The weirdness of it struck me immediately.
My boss sauntered up to the reception desk where I worked and said he was leaving for the day. He was going out this evening -- attending a charity event which was billed as a "Wildlife and Game Dinner."
And what was on the menu, I casually inquired, fully expecting him to say deer, or moose, or even rabbit. His answer was shocking.
I locked eyes with him. He was straight-faced and dead serious. Muskrat. No. Couldn't be. Yes, he meant it. I couldn't have been more surprised than if he had said dog meat.
But wait a minute. My mind was racing. Is muskrat meat even edible? Surely it couldn't be. I understand how peoples around the world eat wild game, but muskrat? Aren't they some type of natural vermin? After all, they do belong to the rat family, don't they?
And how does one go about rounding up enough muskrats to serve a banquet hall full of sportsmen? Do they wade out into marshes and shoot them? Lure them into little cages with bits of bread?
Obviously it was a lot to ponder. I began to wonder about how it would taste, and could anyone get past the revolting image of a rat on one's plate to actually put a forkful in one's mouth. It was enough to make even the most die-hard meat-eaters cringe.
The concept did, however, make good fodder for poetry. And here is what I wrote:
On my plate,
Who would have thought
This would be your fate.
Fur gone too.
A creepy way
For me to meet you.
As you silently wandered
Through swamp and glen,
Did you ever once think
You'd be food for men?
And why would gentlemen
With much to choose
Opt for rodent tenderloin
In lieu of classier food?
Survival of the fittest?
Hawk versus dove?
There's only one answer --
Must be "muskrat love."
Move over Captain and Tenille. There's a new kid on the block.