When I was younger, we lived on a crop and cattle farm about five miles north of a little town named Martinsburg. We would occasionally get a dime here and a quarter there from relatives, or for some small job accomplished. The main thing we worked for, and saved our money for, was that once-in-a-blue moon trip to town that also happened to coincide with the point at which we had saved enough money to buy ourselves some candy. These days our kids seem to always have candy on hand, or it’s at least easily accessible. But for a farm kid with frugal parents in the 1980’s? Not so much. Let’s just say my brother and I could identify pretty closely with “The Little House on the Prairie” TV show, where half-pint gets one piece of candy a year for Christmas, along with a tin cup of her very own. My parents would probably argue with me, but I’m stickin’ to my guns on that one. Mostly because it’s my only excuse for the fateful decision that led to this story.
I have to admit, Fall and I have a love/hate relationship. I’m a summer girl. I live for the long nights, campfires, float trips, rodeos, trail rides, swimming, going barefoot, and everything else that comes with summer. I’m even OK with the sultry, hot days, and the bugs. Can’t have the good without the bad, right? And I’ll take summer however it decides to present itself.
But here’s the thing. I don’t have that attitude about winter. I loath it. I mean really, when people mention Fall to me, and talk dreamily of how beautiful and wonderful it is, I tend to roll my eyes and think “Who cares about fall, it’s only that harbinger of my old nemesis…winter…” As far as I’ve always been concerned, fall is a perfect example of guilt by association. I try to like it, but it’s just not happening for me. I’ve always been good at staying positive, and looking on the bright side. Until it comes to fall. I can’t even see the trees turning color without thinking “they’re only doing that because they’re getting ready to lose all their leaves….for winter…”
This past weekend was the weekend. Weaning day. It’s always fun and exciting, gathering our small herd of cattle on horseback and pushing them the mile or so down the road to our home pasture and our working pens. On this morning our good buddy Kenneth was there to help.
When I was a little girl of about 8 years old, we raised hogs. Not just a few here and there, but lots, and lots of hogs. I have no idea how many, I was 8. Still, I know there were LOTS of HOGS on our farm. Along with cattle, and sheep and horses, and other furry critters. But this story has to do with our porcine, curly tailed friends, the piggies.
On this clear, beautiful October day in Missouri, it was time to take a load of hogs to the auction barn and sell them. My older brother and I were excited at the prospect of a trip to town and a chance to get off the farm.