Lifes Coloring Book A column by Suzi Walls for The Daily Herald

Walzie loves pigs. Now, I’m sure there will be a few smart-alecs out there thinking, “Yeah, that’s why he’s still with that redheaded porker”. Well, just knock it off; that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean those porcine critters that give us sausage, bacon, ham, and pork chops.
We don’t have a farm, but Walzie thinks we do. He decided that it would be great to raise our own hog and butcher it. But, Walzie rationalized that it doesn’t cost any more to raise ten hogs than it does to raise one. So in our little ramshackle shed we call a barn, Walzie sectioned off a box stall for ten little pigs. Cute little oinkers … while they are little; but boy, do pigs ever grow fast.
We had a mixture of sows and boars (girl and boy pigs). The boys needed to be neutered. Supposedly, that would keep them even-tempered. I never could quite figure that one out. Cut my bottom and my even-temperament would skyrocket to the moon. Besides that, don’t the girls get PMS?
So neutering day came. Walzie and his buddy, Ralph disappeared inside the barn. As an unwilling witness, I stayed on the back porch. Knowing full well what was happening to those poor little boy pigs, I cringed with each squeal. Soon the faux-veterinarians emerged with a plastic bag filled with country oysters. Now, I am fairly adventurous and will taste almost anything, but no, no, no, not that. I fed them to the barn cats.
Nearly all the little pigs fared well through the neutering, all except one. The poor little guy developed an infection in his behind. Have you ever wanted to rub salve on a pig’s butt? Well, neither did I, but I got elected for that daily chore. Actually, I did have a choice: hold the pig or rub the salve. Walzie has more muscle – he held; I rubbed; little pig squealed. Day in and day out, until four days into the routine, Porky escaped.
We searched all through the woods behind our house, around the local farmer’s fields, and combed the neighborhood shouting, “soo-eee, pig, pig, pig”. Porky didn’t answer. We figured he was a goner.
Several days later, our neighbor lady called. “There is a strange looking creature lying in the stream by my house. Maybe it’s your lost pig?”
It was.
Walzie high-tailed it to the stream. Porky saw him coming. He ran through the brush and the brambles; no way was he returning to be tortured at the Walls’ dungeon. Finally, he cornered Porky in the mud wallow where he had been holed up. Walzie pounced on him. Now, just imagine a two hundred pound guy, wrestling a fifty-pound greasy pig in a mud wallow.
When I saw Walzie carrying Porky home, I nearly split a gut. The only way I could tell them apart was because Porky squealed louder than Walzie.  But at least our little pig was home. And guess what? The mud had healed his behind.
So for eight more months, Porky and his friends lived the life of Riley. We had access to all the tainted milk the local farmers were throwing away and pigs thrive on milk mixed with mash. They quickly became ready to be prime whole hog sausage.
Ever try to load ten two hundred pound squealing pigs into the back of a pick-up truck? ‘Taint an easy task. Walzie pulled, I pushed, and got knocked into the pig poo half a dozen times, but finally we got them loaded. Nine went to the sale barn; Porky went to the slaughterhouse.
The custom butcher shop was in Altoona near the high school. Yeah, in the city. You won’t believe what happened next. When we unloaded Porky, he took one whiff of that slaughterhouse and jumped the gate. Porky escaped again, running up the alley behind the butcher shop. I ran after the pig. Walzie ran around the street and cut him off at the end of the block. Porky spun around and charged me. I dove atop a parked car. The butcher, armed with a rifle, ended Porky’s charge. Do that in Altoona today!
You know, I really felt bad the first time I unwrapped a package of Porky, after all, we’d been through so much together. But then I tasted the sausage; it was the best ever. I’ve never looked back. T-t-t-hats all folks!

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