Who knew this was a thing. . .Walking a pig, that is.
Let me start at the beginning. Tomorrow, March 1st, is National Pig Day. This realization immediately reminded me of several things. A couple of years ago I read a memoir titled How To Walk A Pig and other lessons in country living by Steven Coffman, published in 1995. I picked it up from a free table at a local library and thoroughly enjoyed his tales of a city person adjusting to farm life. One story involved a pig he had to walk home from the neighbor’s house. It was pretty hilarious, but I never in my life imagined that walking a pig was a real thing.
Fast forward to Fall 2021 when we made our big trip out West. Between book marketing and sales events, we visited family along the way. While visiting Uncle Tom and Aunt Twyla in Nebraska, we had the opportunity to go up the road to their son, Terry’s, place. When we arrived, Terry’s son, Tyler was out walking his pig.
Yes, you heard me right. He was walking the pig. Turns out they were training the pigs for the fair and that’s part of it. You walk them. He had a switch and with a gentle touch the pig would walk and turn as Tyler wanted him to. I was amazed. Check out the picture I took! It was quite an investment of time as you need to walk them more than once a day.
You think that’s amazing? Listen to this. Those pigs were “potty-trained.” They would wait until they were taken out of their stalls and outside to do their business. I kid you not.
Pigs have been a curiosity to me since I was little, I guess. According to Grandma Jones’ favorite “Miriam Story,” I was unimpressed with what I had been told as a child. Apparently, when I was about five we visited the ranch and Grandma took us down to the barn. I stood at the fence and watched the pigs grunt and snuffle around for a bit, then announced, “Pigs don’t say oink!”
I also loved Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. But they never said anything about training Wilbur to follow directions before the fair. Maybe if they had he would have won first place. I guess it wasn’t in the plot.
So, tomorrow, remember to celebrate pigs. We will celebrate with pulled pork sandwiches.
Don’t tell Wilbur.