Sunday, April 11, 2010
While lingering at my dad's tonight, he broached a subject to me that I was surprised to hear him voice. Strangely, it felt like progress...
The main course this evening was hamburgers and hot dogs, personally barbecued by Dad himself. They were not vegan. But I was aware of what was going to be served, so knowing I'd likely be the only vegan present, I brought along my own animal-free patties. This way I could easily blend in with the festivities and not compromise my compassion. (Not that I wanted a cow burger anyway--that gets a friendly "no thanks"...) Well, I blended in so well that many family members, including my step-mom, Marie, thought I was actually biting into a regular old burger! Knowing me, she nearly stopped in her tracks when she saw what she thought was on my plate! Smilingly, I reassured those concerned parties that it was only a veggie burger, and as such, was no cause for alarm. We all had a good laugh about it. :)
But later on, during a conversation, my father randomly piped up,
"There's something I doesn't understand about vegans--why is it that you eat foods that resemble meat but aren't really meat? Why not just eat whole foods as they are? Why do you try to disguise other foods as meat?"
Well, his question quite surprised me! But in a good way! I was honored that he would even feel comfortable to voice his query to me; to trust that I wouldn't go off on some long tangent, and for lack of a better phrase, throw-up a bunch of unwanted information on him. We see each other fairly regularly, and this is the first time I can recall that Dad's asked me anything about my being vegan in all the four years I've lived this lifestyle! I'm loathe to read too much into this, but it felt like a breakthrough! Like a vegan dialogue of sorts had been opened! It was like the elephant in the room had finally been acknowledged in some small way! How liberating!
I gave him a brief reply. Feeling caught a bit off guard by such a question from my meat-and-potatoes father, I shared the first and foremost explanation I could think of. It could have been better--it could have been worse. Still, it was from my heart. I replied,
"When everybody is enjoying a certain traditional meal, it's nice to be able to join in with them, but still hold to one's personal values."...
I said something like that. I could have given any number of good answers but that was the one that was really resonating with me at the moment.
There's honestly nothing more to the tale, other than that Dad mentioned that while he was at Costco the other day, he tried a sample of vegetarian meatballs and thought they tasted horrible, to which the only response I could really give was, "Oh. I'm sorry."... My dad. I do love him though. :)
Maybe next time he sees me, he'll have a new question to ask me about vegans or vegan food? That would be cool! Let's keep this dialogue going, that's what I say! Dare I even hope? It may be the tiniest of baby steps, but to my mind, it's a step forward nonetheless.