Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Kindness

I have always joked that I rely on the strangeness of kind people as opposed to the kindness of strangers. Having lived a somewhat bohemian life, there probably is a bit of truth to the former as well as the latter. It sounds and is goofy. But sometimes I think I need to be goofy. Otherwise I take everything way too seriously and the realization that I cannot change a lot of things in this world  is frustrating. One of the aims of this blog is to not be preachy. We want to have fun. We want to cook some wonderful meals and share them with you. We want to demonstrate how easy it is to eat vegan once a week. We want to grow, to create and to share. Tonight I will walk up to the “preachy” line. I hope you will bear with me.

Sometimes in life, perfect strangers appear out of nowhere and show you incredible kindness. One of the authors of this blog helped me get my business started. She offered encouragement and advice when I was full of fear and self doubt.She tells me to get over myself when I am whining. She gives me a good swift kick(via telephone) when I need it most. Another of the authors has been giving me classes in writing. She has taught me a lot. And, the lessons wind up being more than just about writing. They are also lessons about life, about myself, about kindness. I have never met either of these remarkable women.And yet, they are kind to me. I love them dearly and I have never met them.

 Here is where the preachy part comes in. I live in Northwest Arkansas, the chicken belt. This is the area where a majority of the chickens in this country are raised for slaughter. Chicken houses are thick on the ground. Drive by one and the smell is an sinus opener. The major companies that sell chicken are just north of here. Chicken is big business.I never really thought much about where chicken came from until I started coming up here about six years ago. Having grown up on and around farms, I knew where chicken came from and even how to hold the hatchet and pull the feathers. I made a mean veloute. But I didn't really know anything about factory farming.

Four years ago, I read an article in Gourmet Magazine by Daniel Zwerdling entitled “A View to a Kill”. It was a real eye opener to me. I provide the link here but not the details. You can click on the link if you are interested. The article is disturbing but there are no visuals. You won't see Bambi's mother getting killed by the hunter(I still have not gotten over that).I think you should read it. That was the game changer for me. Since then, I have not eaten meat. I do consume dairy products and am lucky enough, here in my little corner of paradise, to know where they come from and how the animals are treated. Once a week, I eat vegan exclusively. Other times I eat some vegan dishes that are vegan by design. They just have no animal products. Not too hard. Having a three bean salad at your picnic? Vegan. Easy. Other days, for me, it is vegetarian.

But that is about me and my reasons. It is not about you. And, I have no wish to tell you what to do or how to live your life. Mine is keeping me plenty busy. But for me, kindness matters. It is a quality I cherish. It is a gift I receive with gratitude and one that I hope to pass along. I hope that kindness figures into your life too.

There. That is as preachy as I get.

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