Monday, September 13, 2010

Pig Tales

If you've been visiting in these parts for a while, you might have already gleaned that, tho I was a bright child, I was inquisitive and daring way past the point of common sense. Being a mother now myself, I know that's a fairly normal state of affairs for kids but I often fell short of 'normal.' The pig we purchased is an excellent example.

When I was about nine years old, my Italian mom decided we needed to get a pig. Not a living pig (if that were the case I would have probably begged for a horse too, which I truly trusted I could keep alive and well in our basement.) No, she did not want a living pig. She didn't even want a whole pig. She wanted half a dead pig. So off we went, mom and dad and I, to get half a dead pig.

We drove into the country and pulled onto a dirt driveway which ended at the opening of a pretty rough looking barn that had a huge opened double door. Mama and dad got out and went to the farmhouse which was next to the barn. I stayed in the back seat of the car. If my folks had known what I was about to witness, surely they would have taken me inside the house with them.

I sat in that car wondering how you get a half a pig when suddenly a man came to the opened double door of that barn. I do not remember what exactly led up to it, but there was also a huge pig on a huge chain. Some way or a nuther, that chain hoisted that pig into the air. Before I could say, "holy ham hocks, Robin!!" that pig gave one long and loud shriek as a big power tool thingy came down on him. He was rather quickly split in half from the middle of his ham ass end to his snout, the tail having been spared being split and, instead, hung there in its entirety on one of the sides.

They loaded our half pig into the trailer attached to the back of our car, mama and dad came out of the farmhouse, and off we went. But not before I noticed something delightful.
We got the half with the tail.

We pulled into our driveway, our half pig in tow, and a good dozen of our relatives standing there waiting to help unload the pig. It was taken into our basement (I was kind of glad at that point that I didn't have a horse down there. God only knows what those Italians would have done to it.) The women retreated to the kitchen and through the next few days, they boiled, chopped, steamed and stuffed various pig body parts that had been handed to them from the basement.

The men were a bloody mess, but happy. The women laughed as they did their culinary miracles. And I stood around making a promise to myself (one that I vigorously kept, much to my parents' dismay) that not one iota of that pig would enter my mouth.

But my real focus was on that tail. I wanted it. Badly. It was was not curled into a spiral the way I always believed a pig's tail to be. It was rather straight. No matter. I desired to own that pig's tail more than I had ever wanted anything in my life.

"Aunt Mary, can I have that tail?" I asked.

"You needa aska you mama."

"Ma!" I yelled as a ran up those stairs, taking them two at a time.

"Aunt Mary says to ask you if I can have that pig tail."

"What would you do with it? No, you can't have that. Besides, I'm going to use it to lard pans."

I went down the stairs to where the 'butchering' was taking place and saw that someone, probably Uncle Tony, had cut the tail off of the pig. It lay there on the table. Pink. Rather straight. Calling my name.

I grabbed it and slowly walked up the stairs and into hallway and took a washcloth from the linen closet. Once in my bedroom, I wrapped the tail in the cloth, opened my underwear drawer and stuck that tail as far back into there as I could, covering it with a bunch of panties after.

Of course, there were questions as to where the tail went. Of course I was staunchly accused of taking it. Of course I staunchly lied and said I did not, that the dog must have eaten it. (Poor dog, who was not allowed in the house during this entire process, got the blame for lots and lots of things I did back then.)

Eventually, they forgot about the tail. Only thing was, I forgot about it too.

Fast forward about two weeks or so. Sho'nuff, I'm digging through my drawer and what to I come upon? Yup. A rolled up washcloth with a pig's tail in it. It was no longer pink. In fact, it was no longer solid. It was hollow and empty. Except for the maggots inside.

There was no cry for mama to help me clean out the disgusting thing. The punishment for disobeying, stealing and lying about it would have been far worse than cleaning up a rotted, hollow, maggot infested pig's tail from my pantie drawer.

Did I learn a lesson from this? No, not really. I mean, how often does one get the opportunity to stuff a pig's tail in one's underwear drawer?

I think it may be a once in a lifetime event. And that's plenty enough.


  1. I'm weeping with laughter!

    I am inspired to write an "animal tail" story on my blog by this recollection. You kill me. And yes, I do have an animal tail tale. I'll see if I feel like I can write about it in the next few days...what are the chancces.

    i also remember animals being cleaned and treated when I was growing up. We would go hunting. Or fishing. we used to smoke salmon or cut up a whole deer in the fall in our garage. Having an animal hanging in the garage seemed normal to me.

    This reminds me, have I ever told you i love canning and preserving foods? I haven't done any canning since being in Chicago I really should though. I find mass food preparation a kind of meditation, if you will.

    big hugs and thanks for visiting my blog!


  2. Oh Candy, it's so good to see you here! I am looking forward to hearing your pig tail story! (Why do animal tails fascinate us??)

  3. Oh goodness ladies. I have never had any of this happen to me but love reading about it.. Hope all is well. i have been busy but not as busy as I was a week ago.. Take care and hugs too....


Go ahead, you can do it! Just whistle if you want me. You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and BLOW....

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