Pig Tale

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Farm Facts: Pork

Daddy loved to relate his stories to others, but he never shared the sow episode. However, there were so many witnesses, someone else would always be willing to tell it – and now it’s my turn.

On the farm where I grew up, hogs were just naturally considered to be an essential component in the assembly of farm animals, but to me, they were disgusting animals. I preferred my only contact with them to be on a plate accompanied by homemade biscuits and red-eye gravy. They were always wallowing in the mud, rooting for who knows what, all the while grunting. Even if they had just been fed, they were still grunting for more. The sows (female) and the boars (male) were separated when the sows had litters because the boars were sometimes known to kill the piglets and eat them. Even the sows occasionally did this – I’m telling you, they were disgusting animals.

On the day of the sow episode, the animals had recently been moved to a pen alongside the country road close to the creek. The soft, wet ground was heaven-sent for wallowing, rooting and, in this case, gaining access to the outside world when Mother Nature apparently urged one particular sow to make her escape.

My mother called for me to come help get the sow back in the pen. I grumbled something about hating those disgusting hogs, but I knew to do as I was told, especially since Daddy was involved in the chase. A couple of customers had come to our farm store, and being neighborly, they offered to help as well.

The sow was a really tall specimen, very agile. As we chased her trying to get her going back in the direction of the pen, she would whirl quickly and head in another direction. The next-door neighbors, seeing the chase, came to volunteer their assistance. As we chased her up and down the road, through the yards and across fields, it was akin to a “Three Stooges” episode.

Finally, we got her back to the hole from which she had escaped. All of us, her adversaries, surrounded her so she couldn’t make another run for it.

“Good,” I thought, “now I can leave and go back home.” Everyone else remained to see her incarcerated.

As I was later told, Daddy, his legs bent and feet apart, was pushing on her backside trying to shove her back into the pen. She suddenly turned and came through his legs completely, picking him up from the ground due to her own height. Red-faced, he held on. To let go or get thrown off would mean further humiliation, not to mention having to start the chase all over again.

Everyone started trying to head her off. I looked back to see what all the commotion was about. There was Daddy coming up the dirt road behind me, sitting backwards on the sow, her curly tail the only thing he had to help balance himself. A wholesale grocery truck came along and completely stopped to witness this unexpected scene. Daddy, being a large man, finally wore her down.

That was the only time any one of those hogs amused me, because as I told you, they were disgusting animals.

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