Sean Thackrey :: Wine Maker

Sean Thackrey :: Wine Maker

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stories: is it bunny rabbits?, or dinner?:

Used to be that the standard way of buying grapes, which of course is by weight, was to get a certified weight tag at a certified weight station; I'd weigh in with the truck empty but all the harvest containers aboard, called "tare"; then I'd weigh back out with the truck full of grapes; obviously, the difference between the two weights was the weight of the grapes, and that determined what I owed the grower.

The certified station I then used most was in Schellville, near Sonoma, and was no big deal; just a truck-size flat scale inset in the ground in front of a modest shack. The woman in the shack was Jackie, short, tough as nails, butch as it comes, could throw any trucker out the door; I thought she was great, and we got along very well. She was maybe in her 40's, still lived with her father in a dubious compound across the intersection, where they raised rabbits. She had many Polaroids (hopefully someone remembers what they were) posted in back of her counter in the weigh station, with bunny rabbits dressed up in little costumes as Santa Claus, TV characters, and so on.

This brought up a question in my mind, and after she'd weighed out the truck one day, I asked it.
"You know Jackie, you've got all these really cute photographs up here of your bunny rabbits dressed up in various costumes; but, then, you sell them for people to eat. How do you put that all together?"
She frowned, definitely not happy I asked, but still answered straight away: "Well, I dunno. One day, they just stops looking like bunny rabbits, and starts looking like dinner."

I don't think concise expression gets much better; and I've never heard any definition of that fatal change that's close to being as honest; although I recall the observation that man is the only predator that lives in affectionate proximity to his prey before eating it.

So I've admired her eloquence for years; but one has to imagine the rabbits feel otherwise, when the atmosphere in the hutch suddenly takes a mysterious turn for the worse.

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