A Pig by Any Other Name… Still Smells!


I’ll end this short month with a salute to the pig. With an intelligence level sometimes likened to that of a dog, pigs supposedly make great pets.

When I think of a pig in the house, I’m reminded of Arnold Ziffel of Green Acres’ days on TV. Watching television, answering the door, and sometimes wearing jaunty clothes and sunglasses, the Ziffel’s “son” was who I named my first guinea pig “Arnie” after. Porky Pig of cartoon fame was not so sharp, but we highly sympathize with him as he is put to life’s tests as only animation can do.

More recently we have watched Babe, raised by border collies, use his reasoning powers to work through his problems. In addition to all the TV and movie pigs are the many pigs in nursery tales that have been childhood heros for generations – again giving the pig a human persona – some eating roast beef, some having none, and others clamping the kettle lid tightly over the relentless wolf.

My daughter, Kathie, collects pigs. Besides a battery operated “Babe” who walks and talks saying “Time for a rest,” she has china figurine pigs, “Piglets” from Winnie the Pooh, several beanie baby pigs, stuffed pigs that squeak, a bath “puff” pig, and I’ve probably forgotten some others. Kat has always said she’d like a pet pig, but she hasn’t seen many adult pigs after they’ve porked out and been left to learn about life in a pen without the refinement of etiquette and education.

We had three such swine years ago, which Mom named after British prime ministers. My brother raised Winston, Margaret (Maggie), and Neville from piglets and we watched them get more and more slovenly and stinky as they matured.

These hogs, just plain lived high (to say “high on the hog” would be out of the question), eating an occasional piece of pie; our neighbor who worked for a local bakery brought home the leftovers.

Since you may not have seen a pig eat a piece of cream pie, let me tell you, they take on a look of true ecstacy as the cream oozes about their “choppers.”

When our three “PM named” pigs were butchered, we took one back home to the freezer. We usually grew sentimental when we ate Maggie. She had been my favorite. My husband and I had taken lots of photos of her so we could make a wooden replica as a gift for my brother. If you think “Pigs is Pigs”, (the title of an old book by Ellis P. Butler whose character, shipping agent Flannery, declared one rate for all), guess again; they’re as individual as we are. Remember, Charlotte, the spider, thought Wilbur was some, terrific, radiant, humble pig. That’s a lot of quality.

March 1st is National Pig Day. Remember who/what is truly responsible for the bacon we bring home.

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