It’s quite easy to picture, really…
I live in a part of the country that has been voted by various adjudicators (The Today Show, National Geographic, etc, etc,) as one of the most beautiful places in the nation. Thus, it started out as a place peopled by rugged, manly, reticent, individualistic pioneers– who were, in their turn, replaced by middle-class vacationers, who were themselves replaced by aloof trust-funders with third- and fourth-homes; and who must now, here in the early morning of the 21st century, be waited upon hand and foot by all manner of minimum-wage artistes, street-buskers, and perpetual students. Beautiful places attract the Beautiful People.
But, our neck of the woods is also clogged in the summertime with the masses of work-a-day tourists– along with the aforementioned Trust Fund Gentry, and all of it’s low-rent hangers on. But, in the off-season, the “shoulder seasons”, the “mud months“, when the tourists all go back home, the ultra-rich and their support staff are left alone to socialize with one another, and a polite caste system has developed. The poor artists create “whimsical” art which the trust-funders obligingly purchase to brighten one of the guest powder-rooms. The heiresses simply adores the tabulee the local shaman’s girlfriend makes, and orders a pint via FedEx for her winter digs in Lahaina.
This arrangement, while highly successful in it’s own, uniquely American way, does have it’s moments of high comedy.
Except, recently, the humor is lost… The funny ain’t so funny any more.
One of the local Gentry is an avid big-game (small-game, medium-game, whatever, really) hunter. For the nonce, I will call him “Hunter”. I’m not quite sure how the man —Hunter— has come by the money which allows him to travel the world and hunt. I know he’d dabbled in real estate with a modicum of success, but I can’t see where that’s allowed him the life of leisure he seems to enjoy. No matter– he’s a wonderfully nice man, barrel-chested, the very definition of “hearty”. He’s also quite conservative, but, he’s the type of gentleman who would stop his Bentley on the way to the symphony if he saw you along the road with a flat, and he’d ruin his $8,000 Hugo Boss suit helping fix your tire.
Did I mention he likes to hunt?
He also is friends with everyone. He buys the whimsical art, he uses the local salad-dressings, and so on. In particular, he was (“was“) a devotee of a certain local hummus, made with pesto and garlic, or some such (I have a problem with garbanzos, so I stay away from hummus). My barrel-chested friend loved this hummus, talked it up, encouraged the local gal who makes it to seek a distributor, and sell it beyond the doors of her little Organic Coffee & Sandwich Shop. He even offered to set up some meetings for her with some folks he knew in the food distribution biz…
Of course, the Hummus Queen is a strict vegan. Of course. Her shop smells of damp wood floors and curry and patchouli oil and a thousand pungent green teas. She’s a sweetheart with the frail air of a very-aging Emmylou Harris.
Did I mention she is a vegan?
And this is where the slow-motion collision begins…
Every early March, Hunter is a mover and shaker behind a local hunt-club’s Sportsman’s Banquet, where all the of the local bowhunters and duck-blind inhabitants gather to share manly good-fellowship, and raise money for this charity, or that free clinic. They tell me the food is superb. I’m not a hunter (I thank the Good Lord for farmers and ranchers and butchers, because I love meat, but I can barely scale my own fish), but I love a well-prepared wild-game meal. The Sportsman’s Banquet has been a yearly ritual for generations, it is the “go to” event of the Snowbird Season.
Hunter wanted to bring some of his favorite hummus, so he ordered up a big jug of it (a gallon or more, I expect). At first, the Hummus Queen was more than eager to supply her prized recipe for the event –after all, it was for charity– and she took the special order. She’d have to make up a special batch, for that many guests.
But, a day or two went by before Hunter came to pick up his hummus. The Queen fretted (as hippie-dippy vegans often are wont to do) for while, and finally gave Hunter a call:
She was, she said, so honored that Hunter thought of her and her hummus for the Sportsman Banquet– but, she just couldn’t sell the product to Hunter because it was going to be served at a place that glorified the taking of innocent Animal Life.
Hunter, of course, was stunned at first. Had he offended his friend, the Hummus Queen? No, no, she said: Her “moral compass” wouldn’t allow the sale. Hunter was a bit sad (he and the Queen, were, after all, good friends, despite the yawning valley of culture between them), and was downcast in his friendly way.
But, he go over it. As I said, he was a gentleman. And he brought a friend’s homegrown Corn Relish, instead.
Funny. He didn’t run to the ACLU and sue the Hummus Queen to force her to sell Hunter some pesto hummus.
Actually, it isn’t funny. Not anymore…