent of a realization my older son had when he was about four. While eating chicken one night, this look crossed his eyes, and he said “Hey! There’s two kinds of chicken in this world. There’s the kind we eat and then there’s the animal!” The chat which ensued was best left for after dinner. ;)

    Hilarys last blog post..Bridging Generations

  • I love the innocence of children!

    So, did you ever get the email I sent you ages ago? Just wondering. Email me, let me know.

    Wendys last blog post..Suspicious Eyes

  • donna

    Tricia they were geese that tore all the trim off my car not the turkeys. The turkeys how ever did get into my saab when I was unloading groceries once. and that is a flock not a herd. Are you sure that you grew up on a farm. I know this is your story “right”

  • Tricia

    WickedStepMom: Thank you! You proved my point exactly.

    Hilary: Ughh. I know there’ll come a day when my 4-year-old will start to ask and I suppose I’ll have to be honest too. I hope it isn’t AT the dinner table.

    Wendy: I wish we could hang onto that innocence, or bottle it. Thanks for resending the email, and for the nice message!

    Mom: They were geese? Well, whatever…they’re all birds, and listen here…if you really find it necessary to contradict me on my own blog, maybe you should start a blog of your own so I can return the favor. Aren’t you glad I’m 1,200 miles away, it’s so much more fun, don’t you think! XOXOX

  • My uncles are big into hunting and I remember when I was little and seeing all the deer hanging from trees in my Grandma’s back yard. To this day, I can’t eat venison. To. This. Day. Eesh.

    Sammanthias last blog post..Here We Go Again

  • My grandmother kept a few chickens. I remember having to go into the coop to get the eggs. Mmmmm, yea. Love the smell of chickens. I think I’ll take cows and pigs any time thank you.

    Lindas last blog post..Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival

  • I didn’t grow up on a farm but in a farming area. I never really gave it much thought either until I moved to Florida and have vegetarian neighbors. I loved this story. I’ve given you an award which you may pick up at my site. Congrats!

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..IT’S AN HONOR TO ACCEPT….

  • Tricia

    Sammanthia: The guys in my family were hunters too. I don’t know why it’s easier to eat something ugly like a chicken than it is to eat something beautiful like a doe-eyed dear. I can’t eat venison either.

    Linda: I did enjoy the fresh eggs, well until we had so many that we literally ate them for every meal for weeks.

    SmartMouthBroad: My sister rebelled for quite a while and went vegetarian. I could be a vegetarian, but my husband could never. Thank you so much for the award. I’m really honored!!!

  • your upbringing sounds almost exactly like mine…and when i was a kid, i did accept that eating the farm animals was ok…now, i’m a lot less comfortable with it…but becoming vegetarian is so much work…and i’m so lazy, i just don’t want to have to put that much energy into meal planning…which now that i’ve said it out loud sounds like the lamest excuse ever for not becoming a vegetarian…sorry all creatures great and small…yeesh….

    thistles last blog post..Spookies #3 and #4, plus a whole lot more…

  • I’ve only had trouble with my kids being upset about eating an animal when we had lamb once. I was dating a chef at the time, he made us lamb. My 7 year old has a stuffed lamb that has been her lovey her whole life. Needless to say, she wouldnt eat dinner that night

    stepping over the junks last blog post..Prices

  • [...] I write makes her cry, and other times I make her laugh. She got such a little chuckle out of a post last week about my son being a “city boy” and not knowing that meat doesn’t really come [...]

  • I definitely grew up like Aaron – even when we lived in the country 30 miles outside of Anderson, SC, the only place I knew that food came from was the Bi-Lo store. I don’t really want to think about how it gets there, as long as it does and it’s safe! Ignorance is bliss, and so is a hamburger!

    Dougs last blog post..The Circuits Come Home To Roost

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