For those of you who don’t know, I’m a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian when I was 12. My best friend and I had seen something on TV about vegetarians and thought, Brilliant! Let’s try it! So we did. Our goal was two weeks. I made it, she didn’t (she visited her grandparents for the summer in Idaho, and her grandpa – a hunter – tempted her with jerky and broke her resolve).
I had a strangely strong self-control for a 12-year-old and took not eating meat as a personal challenge against myself I wanted to win. It’s not that I didn’t like meat. I enjoyed it enough. I didn’t really ever like seafood, though. I was convinced the only fish I liked was rainbow trout after eating it once when I was 7. I remained convinced of that until I tried rainbow trout again when I was 11. Then that went out the window. I liked chicken and ham (I could take or leave steak), but we never ate meat a lot growing up (my parents had me eating tofu and organic food from the beginning), so it wasn’t too hard to give it up. Except at Christmas, when the ham came out. I loved that smell. So, in order to assuage my cravings, I’d ask if I could smell it off of my brother’s plate. Weird? Yes. Did it help? Yes. So don’t judge.
Which brings me to my Uncle Tyler. The Christmas after I became a vegetarian, my family was gathered around the table eating Christmas dinner when I announced I wouldn’t be partaking of the meat. My uncle, who was a cowboy from Montana, was aghast. He was strictly a wear -Wranglers-a Stetson-and-a-large-belt-buckle-and-oh-yeah-eat-lots-of-beef kind of guy. He was also doubtful. So much so that he bet me I couldn’t stay a vegetarian for two years. Oh ye of little faith. Nearly 14 years later, I’m betting he wishes he didn’t bet me that. Now, the bet wasn’t the incentive for me to stay a non-meat-eater (I have many reasons I’ve remained one), but it sure did add a nice little perk 🙂
Tyler has thankfully accepted the fact that I’m a vegetarian (although he still teases unmercifully), and the ironic thing is, he’s now with Jeanne…who’s also a vegetarian.
So meet Tyler, Jeanne and Ivy, my adorable cousin. I love them dearly. Reid and I were lucky enough to be able to take their family Christmas photos last week. I’m sure you’ll find them as fun to look at as I do 🙂