And that’s my plan. This blog is for writing straight into. No editing. No second-guessing. None of that. Just whatever comes out. Why, I might even repeat myself sometimes. I might bore you. So be it.

I was telling Inez about Fella’s twin cousins who criticized me for wearing Aunt Ada’s mink coat. These are the cousins he dislikes so much that he requested I stop telling people he is related to the one who writes human interest features for the local paper, to its great improvement. I’d always say “That’s Fella’s cousin!” Not anymore. I knew he had only contempt for them, but I didn’t realize it ran so deep that his relation to them embarrassed him.

These two women were spoiled as children, apparently, and as a pair they would gang up on people, including their parents (my aunt recently said “I wouldn’t tell anyone he’s related to those girls! They’re mean to their dad!”), and always get their way. They ended up getting their parents’ land and machinery and now they’re farmers. Good for them, I say. I greet them with a welcoming smile when we meet, and they return it.

Fella’s mother had begun inviting these two to our gatherings of women with similar interests, which was formed for mutual support and conversation in a district where most people are quite conservative and the things we are interested in are considered too far out there, by most. We are open to meditation, spiritual healing, alternative treatments, and so on. Out here, that makes you “weird” so you don’t discuss these things with just anyone.

One cold night one of the twins asked if my coat was ranched mink, and I said I didn’t know, probably it was. It was a hand-me-down from a beloved great-aunt before she died, and although I would never increase the market demand for fur coats by purchasing one, I appreciated this one because I knew how long my great-aunt had saved to buy it for herself, how it was probably the only real luxury she ever had. I honour it, her generous gift to me, and the animals whose lives were taken in order to make it. Also, I don’t know of anything as warm and light as mink. I am extremely grateful for this coat in our winters.

“So, the end justifies the means, then?” I was asked.

Words were being put into my mouth and I didn’t like it. The other women present sort of gasped, feeling as I did that this was an unwarranted and rather impolite attack, and that the twins were bullying me a little.

I said, “I’m surprised that this sort of criticism is coming from you two, who make your living by selling animals to be slaughtered.”

“That’s different,” was the reply. “The cattle we raise are eaten. Only the fur of those minks was used.”

“Well,” said I, “the eating of meat is not a necessity for humans either, any more than the wearing of this beautiful coat is. Three-quarters of the earth’s population can’t afford meat, or won’t eat it.”

They dropped the subject, then.

When this old conversation was repeated to Inez, she said, “They’re brave. I wouldn’t want to take you on!”

Which surprised me. I thought, she’s “taken me on” many times!

But perhaps the twins do think twice, since then, about what they say to me. Who knows. I don’t think I’m formidable; I’m polite and try to be fair and reasonable.

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