What would Granny say?
At Rankin Inlet in the latter part of May, Governor General Michaelle Jean — Long live the Queen and her representative in this country! Or not — to much media fanfare, ate a sliver of raw seal heart.
Yes, she did so. I saw it on television so it must be true.
Immediately, the media stirred up controversy. Was the G.G. promoting the Inuit way of life? Was she supporting the East Coast seal hunt? Or was she simply grand-standing as politicians — they can’t help it; it’s visceral; it’s in their raw flesh and blood — are wont to do?
Comments were culled from men and women in the streets; Open Line shows hummed and hubbubed; news anchors begged for emailed remarks.
You might be wondering what my reactions was to Ms Jean’s Nunavut nibbling. Then again, you might not. Why would you? Surely you have other fish to fry or flipper pies to bake.
Nevertheless, I’m going to tell you.
The moment I witnessed the blood-dripping slice of jiggling heart flesh in transit to Michaelle’s mouth, I thought of dear, departed Granny.
Granny was no bigot. If all was equal in God’s eyes, she willingly allowed all to be equal in hers. The antics of one group were no more peculiar than the antics of another.
Back in the last century when…?... hippies, I suppose you’d call them, were seeking alternative, cheaper sources of protein than bossy-cow beef, some of them decided to savour the stringy succulence of horse meat.
In Granny’s different bay, a huddle of hippies had established a makeshift community — a commune— among the skeletons of the nearest resettled outport.
Rumour had it, they were feasting on horses!
When asked by some enlight-
The moment I witnessed the blooddripping slice of jiggling heart flesh in transit to Michaelle’s mouth, I thought of dear, departed Granny.
ened, pretentious, socially conscious scholar—could that have been me?— what she thought about the hippies’ untraditional diet, Granny gave the same answer that I believe she would give to an intrusive microphone seeking commentary on the G. G’s dripping morsel of mammal, were it possible that one could be shuffed in her face today.
Granny said,“ Well, the dirty ghosts!”
“ Harry, my protein-lacking gourmet,” said Dearest Duck. “ You know your grandmother would never say that about the Governor General in this day and age.”
“ She would, my Duck. Not because of the seal itself but because of its un-cooked, blood raw, condition.”
Be careful; don’t trip over this abrupt transition.
One day recently— p’raps at the same time Ms. Jean was sampling seal snippets— Pop’s East Coast Girl came home from school and proclaimed at the supper table that she was learning about carnivores and explained about tigers and prowling felines of that ilk being meat eaters.
Dearest Duck elbowed my ribs when she noticed my decaying, erstwhile schoolteacher brain cells gearing-up: “ Harry, don’t say it.”
Too late. “ Sure, you’re a carnivore of sorts,” I told Pop’s East Coast Girl.
In shock, she bared her juvenile canines. “What kind of carnivore am I?” she asked.
“Don’t heed your grandfather’s foolishness,” said Dearest Duck. “He’s only teasing.”
“You’re eating chicken. That’s meat. Therefore, you’re a carnivore,” I said, tickled by my questionable wit.
Unknowingly echoing— kinda—the immortal words of Scarlet O’Hara, Pop’s East Coast Girl said, “I’ll never eat McDonald’s again!”
“Harry!” said Dearest Duck. It was enough. Supper had ended.
I don’t much care about who is or who isn’t supping on seal organs. I’ve never eaten seal, not even a forkful of my sister-in- law’s famous flipper pie. Actually, once, in that oh so distant and different bay when I was a callow boy, I did sample one tiny taste. I remember spiting, “ Yuck!” and thinking I’d need a glutch of cod-liver oil to clear my palate.
Okay, so I didn’t think palate. At that innocent time of life I didn’t know what a palate was or even that I had one.
To close, to find a feeble way to finish, and although you haven’t asked, I’m going to confess the kind of carnivore I am.
I’m the kind that loves a serious wedge of fruitcake with his draught of herbal tea. So there.
Thank you for reading. Eat up.