Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Nai Nai Caught

China is not a culture enamored of pets - at least not when compared to the American obsession with making the pet a part of the family. But the Chinese are good at turning just about anything into a pet (or alter ego.) I once asked a class of freshmen, "Who owned pets while growing up?" To my surprise, several students raised their hand. You see in mid-century China, owning a pet was quite bourgeois and unacceptable (as were flower gardens, but that's another story.) So my students kept crickets, mantises and silkworms. Nevertheless it was in my husband's hometown where I first witnessed a shrimp on a leash. Brad's niece begged her grandparents to let her keep dinner for a pet. To no avail.

Last night Hannah excitedly ran from the creek and yelled for me to "Come see what Nai Nai caught!" I grabbed my camera and met up with Bethany who was keeping her distance from Nai Nai. My mother-in-law was grinning ear to ear and swinging what Hannah called "a lobster" on a string. It was certainly the size of a small lobster and would have made great jambalaya, but after a few minutes watching him scoot backwards and grab the string with one free claw, I convinced Nai Nai to remove the string and throw the poor guy back in the water. I think she chastised me in Chinese, but I'm not one to play with my food before eating it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good toy. No lead, no poison, no warning signs necessary, no lawsuits. just plain, raw, wild fun.