Recently, Chip and I were invited to a finca, a Spanish farm that is roughly the equivalent of a horse farm. In truth, we weren't fully invited, but there was promise of a future invitation, as in, some day you'll have to join us at our finca. A nice Spanish couple -- FOFOF's (friends of friends of friends) -- described how, every fall, they spend weekends on their 4,000 hectares of land with a distant view of Madrid, enjoying the countryside while the autumn leaves change color. At the time, I didn't speak hectare and didn't know whether it was half an acre or a cajillion acres. Later, I whip out my iphone iconvert application and find that 4,000 hectares actually equals 9,884.215 acres!!! Now THAT is a finca, amigos!
The next morning we discuss our potential invitation with the kids, imagining hunting in the rugged plains surrounding Madrid. They agree it sounds exotic. We ladies wonder what we'll wear and decide on an imaginary tweed ensemble with custom leather riding boots. But, as a person who once took up golf to justify buying a fetching pair of navy Ralph Lauren golf shoes, only to experience the agony of hacking a ball around a course for four plus hours while wearing them, I decide to dig deeper into my finca fantasy. Will we walk to the hunt or ride vast distances on horseback? Will we dine at an antique oak table that seats 50 and enjoy trays of food delivered by Chicas? Or, will we recline in the open air, fireside, with an exceptional Ribera del Duero and the finest pata negra, wrapped in monogrammed cashmere blankets while our wild boar crackles on the spit?
Maybe it'll look like this.
We're deeply excited, merry even! While we're salivating and making little clapping sounds and practically packing, someone (and by someone, I mean one of our children) decides to put a damper on things. Here's the conversation:
"Does this mean we'll have to shoot an animal?"
"Man up!" another one says, "this is a weekend at a finca, bro!"
"Tio (Spanish for "Dude"), the three of us watched Bambi together."
The B word brings silence to the table as we try to forget the orphaned baby deer. Slowly, we realize that although we love our fantasy finca, and as much as we think we like guns, we like animals even more. There's no way we can shoot one and watch it die. We're still gonna play paintball, eat meat, wear leather shoes, and one of us may even wear fur (but only when it's really cold or when we attend a dressy occasion -- sorry Alison), but we can't harm the animals.
I'm mentally unpacking when, luckily, someone has another great idea.
"What if we shoot our guns into the air and miss everything?" And with that it's settled. We will, if ever invited, simply pretend to shoot things and miss, perhaps even scaring the animals away from the hunt, while we stay warm in our tweeds and leathers in the European countryside and let rip our cries of Bwaahaahaahaa!