Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Pig Will Die or The Loss of Innocence #1

WARNING: If you are weak at heart or an animal rights activist you may be seriously bothered and otherwise affected by the following post. Read at your own risk. No names or other changes have been made to protect the innocent. any reader of my blog knows I love my mother with all my heart. This is in no way a condemnation of parenting, but rather a celebration of the loss of innocence and how it can come in unexpected bits and pieces along life's journey. ;o)

Location: Some small seemingly insignificant pueblo in Mexico.

Year: Somewhere between 4th and 7th grade. I'd like to think closer to 4th.

My ma asked me if I wanted to stay or go with her and Dona I-Can't-Remember-Which-Dona so we will call her who I know her to be - Dona Lolita's Grandma. I said with precision (a decision I will regret for some time), "Stay." So I watched as Dona Lolita's Grandma and my own ma disappeared in the rear view mirror into the pueblo in search of I believe some kind of rare chocolate.

A few minutes passed in which I watched in the rear view mirror the lazy happenings in this tiny village - quite satisfied (maybe even smug) with my smart decision to "stay." Men and women walking, children running, someone talking loudly, Mexican sun shining. Lots of colorful pretty tienditas with wide open passageways in place of actual doors.

Then I heard the unmistakable noise. A high pitched scream which I initially thought was a child being horribly disciplined? I jerked my head around so that I could see through the window rather than looking through the mirror. No child. Still I could hear the screaming. A few seconds later I witnessed a great commotion of grown men rounding the corner hovered over something that I could not yet see.

I honestly could not imagine what was happening, but something in my gut told me that this would not end well and that someone - possibly me - was about to be transformed. As I was trying to figure out what it could be - I saw the pig. I didn't see him all at once it was more in parts. From what I could figure - about six grown men were simultaneously pushing and pulling him latching on to various body parts to include ears, tail, hair, and legs.

Tears immediately sprung to my eyes as I struggled to figure out why these grown men would be pushing/pulling/torturing this obviously reluctant huge hog. They were forcing this pig somewhere down this busy village street. But, where? And why wasn't anyone else upset or even paying any attention for that matter? Unfortunately for me I was not observant enough to notice that one of these open air "stores" was actually a butcher shop and that things in small town Mexico were a little different from what I was used to.

In a matter of minutes the pig had been forced into the front of the butcher shop and that quickly he was, in fact, butchered. The pig scream sounds had reached a feverish indescribable pitch - like nothing I had heard before or have ever (thankfully) heard again. Then suddenly they stopped. (As my mother would later point out with a flat voice and hardly any expression, "Well, what did you think happened at a butcher shop?") I have blocked the butchering from my mind......mostly. I remember a sharp, huge machete looking knife that was swiftly and masterfully brought to the neck. After that I remember turning back around slowly (now fully in tears and not holding back in anyway from sobbing) and being completely surprised at how quickly the pig had been dismembered and the parts of its body hung from racks.....still bloody.

When Dona Lolita's Grandma and ma returned to the car minutes later I was dissolved in tears in the backseat unable to talk. Ma asked me what had happened in her Upset Voice. Dona LG was talking quickly and excitedly in Spanish. I explained to ma in between my sobs what had just happened. Mom patiently explained to Dona in Spanish what had happened. Dona snorted. Ma turned back to me and in her matter of fact way said, "Did you not see that it was a butcher shop?" As I looked back it was so clear and I felt so naive - how could I have missed all the blood and hanging animal parts??? I mumbled, "Well now I see." Ma calmly said as she started the car, "Well, what did you think happened at a butcher shop? After all, where did you think pork came from?"


Shannon said...

I am laughing at you and feeling sorry for the younger you all at once. I am guessing it was a while before you could really enjoy bacon again.

I am reminded of Idul Adha when there is much public slaughtering of animals going on and for some reason we felt the need to go out for a drive with the kids. I spent most of the that ride trying to make sure they did not witness a similar scene, although it wouldn't be a pig as Idul Adha is a Muslim holiday, it was buffalo and goats as I remember.

Jae said...

:*( Oh I would have cried too. Very hard. Poor lil' M! Mama should have hugged you!

Shannon said...

Jae I guess that is the difference in a city girl and a country girl. I was very clear on where my meat was coming from and only once did I make the mistake of naming an animal that was going to be slaughtered. DO NOT name your food or you will be very hungry.

Monica said...

he-he-he-he to both of you. i have made it very clear to my own kids (beginning with an early age reading of charlotte's web) WHERE meat comes from. ;o) so if by chance we are in mexico (or some other place) and see an animal being slaughtered there will be no misunderstanding. ;o) i think my mom (after how many sisters before me???) was OVER the drama. ;o)