Class warfare is an ugly thing. It seems like you can?t turn around these days without hearing how certain groups get preference, certain groups are discriminated against, or some groups are just plain evil because they don?t brush their teeth the way everyone else does. Heck, even reading this column, you can?t escape it.
Well, folks, I?m gonna come right out and say it. I?m guilty of it, too.
I like city people. Really, I do. After all, I used to be one. It came as second nature to me to have my pizza delivered, to hop out for a quick bite of sushi, or see any current movie without driving more than five miles.
I was part of the morning and evening rush hours. Sometimes I felt a strange kinship with all those other frazzled people driving around me?except for that guy that cut me off. I didn?t feel much kinship with HIM.
I felt so cosmopolitan, so hip, so ?with it? that I was almost ashamed of not having grown up in the big city instead of my small home town.
Yep. I wanted to leave that burg far behind me even though that?s where I learned manners, common courtesy, decency and respect. The vast majority of what I learned?yes, Mom, some of it did soak in?did end up serving me well later in life, and I had a slightly better knowledge of some things than my city counterparts.
Take chickens, for example. I knew that chickens existed. I knew they had feathers and went either ?cluck? or ?cock-a-doodle-do.? I knew that we ate some parts of them, especially if said parts came fried and in a red and white bucket.
Sometimes we made chicken at home. It came nicely shrink wrapped on a foam tray. I kid you not, folks, I had no idea how that thing on the tray went from ?cluck? to dinner, let alone what happened to the parts that weren?t boneless, skinless, or white meat.
Ditto eggs. I knew chickens laid them and they tasted good. The same could be said for beef, any pork product, or fish. I had a vague idea that thing made something I was eating, but how it got to the grocery store was a mystery.
I recently heard a woman say how proud she was that she bought only free range eggs from her city supermarket. I also read a quote from someone else condemning hunters for killing game for meat. Her solution was that they should get their meat from the grocery store where no animals were killed.
Heck, there?s even a farming game you can get for your smart phone that lets you repeatedly harvest bacon from your hogs?by putting them in a steam chamber.
Moving out here to the farm sure opened my eyes. Sure, we?d had a garden when I grew up, so I was ahead of a city kid who thought that salsa came from a single plant. I knew better than to eat the oldest multiplier onions. I lugged hoses to water bell peppers until my arms ached. There are a lot of poor kids out there missing this experience.
I love showing city folks around the farm. Even though we?re not a major operation?most of you would call us a hobby farm, and it?d be the truth?I love seeing their eyes pop out at my chicken ranching and gardening ?expertise? simply because they really don?t connect to where their food actually comes from. It doesn?t grow in the grocery store. It doesn?t magically appear, cleaned, plucked and portioned on a little foam tray.
It all in some way ties back to the earth, the land, the dirt?and cities are all about limiting your contact with actual dirt. They think 20 acres is a lot of land, and I guess it is, compared to their little one-fourth acre of manicured lawn. Some neighborhood organizations don?t even allow you to grow vegetables on your own property in some cities.
So I?ll admit to feeling a little superior to those poor deprived city folks who have never had the joy of connection. I don?t wake up to tire noise in the morning or have to brave the rat race to get to work. Those disadvantaged souls don?t have to remember to put on socks to go out to the henhouse?because glittery toenail polish is a veritable peck magnet?to get real fresh free range eggs for breakfast.
They don?t get to pass beef or pork on the hoof on their way to wherever the heck they think they need to rush off to. They don?t really know what a ripe tomato picked straight from the vine smells like on a hot summer day. And they think I?m the deprived one because I have to go without sushi.
Yep, class warfare is an ugly thing. All I know is that I?d trade being a city slicker for being a country bumpkin any day. At least I know where my food comes from.