Deer antlers, turtles and respect


Have you ever wondered what your luggage looks like to the X-ray guy at the airport? If you want to guarantee a TSA inspection, just throw a bucket of maple syrup and some deer antlers in there and you’re sure to get someone’s attention.

I know what some of you are thinking, what the heck am I going to do with all that syrup! But seriously, I want to take a moment to explain myself and my weird packing habits. You see, when it comes to trips home I usually try to stock up on stuff I cannot find in Italy, but my husband always finds a way to insert logic and reason and I never quite succeed in stashing cheddar cheese or English muffins passed him.

This time however, I did get a few goodies in there and some of it even made its way to Genoa too. The most interesting item would be my deer antlers. You see, my brother is a hunter and so was my dad and my grandfather. It’s a family tradition and I see it as an important part of my Canadian heritage.

Now let me explain further because I know some people don’t like hunting and they think it is cruel. I am not terribly fond of it myself and I love animals, but that doesn’t mean that I am a vegetarian either. Over the many years growing up I have watched the men in my life hunt and gather. It’s something primal and simple but also takes a lot of skill and patience not to mention an immense appreciation for nature.

If I can eat beef from the supermarket how is that any different from eating deer that was hunted by my brother? In fact, the deer will be much healthier for me because it had a free lifestyle in nature and was not confined or fed antibiotics. The way I see it, the deer had a much better life – the way nature intended.

So, why did I bring home deer antlers from my brother? Because they symbolize something very important to me. My Canadian roots, the balance of nature, respect, patience, kindness, simplicity, skill, and most importantly, love. Every time I look at them I will think of the love I have for my older brother and the lessons he has taught me, his youngest sister.

PS. What about the turtles? They were for Zio Aldo…they’re chocolate covered pecans with caramel inside and shaped like a turtle. They are absolutely sinful and yummy! And ummm, no, my brother didn’t hunt them haha. But he does make some killer homemade Bailey’s, Hic!

About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
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4 Responses to Deer antlers, turtles and respect

  1. Kay says:

    From someone who brings vegemite, marmite, custard powder and golden syrup from NZ, and still misses cheddar cheese despite the wonderful cheeses found in Italy, I totally understand…

  2. Leigh says:

    Ciao, Leah. I found your blog, have been perusing it, and love it. I have made two trips specifically to Genova (love the town but not the traffic) and recognize most of the place names you list. I would like to move there to be with my Italian fiance, and I would also like to get the expat’s opinion of life there.

    • Hi Leigh,
      Thanks for stopping by my blog πŸ™‚
      Love brings us to strange places and new experiences. I certainly would not want to discourage you from exploring all that the world has to offer but I am also a very upfront and honest person and have to tell you that to visit here is wonderful, but to live here is terrible.

      I wish I could tell you different but here goes…if you plan to live in the city of Genoa be prepared for everything. This place has a way of wearing down even the most optimistic person on the planet! Life is not easy here and everything you do will take 10x the effort it would back home. The weather is crappy from November to March. It rains a lot. For example, today it was sunny at 7:00 and mild, by the time I got out of my lesson at 11 it was hailing and pouring rain and cold! How the hell did that happen? We get floods, bring rubber boots. You will own at least 4 umbrellas…seriously.

      In August you melt and very few places have a/c…and nothing is open, not even government offices. Plan on a bus, train or gas strike at least once a month. Plan on some group of idiots protesting on the exact street you need to get to and they are blocking the road of local traffic so you have to get off the bus and walk the extra 6 blocks in the pouring rain and will arrive fashionably late and wet. If you need to pay a bill or go anywhere public allow several hours to do the most simplest tasks…took me 2 hours at the post-office to post a letter and pay a bill. Forget about changing information…you need to call a number than no one will answer to book an appointment to tell them you moved.

      The good parts…the food! art! history! the wine! the sea! the mountains! If I didn’t live here I probably would have never taken up hiking or soccer at my age. People here walk a lot and so it is pretty easy to stay fit even though you manage to eat an entire pizza yourself (takes practice, but a worthy goal)

      So, in a nutshell, how strong willed are you? Are you made of steel? We could use a few more expats in the neighbourhood to bump up our laser tag pizza parties πŸ™‚ So if you decide to move here, we (my other miserable expat friends) would LOVE to have you!

      A presto! Leah

  3. eloradaphne says:

    Ok I have to come over and see where you put those antlers!!!

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