I guess I don’t have anything more to say about that tonight.
There was a time before I ever came to Haiti when Joel and I went on an epic road trip. When we stopped for gas at a place in Arizona we met some hippies who asked us for a ride up to their camp. In fact, they promised us a vegan meal if we would take them up there and we could even camp there for the night if we wanted.
In case you haven’t had the opportunity to dine with one before before, you should know that vegans know how to cook. They make a point of cooking well so that they can convert others to their way of life. I would happily eat vegan every day if I had a vegan cook to make a feast like we had that evening. Actually, I’m sure part of the reason the food tasted so good is that Joel and I had been eating Top Ramen and hot dogs for the past week, but it sure seemed like a feast at the time.
We hung around and got to know the vegan communists, who had names like Justice and Angel and the like. Their dog was named Bobo, and he was a vegan too, but I think not by choice. The morning after the feast, the hippies were complaining about how their van had severe mechanical problems and they didn’t know what to do. Joel got his tool box out and we had their problem sorted out straight away and we became heroes of the day. They invited us to come back that evening for another feast.
Joel and I talked about it that day as we toured around the Grand Canyon. They had started some mild recruitment tactics, but I was pretty sure we wouldn’t become part of the commune that easily, and they were nice, and had good food, and they were hippies and I was fascinated with anybody who would choose to live in the woods 6 months out of the year. Joel thought they were weird and wanted to move on. We literally flipped a coin, and I won.
When we returned to the camp that evening, Joel went straight to sleep and I ate a second vegan feast and hung around my new friends by the campfire. Predictably (although not predicted by me) the conversation turned to eating meat and why they lived the way they did and shouldn’t I live like that too? I changed the subject a number of times but the vegans became very focussed. There was a specific moment in the conversation when I saw everyone defer to the Guru to let him give the recruitment shpiel without interruption. They already knew I was a Christian, but they felt I would make a good vegan anyway. Finally, I was put in a position where I couldn’t change the subject anymore. “Don’t you agree that we’re morally obliged not to eat meat?” I replied, “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe animals have souls.”
I’m not sure I have ever heard a more deafening silence. I felt pretty sure that I’d ruined the party, so I excused myself and went to bed.
The next morning, I woke Joel up and told him we should probably leave early before the others roused. Before we left, Angel brought us a vegan tract and told me “I hope one day you have a relationship with an animal.” I’m pretty sure that happened with Jabez. We went through a lot together.
I’m sure going to miss my dog.