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On Individuals and Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I was on my way to the Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, which has a "store" and allows those parents to "shop" for clothing, toys and baby gear at no cost to them. Basically, they give stuff away, unlike Goodwill and the Salvation Army and others, who charge for their donated goods.

Everyone was slamming on their brakes on a major road and as I crept around the mayhem I saw the reason: a turtle of some kind. His shell was probably ten inches in diameter, and when I looked in my rearview mirror as I was about to pull over I saw several other cars pulling over. Four people emerged from the cars and were practically tripping over one another trying to get to the turtle to carry him to safety.

One small act of kindness perhaps, but for the turtle a life-saving one.

I wondered what these people would be doing for Thanksgiving. All of the brakes and the hazard lights and the cursing and the near collisions and the concern for this one individual. The inconvenience, the worry about the creature, the relief when he was, at least for that moment, free from harm. I couldn't help but juxtapose all of that care for one individual of another species with the individual who would be on the table today. Dead.

And not just dead, mind you, but cause for celebration.

Yet the turtle . . . cause for concern about his welfare. Concern about his life. Kindness. A hope for his life to continue. Even putting yourself in harm's way to help him.

Turtle . . . turkey.



6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you Mary… beautifully put. Your line: "And not just dead, mind you, but cause for celebration." is exactly why I boycott most celebrations today. When the focus of the day is around a carcass who "lived" to serve the diners at the table out of some illogically cruel tradition I just have to say no.

    November 25, 2010
  2. I'm a devoted reader for years… This has got to be one of my favorite posts! Well done Mary… You hit this one out of the park!

    Thanks for all you do to create a just and compassionate world… Happy ThanksLiving Day <3

    November 25, 2010
  3. Disconnect. Disconnect. And disconnect again. We humans are very good at it … (Fortunately there was some connect for the turtle.)

    November 27, 2010
  4. John N #

    Another clear example of carnism. I've made it a point to visit my family the day after the "celebration."

    November 29, 2010
  5. Mike Grieco #

    On Victims and "Christmas"…and even more killings!
    Let's stuff our face with turkey and/or the flesh of other creatures in this time of "celebration".


    December 25, 2010
  6. Emma #

    4 years ago I was visiting my brother who lives north of Rockwall, Texas (in northeast Texas). A huge turtoise (his shell was about 2 feet long) was standing in the road. I stopped my rental car, and wondered what to do. We were above a culvert, on a narrow farm-to-market road with 4 inch shoulders and then a drop off.

    Several cars sped by, screaming obscenities at me and barely missing me. I finally just parked across the road and put the flashers on to stop traffic. It did, but it also engendered a lot of very creative cussing. Thank goodness no one pulled out a gun. (There's a reason I moved away from Texas even though I'm a 5th generation native)

    I finally decided I had to get the turtoise off the road. I could not pick him or her up–way too heavy even though I lift weights.

    Not knowing what else to do, I started pushing on my new friend Turtoise and got him or her off the road. I pushed in the direction the turtoise was pointed.

    I only had to go a bit further before I saw a driveway so I could pull off the road. I went back to watch and make sure that I had "helped" him or her go the direction he or she wanted. I will never know if I pushed the turtoise in the right direction, but the turtoise kept walking until he or she reached the water flowing through the culvert under the road. The tortoise then took a long drink and lumbered off into the grass.

    I arrived at my brother's and explained why I was late. He and his wife looked, well, there's no other way to explain it except they kept very straight faces and didn't say anything.

    January 14, 2012

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