Danielle comes from a big hunting family. In fact, her brother was hunting bear in Maine, which is why he wasn't around. He was guaranteed to shoot a bear on the hunt, a little memento that they would have to gut and slaughter and chew on for months to come.
I spent much of the time with my friend Joyce, who is an emphatic Vegan,
and probably hasn't eaten any meat since her last boyfriend about twenty years ago.
We sat overlooking the pool, watching Tiger do somersaults into the pool (he's really quite good) while Ashley played with Miri, Mark's daughter. We sat there like slugs, guzzling down tortilla chips and homemade picanto sauce. Joyce sat to my right. Danielle's Mom sat to my left. She was very friendly, very chatty--just like Danielle.
"We just love to hunt our food," said Betty, with just a hint of a Southern drawl.
"Really?" I asked, thinking about Joyce. "What kind of things do you like to kill?"
"Well, my boy's hunting around for a bear," she said. "But I've never had bear before. We do kill a lot of deer in our neck of the woods. And turkeys. In fact, we brought a big cooler of turkeyburgers for Danielle. Mark's cooking them tonight."
"No deerburgers?" I joked.
"No, but we did bring a some jerky that you've got to try," she said. "We make it ourselves. Just gut the deer, freeze it up, then, when we've got a hankering for some jerky, my husband asks me to go down to the K-Mart and pick us up some jerky seasoning. The taste is out of this world!"
"It is?" I asked.
"Well, I don't eat it, myself," she admitted, putting a hand through her silvery hair. "But that's what I hear tell!"
"Tell me more about how you make the jerky," I said, egging her on. I watched Joyce squirm deliciously in her seat.
"Oh, it takes a long time," she replied.
"Tell me every little detail," I said, "Get as graphic as you possibly can. Talk about the blood, especially. What do you do with the eyeballs?"
"Oh, we pickle them," she replied. "I think I brought a jar if you'd like to taste one."
"That sounds tasty," I replied. Joyce looked as though she were about to turn green. "What about the scrotum? You don't waste that, do you?"
"No sir," she replied. "We mash that up into a nice little patee and stir in some rice. Makes a mighty nice little appetizer!"
"You couldn't work that into the picante sauce, could you?" I asked, hoping that Joyce was at that time nibbling on some deer scrotum. I glanced over her way. She looked as though she were ready to kill me.
"We might be able to, I recken," she replied.
"Too bad you didn't bring any raw meat," I remarked lazily. "I sure would like to see you prepare some vittles."
"Oh, I think I do!" she said, a slow smile spreading on her face. "I could bring some out, if you'd like, and we could make us some jerky right here on the spot!"
"Terrific!" I exclaimed. "Bring it on out!"
It is at this point that Joyce dived head first into the pool. I'm not really sure why.