In my first year of college, an English Composition assignment was to tell about a personal experience. I wrote about the events leading up to the day I quit eating animals one year earlier. On December 31, 2012, I quit eating eggs and milk, but that’s another story. Here’s my composition:
“Not in a sandwich”
I don’t eat meat. I used to, but there were several things leading up to the day I “officially” quit.
For instance, when I was a little girl, my grandpa used to fish. I remember very clearly one time when he and I were in the shed, and he was getting a big bullhead ready to be fixed for dinner. He cut off the tail, put his arm through to the mouth, and made it talk to me. That evening, I could not possibly eat that fish with whom I had made friends.
Another time, some friends of my mother went to Maine for a vacation, and sent a barrel of Maine lobster back to the neighborhood. My brother and I came home from school while our mother was still at work, and found a shopping bag on the kitchen table with two lobsters in it. We didn’t know what they were there for, so we just did the natural thing and played with them, and watched as they had races on the floor. When our mother finally came home, she put some water in a big pot and put it on the stove. When it was boiling, we found out what she was going to do, and we fought for our friends lives. But, we lost. They were plunged into the boiling water. They looked sadly upward with their claws reaching out to us, and my brother and I could hear them crying “Help me. Help me!” We looked on helplessly, knowing that there was nothing we could do. In any event, we knew that there was no way that anybody could make us eat our deceased friends.
Besides these personal relationships with future meals, I had many thoughts on the subject of eating animals. I knew that if I ever had an occasion to feast upon a bunny rabbit or a deer, or a duck, or a lamb, I couldn’t. They were just too cute. Aside from that, they were living beings, and that became more and more important to me. I began thinking that if I ate a cow, I might as well barbecue my cat, or my brother for that matter.
Finally, on March 4th 1972, a friend and I were at the beach. It was too cold to go swimming, so we watched the fish as we walked on the docks. They were so graceful, all changing directions at the same time…. Later, it was time to have some lunch. While we were in the restaurant waiting to order, I sat by the window and could see some fish jumping now and then out of the water. When we got the menu, I looked down at it and read “Fish”, looked out the window and saw fish, looked back at the menu, and ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Right then at that moment, I vowed that never again would I eat the flesh of dead animals. It felt good to have made that decision.
I feel close to animals. I love animals, but not in a sandwich.