I wish I was a vegetarian.
Today on the Hamburger Farm field trip with my son’s 2nd grade class I had to look a Black Angus yearling cow in his big, beautiful, long-lashed eyes and tell him, “I’m sorry I will be eating you in a few years. I just can’t say no to your delicious flanks. That and Ben and Jerry’s double fudge brownie ice cream.”
Thankfully, I was the only one distressed by this circle of life moment.
I was the picture of over-protective mother making sure I chaperoned this great Hamburger Farm field trip adventure, worried my son would find out where hamburgers really do come from. I was ready to cover his eyes and plug his ears to preserve his naiveté. No more magical hamburger stork, but the truth revealed that mommy and daddy do it all the time and like it – eat slaughtered beef.
The trip started innocently enough with a petting zoo, corn pit (think ball bit with corn), and giant slides and tires to play on. The farm provided a BBQ hamburger lunch that I hoped was not fresh. Then we took a train to an acre in the shape of a hamburger that produced all a burger’s natural ingredients. The kids started by grinding some wheat, saw some budding green tomatoes, pulled up some onions, tasted some lettuce, and getting a good look at the more fortunate dairy cow and her loins of cheese.
When the guide proceeded to tell us the dairy cow’s neighbor was a Black Angus cow used for beef, I held my breath, scanning the faces of twenty 2nd graders. But no quizzical looks appeared, no hands shot up with clarification, no child seemed disturbed with this revelation (if in fact it was). No, the moment of truth was saved when the cow distracted from his own fate by taking a well timed peepee to the delighted gross out of a passel of 8 year olds.
As the guide moved us on to simulated milking of a cow, the only kid who did absorb just exactly where hamburgers come from said to no one in particular, “Now all he needs is a piece of cheese on his nose.”
So, in the end, my kid still believes in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and that he didn’t just pet his lunch at a petting zoo.
I sure hope they don’t have a Victoria’s Secret field trip in Jr. High.