February 13, 2021

Among my group of gal pals, there is Lynette. Petite, feisty, funny, and compassionate, she is a joy to us all, and we love to hear her stories about growing up in a large family. As today’s contributor, Lynette gives us an up close and absolutely true tale of one of her piggy episodes…back in the day.

My dad was a pilot, a respected professional pilot who supported a wife and five reasonably intelligent children.

However, in his heart he was a farmer, a farmer who dreamed big dreams of vast rolling acres of verdant cropland and fields of fat prize winning livestock.

There would be ranch hands, field hands, and the admiration of his peers on market days.

The reality was a pretty, relatively small 80-acre farm, predominantly of timber. It was a start.

Into this pre-empire, Dad installed a dozen piglets into a hog house he built himself. It included a sturdy wire fence that surrounded a concrete outside pad where said piggies could sun and frolic when they weren’t eating their way to market.

They were well looked after as Dad “Flyboy” watched their progress, but it wasn’t long and he thought they seemed bored. After all, how many games of “got your tail” can any of us really enjoy?

Bowling balls were the answer, their master read in one of his farm magazines. They could be snouted around in some version of swine soccer, I suppose.

That worked for a while, but after a bit of time, the players soon were bored again. Bowling balls were followed by rubber car tires, another suggestion from the magazine, and the piggies liked them. Finally. Fat, happy piggies.

All went well until the pilot wasn’t able to go out to this paradise in the making due to the family home being in town. One day he asked me to go check on their food and water needs, a function for which I was occasionally pressed into service.

Upon arrival, I immediately recognized an unusual situation. One of the residents was now wearing a tire. If you can recall Disney’s “Fantasia” with the tutu wearing hippos, you can get a smellier version of the scene. The poor guy was trotting around the pen enduring the derision of his fellows–an untenable situation.

Putting on my boots, I climbed over the fence to deal with the tire, much to the delight of the pack who had always found me inept in our other dealings. We had a merry time for the next few minutes with lots of squealing, most of it coming from the pigs.

I chased the victim who misjudged my intentions. Who could blame him, since one of our earlier encounters involved my assisting in divesting him of a couple of his “boy parts.” The chase continued with one of the pigs plucking a glove out from my back pocket and the others trying to get it away from him. Chasing after the thief, I realized that I was now an unwitting participant in yet another version of “got your tail.”

I was getting nowhere.

I hopped over to the less congested side of the fence and considered my options. I immediately decided this was not to be an audience participation event. Then I noticed that the tire-wearer had retreated to a far corner of the pen and was sitting on his haunches next to a blowing ball. This was my opportunity to reenter the arena and herd the others into a separate gated area, leaving just the forlorn ballerina and me to sort this out.

Over the fence I went again as I spotted an extravagant growth of purple flowering clover. Picking a generous handful, my plan was made.

I casually sauntered over to the pig, bearing this peace offering of clover. After a coy refusal, the tired guy rose and approached. I pushed the bouquet toward him and he accepted, unaware of my scheming plan. I jumped up on the fence, planted my feet halfway up, braced myself, lurched over, and grabbed the tire. The surprised porker backed away leaving us in a tug situation now with more of me over on his side. He was just as determined to get away from me as I was to keep my grip on the manure covered tire. But with one last mutual tug, he freed himself which sent me and the tire backward into the mud on my side of the battlefield. I was now covered in some of the stuff that made the clover so abundantly lush.

I won’t share the details of my fragrant dive back to town, but I did provide a nice bit of entertainment for any neighbor who might have been watching my backyard hose down.

I related the incident to my family when I went into the house. My grandfather helpfully suggested that it might have been easier to have pulled the tire from the rear, but I pointed out that it would have been hard to get that end interested in the clover.

The hogs and I enjoyed many exciting experiences over the next few months since I seemed to be well suited for these things. They even seemed to perk up when they saw my car…remembering the good times, I guess.

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and I thought it would be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. It was. AND March 2023, I returned to Columbia. I had a wonderful time experiencing the Madison area of Wisconsin, spending time with my cousin, and making some wonderful friends. No regrets.
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