Gut Rumbles

January 17, 2008

Uncle Virgil's pig

Originally published December 9, 2003

My uncle Virgil is a good storyteller. Most of my family can spin a pretty good yarn, but Virgil is one of the best. He spent 30 years in the Air Force, traveled all over the world, and has lots of interesting stories to tell. Get a little Scotch in him, and he becomes almost as bombastic as I am.

When he was a boy on my Papaw's farm, a sow had some piglets. Virgil adopted one as a pet. He thought that the pig was smarter and more well-behaved and any dog he ever had. "That pig followed me around like a puppy. If I told it to 'sit,' it sat. If I said 'come here,' it came. If I told it to 'lay down,' it laid down. That was one smart pig."

The pig grew bigger and attracted my Papaw's eye. He put it in a wooden pen and started feeding it corn every day.

"I KNEW that my daddy liked my pig, because he put him in his own house, with a wooden floor covered with straw so that he didn't have to sleep on the ground anymore. He fed MY pig corn. MY pig didn't have to root for slops with the rest of the swine. MY pig was special."

Virgil's pig grew fat and happy.

Then, one Saturday morning, when the time was right, Papaw dragged that pig out of the pen, shot it in the head with a .38 pistol and butchered it. Virgil was heartbroken. "My daddy killed my pig and my family ATE IT."

Virgil wouldn't eat bacon for years after that traumatic incident.

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