Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew
Airing My Dirty Laundry!
The Pig Story
Ever since I can recall, my dad has been telling The Pig Story. He tells it with great flourish and over the years, he’s perfected a series of coy pauses and soft smiles, delivered at just the right moment, that make its oration a work of art.
I’ve heard The Pig Story so many times that I could recite it in my sleep. It’s a tale of how, in a more simple time, my father procured my mother’s hand in marriage for the price of a few hogs. Every word of the story is true.
My parents grew up on farms several miles apart in southeastern Oklahoma. My mother was the youngest of 10, born when her father was in his 70s. My grandfather was a local legend, renowned for his ornery ways. Even when he was in his ninth decade, with fading eyesight, he’d insist on driving his battered pickup along the dirt roads near his home, weaving from one side of the road to the other. Local residents knew to steer clear when they saw Old Man Gibson coming.
For as long as anyone could remember, my granddad had been feuding – Hatfield-McCoy style -- with his nearest neighbor. Over the years, the two men had fought over property lines, stray cattle, chicken-thieving dogs, even -- for bragging rights -- over a defunct moonshine still tucked way back in the woods that each man claimed to have operated in his younger, rowdier days.
Both men had spent short spells in jail when things got too heated and the sheriff wanted to calm them down. But by the time they were each around 90, the two old warriors had settled into a mutually satisfying and fairly harmless, if still rancorous, relationship.
The neighbor often took great delight in releasing his pigs into the fields where my grandpa still grew corn and cotton. Each morning, my grandpa would look out over his crops, straining to see signs of porcine invasion. When he thought he'd spotted the porkers, he would swear up and down, cursing his enemy and expressing great surprise that anyone could commit such a vile act. Then he’d grab his shotgun, stomp out to the fields and start firing wildly, unable with his poor vision to actually hit much of anything.
If it was a warm day, he’d then park his truck under a couple of sweeping oak trees at the edge of the pasture, put the shotgun across his lap and announce as loudly as he could to the trespassing pigs that they would soon draw their last breaths. Invariably, though, within a few minutes, he would fall asleep, waking occasionally to fire a random shot before resuming his nap.
Eventually, the pigs would tire of the game and make their way home, and late in the afternoon, my granddad would do the same.
One day, my father, who was a high school senior at the time, happened to be driving by during one of the scattershot shooting sessions. He stopped and asked my grandpa if he needed help. Then he took the shotgun, quickly dispatched the unfortunate pigs and put them in the back of the old pickup. They would provide quite a few tasty meals for the family.
My grandpa was so pleased at this unexpected triumph over his nemesis that he invited my dad to come over that night for supper and there he introduced the young pig slayer to his 16-year-old daughter.
The rest -- as my dad always adds to universal groans -- is hogstory. They were married a year later and will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They’ve been living high on the hog ever since.
~ © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2007, (email@example.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]
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