Today we went to the fall festival at Missouri Town 1855, a 30-acre outdoor history museum located in a park several miles east of the city (I’ll explain the elk in a moment). We spent the afternoon enjoying 1850’s music and dance, watching other people take horse drawn buggy rides, and having a delicious cup of hot-spiced cider. The smell of burning wood, sorghum and kettle corn, were a wonderful introduction to autumn even if the trees still refuse to shift their hues.
As we were walking in, we saw a group of people playing dulcimers and I said, “Oh wow! I’ve played the dulcimer before! My aunt showed me how and… wait… that’s my aunt right there!” After saying hello to my lovely Aunt Barbara, we were serenaded to our own special dulcimer performance! (I was also a Missouri Town dancer once, but that’s another story for another time)
The second highlight of the trip came after, when we stopped at the Elk and Bison animal preserve just outside the town. I love animals, but Philippe is even a bigger animal lover, and he was immediately smitten with our new large furry friends. My midwest roots made me crave a Bison burger while we were there, but luckily I declined because staring into those deep brown googly eyes after, I would have only felt guilty.
We don’t eat much meat, but when we do, we go to an independent butcher as Philippe wants to know the animals received proper care in a normal farm. He fell in love with the pigs in Missouri Town and I was suddenly worried that pork might now be completely stricken from our menu. Knowing we had an Amish farm chicken waiting for us at home for dinner, I cautiously asked about them, and he said, “No, it’s fine. Chickens don’t have a personality.” (the reason he also gives for fish… and yet, each source is carefully researched before we can consume it)
I was particularly enamored with the Elk buck who was holding court in a pasture just next to the Bison refuge. The elk is the second largest species of deer in the world. Only their cousin, the moose, is larger. And this elk was not shy about coming over to say hello to us! Though, he was actually just hoping for a carrot and looked noticeably terse to discover we didn’t have one.
So today I make this humble doodlewash to honor my new Elk friend, Xavier (that’s what I named him, because he just looks like one). It’s also World Animal Day, which seeks to celebrate and appreciate our relationship with animals and the ways in which they enrich our lives. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or haven’t completely sworn off leather, there’s still much you can do to honor and protect these amazing animals who share our planet. It’s never all or nothing. It’s always about doing a little something, that just might make a difference.