I have always hated family gatherings. A room full of people. Noisy. Disturbing. Ominous laughter. Foul stench. Upward tugging of lips everywhere. Ghoulish skins like dreadfully furry animals brushing up against me. They make me cringe.
So I make it a point to avoid any family gathering.
Except for this one.
For centuries, it has been a de rigueur for family members to attend “THE” gathering held every six years. No one is an exception. Babies, kids, expecting mothers, in-laws. It’s a sine qua non.
Though times like now, as I stand before our dinner table waiting for everyone to take their appointed places, I still wonder: Why do we still uphold this tradition? We are now lawyers, doctors, politicians, teachers, engineers, businessmen. Prominent members of the society. We have better things to do.
A small bell clanged. I smiled. My first smile in the evening.
I uttered our graces as I gave each one their appointed knives.
I guess it is similar to the reason we still keep the slaughter houses that supported our family from the very beginning. Reverence. Reverence to our ancestors and to the way of life that has given us all these luxuries.
I went back to my appointed place and slowly removed the first primal cut from the prey. Its eyes flung open. I saw the joy of agony and pain reflected on those blue orbs. Ah. You see, we never slit the throats of our meal. We want all the blood pumping out as we eat. But we do stun them. I glanced disapprovingly at my ten year old son. The stunning today was not well executed. He still has much to learn. I turned my attention back to the meal. Ah well, I thought, as the other family members expertly cut their share of primal meat. Its hands and feet are securely chained to the table and the mouth is sewed shut. It won’t be that big of a problem.
And I took a bite of my first meal of the night.