“So how was your big celebration?” Dave Winston asked Cliff Murray the other day after his 25th wedding anniversary.
“Good,” said Dave. “Quiet, of course, like everything else with the pandemic. The kids took us to a little Chinese restaurant on the edge of the city where they’re still allowed to serve at half capacity.”
“What did you have?” Molly Whiteside asked as she brought their coffee.
“I had duck breast plus all the other Chinese dishes.”
“Duck!” said George Mackenzie in alarm. “The only good reason to eat a duck is to make it stop quacking! Those things squawk about as much as politicians!”
“Well I like duck,” said Cliff.
“Every time I drive through a city I’m always amazed at all the restaurants there are. You can get Jamaican food, and Thai food and South Asian and Vietnamese and so many more I can’t even remember them right now,” said Molly.
“If this pandemic ever gets over, my wife wants to try a few of them,” said Cliff.
“I want to try them all,” said Molly who was particularly enthusiastic that morning considering it was a Monday.
“Harumph,” grumbled George. “Do you even know what they use to make those foods in those foreign restaurants? Remember, they think COVID-19 got started by people eating animals we, here, didn’t know existed.”
“Well never fear,” assured Dave. “There’ll always be a lot more meals served at McDonald’s and Swiss Chalet with trusty North American food than the small places.”
“Yeah, George,” said Cliff, “You must be pleased that both McDonald’s and A&W have big promotions on for grass-fed beef right now. Especially after how upset you were when A&W made so much todo over plant-based burgers for so long.”
“Ever notice whatever consumers suddenly want, is usually the hardest way for farmers to make a profit growing?” asked Dave.
“Yeah, grassfed, not feedlot beef when the reason we began raising cattle in feedlots in the first place because it cost too much to keep them on grass.”
“Maybe they’ll want grass-raised pork next,” Molly suggested to Dave.
“Well they won’t that get from me,” Dave snarled.
“Ever raised a pig outside?” wondered Cliff.
“I have actually,” sighed Dave. “We were loading pigs one spring morning a few years back and somebody turned his back at the wrong time and this pig escaped.
“Well we figured he’d hang around and we’d catch him before the truck left but that darned pig was faster than us and after an hour the truck driver said he had to go.
“There was this group of cowboys in town here who heard there was a pig on the loose so they offered to come and round it up.
“By now the pig had 200 acres of shoulder-high corn to hide in but the guys actually managed to surround the darned thing back by the bush. As they closed in, the pig took aim at the leader’s horse, charged at it, ran right under its belly and sent the horse rearing in fright.
“The rider fell off awkwardly and displaced his shoulder. He had to take two weeks off work and suddenly wanted me to compensate when I never asked him in the first place.”
“Did you ever catch him?” wondered George.
“He hid out in the corn at night and raided the garden at hight. He ate – but we didn’t – sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons. But when it got cold in December he was sleeping by the barn.””
“Hey, now there’s a sharp angle for one of the restaurants to promote,” said Molly mischievously — “Garden-fed pork!”
She saw the look on Dave’s face and headed for the kitchen. He just missed her with the bun he threw at her.◊