They’ve got it all backwards, you know.
City slickers think that country folk are odd and uncouth. Downright peculiar. They watch our comings and goings with distain— shaking their heads like bobblehead dogs.
Trust me. If we seem strange, we have good reason.
Take the other night for example. It was 2:00 am. The world was sound asleep. I was alone, trudging from the farmhouse across the barnyard toward the pig hut, carrying a newborn potbelly pig.
Well—I wasn’t really carrying the piglet. The critter had crawled up my shoulder and gotten beneath my hood. There he rode, squealing horribly while trying to nurse my earlobe. I couldn’t stop him, since my hands were full of a flashlight and pig paraphernalia. By the time I fumbled my way into the hog pen, I was nearly deaf from the piglet’s ranting.
The sow grumbled at me from the corner of her shed, but soon quieted as I pushed the piglet up against her to nurse. She didn’t lunge at me like I expected. Sows can be fiercely protective and I wasn’t sure how this one would react, but I knew that for the sake of her baby, I had to try something new. I pulled out a small container and showed it to Mama. She grumbled, again, clearly questioning my sanity.
“Come now,” I said reasonably. “If we can milk cows, we can milk sows.”
She wasn’t so sure.
“If we store up your first milk for your baby, he won’t die like all your other ones—You understand?”
But I was done trying to talk sense into her. I had a job to do.
The sow rumbled at me some more, at last agreeing at my insistence. A stream of milky colostrums shot from her like the stream of a water pistol, narrowly missing my eye. I soon got the knack of it, and a flow of milk began drizzling into the small bucket.
As I milked the sow, the piglet nursed away, shivering fiercely. I felt sorry for him— but barely.
“If you’re cold, it’s your own fault,” I told him. I had fashioned him a nice little sweater out of my sock, but he wouldn’t wear it. Had a fit, he did. A little piggy temper tantrum—throwing himself onto the floor with his legs extended. He screamed and shrieked for two full minutes until I finally relented and took the little sweater off of him. I’d ruined one of my best socks—for nothing.
The ungrateful porker!
And now, to keep him from freezing to death like his siblings, I had to carry him into the house every night. It was getting to be quite an ordeal. I sighed. That’s what happens when piglets are born out of season.
The piglet seemed to be about finished, now, so I wrapped him up and carried him and the milk back into the house. Wearily, I went to bed, but was up early to tend to the piglet.
At times, I took him to nurse from his Mama so she wouldn’t forget about him, but the rest of the time I fed him milk from the bottle. My goal was to raise the fragile fellow to be a good size before turning him back over to his Mama—so she wouldn’t trample him beneath her feet.
But alas—it wasn’t meant to be.
The crisis occurred one evening, just before I went to my town job (where I care for an elderly lady, overnight). Putting my suitcase in the van, I was heading out the driveway, when I heard a commotion coming from the pig hut.
“The Mama stepped on the piggy!” my daughter shrieked from the doorway of the hog hut.
I stopped the mini-van and ran to the hog pen. The piglet was lying on his side, with his head cocked at a weird angle. He was still alive, but was squealing pitifully. I could tell at a glance he was in trouble.
“Take him to the house,” I told my daughter. “Then get Granny to help you. You’ve got to put him out of his misery or something. I have to get to work right now. I’m going to be late!”
Crying and broken-hearted, my daughter carried the piglet away. I drove off down the driveway. Drat! Why did this have to happen just when I was leaving! Neither my daughter, nor her tender-hearted Granny would be able to handle this situation well. But what could I do? I had no cell phone with which to monitor the situation. I’d have to think of something else.
I was several miles down the road when it occurred to me. I knew just what to do. I’d flag down my country neighbor, Lila, who should be coming home from work any minute, now. She’d be glad to help out with the piggy crisis.
But first, I’d need a good flag.
My hand fumbled in my overnight bag, and came out with some pink pajamas. Not the best choice for a flag, but it was certainly better than a brassiere or pantyhose.
I pulled out the pajama bottoms and held them by the window, watching the approaching cars intently. Drivers and motorists peered at me just as intently as I was staring at them. Every car seemed just like my neighbor’s, so I ended up flashing the pajamas at more than one startled driver. But at last my diligence paid off. I saw my friend’s car coming down the road.
At the moment, we were passing through town, and there happened to be a busload of people behind me. But business is business. And I had to do what I had to do. I unfurled my pink pajamas and flapped them out the window. My friend, Lila, took notice. So did a lot of the townsfolk, and the busload of people.
Lila slowed her car and came to a halt…right outside the Quick Stop. Right there by the post office.
Tucking my pink pajamas back inside, I got out of the mini-van. No one seemed impressed with my performance, nor with the urgent nature of my request—except for my country neighbor, Lila. She was all sympathy. She’d weathered a few farm crises, herself, and had seen a few pigs die and a few kids cry. Farm folk always know just what to do.
“Don’t you worry,” Lila said. “I’ll take care of things!”
And I knew she would. You can count on Country Folk in a pinch. They don’t stand there with their eyebrows up, shaking their heads in disdain. They get things done.
Ignoring the gawking townsfolk, I bid my country neighbor goodbye and got into my mini-van. With pink pajamas back in my suitcase, I headed on down the road, leaving the city-slickers in my exhaust fumes. I looked at them in my rearview mirror, making note of their poor mental state.
Sure enough. It was happening again.
They can’t help themselves, the unfortunates. Their heads were wobbling about like bobblehead dogs.
Mmm-hmm. I always knew it. Cityfolk are downright peculiar.