I had returned joyfully from my first half marathon, a feat, if not biblical in scope, monumental for me. The ride home had replaced my post-race euphoria with a bone weary soreness and all I wanted was a hot shower, a post-shower brew or six and a nap.
I felt once I had accomplished these few, smaller feats I would be able to meet the evening along with partaking of a little BBQ with friends to celebrate my success. Instead I was faced with a lost “potbellied” pig. It was huge and it was outside of my back fence “root hogging” for all it was worth. The old idiomatic saying for self-reliance, “root hog or die,” did not seem to fit. I would say this pig had missed very few meals. It looked like a Vietnamese potbellied pig but it was huge, much larger than the three hundred or so pounds it was supposed to weigh. If it had been having to “root hog” to survive it had been doing a great job.
Linda and I debated what should be done and I was chosen to go out and “shoo” it away. My yelling must have sounded too much like “sooie” because he came to me rather than running away. There was a frayed rope around its neck…obviously a pet. He followed me into the goat pen and seemed to be quite happy to root around in left over lettuce, table scraps and goat pooh, his snout all moist and…yucky. After his late morning snack, he decided to plop down and take a nap. When I say plop, the earth moved.
What to do? There were only a few homes nearby and we knew our neighbors didn’t have pigs. How far can a pig roam? We drove to the nearest home with an unknown pig population and hit the jack pot right off the bat. Off the beaten path, at a crossroads with the Native American name of Chinquapin and Langston Circle, there was an old house in major need of under pinning and paint. The gentleman I found outside could have walked out of an “inbred cannibal finds a chainsaw horror movie” and was complete with overalls over a dirt stained “wife beater,” a sweat stained straw fedora on his head and broken down brogans on his feet. Yes, the requisite “chaw” was resting between his cheek and “toothless” gum.
When asked about a pig his response was to look under his house while explaining “I got one around here somewhere.” “Damn where did that pig get off to?” He further pointed out, in between spitting tobacco juice, “If it weren’t for my wife that hog would be in my fridge and not under my house.” I knew the feeling and decided I might ought to laugh.
Because I was having the “Motel Hell” vision of Rory Calhoun donning a pig’s head and picking up a chainsaw, I decided to bring the pig to its owner rather than the other way around. Doing so, I found out a lot of interesting facts about pigs. They won’t jump into the back of a pick-up and refuse to “walk the plank” onto it. Too heavy to lift without a front end loader, something I had, but once again “Piggy” was too smart for my own good. We were going to have to walk back…and I was already beat. Up Highway 11 and then left onto Chinquapin, “Piggy” and I were looking at a half mile uphill climb in what had become a moderately hot mid-day sun.
My education would continue. People look at you “funny” when you are out “walking your hog.” Some laughed and pointed fingers, others laughed and ran off the road although they recovered before doing any damage. I also found out pigs will run when they realize they are headed home and very quickly I might add, eleven to fifteen miles per hour. They don’t run in a straight line either, more like a destroyer trying to avoid torpedoes. To put this in perspective, I had just completed a half marathon running an averaging six and one half miles per hour. I was outclassed by a pig and in a full sprint to keep up.
Thankfully, despite the old saying “sweating like a pig”, pigs don’t have many sweat glands and when pigs become overheated they become “mule” like and simply lay down where they are. I say thankfully because I wanted to lay down next to him. Can pigs have a heat stroke? Yep. I had another thought involving the old Southern idiom, “As happy as a dead pig in the sunshine,” but was a little concerned which of us would be the “smiling” dead pig. Thankfully, we both survived. After a bit of rest, “Piggy” slowly sat up and continued on his way…at a much slower pace.
Later in the evening, after finally getting my shower and nap, I found myself at the Green River BBQ in Saluda. It was probably just my imagination but for some reason the pulled pork and ribs tasted just a bit sweeter. It also could have been the adult beverages I was trying to rehydrate with or the mental vision of a “potbellied” pig squirming to get under an old front porch.
Don Miller has written three books which may be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM
Inspirational true stories in WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING can be downloaded for $1.99.
“STUPID MAN TRICKS” explained in FLOPPY PARTS for $.99.
“Southern Stories of the Fifties and Sixties…” in PATHWAYS for $3.99.
All may be purchased in paperback.