A hurtful Christmas for the Budds
Our blog is primarily about our experience in learning to live locally. I’ve written articles about growing food, seeds, keeping cows, dairying, making medicine using local plants and about developing harmony with nature. Lately I’ve included a few posts about the things going on in the world that could cause people to have to live in the way that we are learning to live. There is another dimension to this local living, and that is the social/psychological dimension.
Every year our family that consists of my Mom, my sister and her family, my brother and his family and our family make an effort to get together. We also include friends such as our Iraqi friends the Zuhares, my Mom’s neighbor, Judy or the Inouyes if they are in town. This year my Mom called and told me that it would be just her, her husband and our family of three (Billy, me and our daughter, Radha) for lunch on Christmas. I was really surprised and asked why my siblings or their families weren’t coming. After some hemming and hawing, my Mom explained that the rest of the family would be celebrating on Christmas Eve and that they didn’t want us there. Please keep in mind that our family is composed of a fairly “normal” cross segment of society and we’ve tolerated drunken behavior from particular family members, various types of obnoxious behavior such as sullenness from teens and the usual array of rudeness or semi-rudeness. It was my feeling that the meaning of Christmas is for a family to put differences aside and spend a day to try to appreciate the family members and spread good cheer.
“Why don’t you want us there?” I asked my Mom.<>
“Well they want to eat meat,” she replied initially. It is true that we don’t attend the Thanksgiving get-together because we find the dead bird on the table to be off-putting.
“Mom, we tolerate meat-eating all the time. We’re going to a New Year’s party where there will be meat and we still go.”
“Well they also said that they were repulsed when you talked about drinking urine last year.”
“What? My sharing the cure to a serious chronic disease is more disgusting to them than eating the blood vessels, nerves and muscles of an animal that had been eviscerated?” I actually did use that come-back, although I don’t usually have such snappy replies. “And was it Don or Margaret who don’t want us there.”
“Both,” she replied. “But I really want you to come down to visit on Christmas.” It is a two and a half hour drive to Portland to see her.
We decided not to accept her invitation. For one thing it seems unreasonable to expect her to entertain two days in a row, and for another we aren’t so hot on being with someone who won’t stand up for us even when she tolerates drunkedness and other obnoxious behavior from others.
I spent the next day close to tears, feeling that I’d lost my family. Actually the only thing I’d lost was the illusion of having an extended family.
Billy and I have been discussing why, after all these years, we were rejected by our family. The meat-eating, urine therapy explanations given by my Mom don’t ring true. We don’t generally discuss the evils going on in the world, so it isn’t that they can think that we’re fear-mongering–something that could be quite unpalatable at a family gathering. However we do talk about our adventures in learning to live locally. That might be akin to telling a group of people who had happily set up a permanent, comfortable camp right on train tracks. We’re like the people saying, “Wow, it is wonderful here off of these train tracks.” And the people with their comfortable camp can now hear the train approaching and blowing it’s whistle. But they are so comfortable that they don’t want to get off the track and would prefer to think that if they ignore the approach of the train that it will go away. And here are the Budds saying, “life is great off the tracks.” To those addicted to their comfortable lifestyle, even acknowledging someone who is living off the tracks is disturbing.
We made changes in our lifestyle four or five years ago to adjust to what we saw coming. At that time most people thought we were crazy. Today most people understand what we are doing but few are making the change. We may live like peasants but we eat like kings. We work harder than most people at our household chores, but we are producing something and that is what seems to be lacking in our county. Our goal is to be a good example to others, especially the children. It would have been nice if our in-laws and outlaws were part of our future but it does not appear to be so.
***Note: Since I posted this yesterday, I’ve had so many comments and personal e-mails of support. Thank you all. It makes me feel so much better and loved! Merry Christmas!