Other sides were available, along with pies, and I was quite proud of the presentation my chef and his called-in catering colleagues put on. After I blessed the food and we sanitized hands after communal grace, we all started the meal. It was not several moments in that I noticed the wife of one of my business associates looking clearly repulsed, looking at the food set before her as if it were just simply repulsive.
Concerned and worried she may be uncomfortable, I yelled across the table, “‘Diana’, are you not going to eat?”
She had the audacity to cut me a cold look, in my own home. With such a smug voice, she stated to me, “Haywood, I find the eating of animal products repulsive. It is fattening, repulsive and just distasteful.”
[adsense]I was shocked. I looked at her husband, who simply shrugged his shoulders, slightly snockered from the nog we had while waiting for everyone to arrive. He had never expressed that he was a vegetarian and from the large mouthful of turkey he was enjoying, I took it he never followed his wife’s lead on this issue.
“I’m sorry, Diane, I didn’t know.” My words echoed across the table with an awkward silence. Only faint holiday music was playing and slight, nervous clinking could be heard. This woman, instead of just following the ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do’ mantra at a dinner party, was performing a complete faux-pas and creating the grounds for a heated political discussion.
Being a nice man and shepherd of morality, I used patience and extended grace: “Can I have one of the cooks prepare you a vegan dish of your choosing?”
She coldly stated, ‘No’, emphatically pushing her plate away and removing a napkin from her leg, onto the plate. For the rest of dinner, she just sat and said nothing, while everyone else warmed back into casual conversation. Her husband seemed undaunted, taking healthy bites of meat soaked in gravy, going a bit heavy on the caviar stuffing if I must say so myself.
As we all left the table to socialize and mingle while my chef and the catered company cleared the dinner mess, I found Diana to again apologize. She created the scene, but I intended to smooth things over. But she was not having it: “I really do find it ironic that a pastor of all people eats meat,” she stated. She went as far as implying because I eat meat, her husband (who is a member of my church and a wonderful tither) simply ignored her calls to be a vegetarian or vegan for over 15 years.
She then took it a step further. “And if you weren’t such a glutton for eating meat, maybe you would not have that bulging belly of yours.”
Now, I am one for turning the other cheek, but I have worked hard to keep myself fit and though I do have a bit of a daddy’s belly in my older age, I did not think it was mature for her to say such things. But a little devilish voice got the best of me. Blame it on the nog.
‘Diane’ was wearing a black and white number and with her hair pinned up in neat buns on either side, it looked like she had two cute, roundish ears atop her head.
I just said it: “Well, if vegetarianism is so healthy, why are all the pandas so fat.” I let my stare linger on her black and white outfit, and she got the message. She wasn’t so skinny herself.
We all sat down eventually and had desert, Diane still not eating and her husband acting as if nothing were amiss. I guess after 15-years of following my lead as a pork-belly heathen who follows his instinct to eat meat, he had grown accustom to awkward dinners. I’m guessing next year, Diane won’t accept my invite for the Thanksgiving feast.