birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Meaty Hospitality

There was meat in my house. Slices of turkey brought from home, chicken wings carelessly thrown in the garbage can.

It's not like it bothers me when people eat meat. Everyone in my family eats meat. So do my friends. But, funnily enough, it's not

my friends who sully my home with flesh. I'm being dramatic, right? Self-righteous, selfish, annoying, a crybaby, controlling, mean.

But would you bring pork to a Muslim friend's house? Wear your pentagram t-shirt to your Pentecostal grandmother's hospital bed?

None of them understood that it was a respect thing. This was my house, that I paid for, that I lived in. My sanctuary. And meat

didn't cross the threshold, not for whimsy or difference's sake. My very real beliefs. The issue, I suppose, is that they never asked.

And that they couldn't survive their two-hour visit without desecrating my humble sanctuary bothered me. Accommodating hostess

that I am, I didn't say anything. I don't want them to feel unwelcome in my sanctuary. I want it to be their sanctuary, too.

This time, when I ordered $300 catering for a family event, having advertised it as "overflowing with food," they ate before coming.

Drinking and other libations got them hungry again, and they were surprised by how delicious they found my carefully-planned meal.

They assumed the meal would be tasteless. That they'd still be hungry afterwards. And I had paid the big bucks so that they'd all

be content. It's not a big deal, I know, but it does feel like a rejection of the worst kind. Food is the warmth of hearth and home.

On Not Keeping Secrets