My daughter-in-law tells a tale of veterinary school, which reminded me of a story.
In the '90s I was a member of a writing group, the Cane River Writers. Out hostess, president, and mentor was Kate Myers Hanson, a graduate of the Iowa Writing school, and published short story writer. Katie hosed a lovely little group of budding writers and I was privileged to be a member. We adored Katie and learned much from her. The last I heard, she was teaching at Upper Michigan University. The Cane River Writers is probably defunct nowadays, but I digress.
Katie knew an author, a very distinguished author, who was coming to the college in town as part of the Distinguished Lecturer series. She asked him (we'll call him Bill), if he'd like to attend a meeting of the writing club and give us a reading. He graciously accepted. Katie told us all that Bill would be attending, and asked us to bring a dish for a potluck. I told her I'd cook a brisket.
I cook a very good brisket and I especially picked out a fine one. I took the day off from work, cranked up my smoker in the backyard, and lovingly tended that brisket for eight hours, sliced it, trimmed it, Artfully arranged it on a nice platter, and took it to the meeting, where it was placed on a laden table with the other offerings.
After the readings, we broke to sample the food, and everyone stood around and talked literature while we ate. I noticed that Bill was hitting the brisket pretty hard, but he was from Iowa, and might have never sampled good, smoky, north Louisiana brisket. I was pleased that he was enjoying it. Indeed, I walked in the house with twelve pounds of smoked meat and walked out with an empty platter. The brisket was a success.
Several weeks later, Katie told us that she had talked with Bill, and he again offered his thanks for our hospitality. Then she looked across the coffee table at me. "And, Dennis," she said, "Bill again offers his complements on your brisket. It made quite an impression on him."
"No problem, Katie. I'm glad that he enjoyed it."
"You don't understand," she said, "Bill has been a committed vegan for ten years. He hasn't eaten any animal product in a decade."
All I could do was look across the living room at her, meeting her gentle gaze while trying to suppress mirthful glee. She finally broke the silence and the moment. "Now," she said, "Who brought something for us to read?"