Happy Turkey Day

Forty years ago today, I became a vegetarian. The turkey fetish was a big part of what pushed me to finally follow my heart and forego the consumption of flesh. I also met a young woman that year who was a vegetarian. Before her, vegetarians were an exotic breed like albinos or Buddhists. She gave me a living example of something that had previously existed only in theory for me. 

For a few years after I gave up turkeys and chickens and cows and pigs, I still ate fish. Eventually, even fishy flesh became unappetizing. I’ve never missed eating meat. Once you stop seeing it as food it’s hard to imagine going back. I don’t miss crawling either.

I don’t know any vegetarians anymore. I know people who don’t eat veal or try to avoid red meat but it’s not the same thing. I know people who don’t wear fur but have no problem with leather.

Getting ready for the feast

When I think of the differences between the way people choose to live and their most fundamental beliefs, I think of my vegetarianism as an unpopular philosophy. Thanksgiving is a time for people get together with their families to share a grand feast. This year especially, with the election of Donald Trump as president, there are bound to be family gatherings made tense by deeply divergent philosophies on fundamental matters. That’s OK. The most important thing I’ve learned by being a vegetarian is: People don’t need to think the way I do for them to be good people.

Here’s Ray Davies, with Thanksgiving Day.

Are you going on Thanksgiving Day
To those family celebrations?
Passing on knowledge down through the years
At the gathering of generations
Every year it’s the same routine
All over, all over
Come on over, it’s the Thanksgiving Day
Papa looks over at the small gathering
Remembering days gone by
Smiles at the children as he watches them play
And wishes his wife was still by his side
She would always cook dinner on Thanksgiving Day
It’s all over, it’s all over, 
It’s all over the American way
But sometimes the children are so far away
And in a dark apartment on the wrong side of town
A lonely spinster prays
For a handsome lover and a passionate embrace
And kisses 
all over, all over, all over her American face
It’s all over, it’s all over, it’s all over
‘Cause today she feels so far away
From the friends in her hometown
So she runs for the Greyhound
She’ll spend hours on the bus
But she’ll reach town for Thanksgiving Day
Come on over, come on over
Come on over, it’s Thanksgiving Day
Come on over, come on over
Come on over, come on over
Come on over, it’s Thanksgiving Day
At a truck stop a man sits alone at the bar
Estranged in isolation
It’s been a while now and he seems so far
From those distant celebrations
He thinks back to all the mistakes that he made
To a time when he was so young and green
Innocent days when they both looked forward to that
Great American dream
Now it’s all over, it’s all over, all over
And all over America people are going home
On Thanksgiving Day
Now Papa looks out of the window
The sight brings a smile to his face
He sees all his children coming back home
Together on this special day
Come on over, come on over
Come on over, it’s Thanksgiving Day

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