I was recently disheartened to read Tossing Pebbles in the Stream's post entitled Living with the Animals. His rural neighbour had shot two wolves of the dozen or so that were in his backyard on the previous night. According to the neighbour, "Wolves are vermin," and they eat livestock. Although he didn't have any livestock, anti-wolf feelings apparently still run high in rural regions, and this guy used his trusty gun even though it was illegal for him to do so.
Several years ago, I read Barbara Kingsolver's, A Prodigal Summer, a novel that I liked a whole lot. The themes were environmental in nature, and in one of the main plot lines, a ecologically-minded forestry lady attempts to disabuse her lover, a western rancher, of his views about evil wolves. Of course, she was unable. Old views die hard after all, no matter how uninformed they may be.
As distasteful as the above account may be to most, it does provide me with a segway into the humourous anecdote below. I don't know if I can actually relate it in a funny way: probably not, but I can tell you what happened, and perhaps it will raise a chuckle.
First, you need to know that about six years ago, I owned several T-shirts with wolves emblazoned on the front. I'd been quite taken with the critters since I had seen Never Cry Wolf many years previous. It so happened that I was wearing one of these wolf shirts when I entered a shop in a New England village while visiting a friend in New Hampshire. The three of us, me, Cuppa, and our kind host, ambled around the store for a bit, but when we were about to leave, I was asked perhaps the oddest question of my life.
The curious saleslady asked, and I kid you not: "Oh, I love wolves. Do you have one?" Really! That's what she said!
What does one say in reply to such a question? In rather stunned monotone I mumbled something like, "No, this shirt is just a souvenir of our trip out west last summer."
As the three of us puzzled and giggled over the incident in the aftermath, in great mirth I asked our host if keeping wolves as pets was common in New England. Cuppa opined that I should have said that I had several back home. I thought that I should have replied that the wolves on the T-shirt were actually a picture of my mom and dad.
Oh the clever things that I could have said and should have said, but I had been too flabbergasted at the time to think of any sort of witty reply. Besides, I was a touring Canadian and wanted to be nice and respectful to the locals and also to represent my fellow countryman well. And who knows? Maybe she did keep wolves as pets. I dunno; maybe she even ran with them at night.
I hereby thank the lady, however, for we have howled over the incident many times since. Not only that but it now turns out that she has unwittingly supplied me with that ever so precious commodity — blog fodder. Nevertheless, I now wear very plain and unremarkable T-shirts.