Monday, July 16, 2012

Pork and Snake: It's What's For Dinner

(Reprinted from Sunday's Times and News-Star)

“Did I tell you I almost hit a pig coming to work yesterday?”

The lady was not talking to me, which was no surprise. No one talks to me unless the paper needs changing in the copy machine, or somebody needs a paper clip.

But when I overhear something like “I almost hit a pig” – really, when I hear pork-related discussion of almost any kind -- I pay attention. I am pro-pork. I know it. You know it. The American people know it. I have a special place in my heart for pork. A special place in my stomach too. A guy told me this week of a place in St. Louis that deep-fries the bacon on its BLTs. Finding that joint might be my vacation this year.

So anyway, she was saying “Did I tell you I almost hit a pig coming to work yesterday?” 

I wanted to correct her and mention that surely the pig was not coming to work, that she should have said, “Did I tell you that, as I was coming to work yesterday, I almost hit a pig?” But I felt a lesson about misplaced modifiers might mess up the flow of the story. Maybe even cause her to beat me up. I grew up around pigs and can say that when people are almost hit by one, they get testy.

Turns out, the pig was indeed not going to work. It was just crossing the rural road, hunting in the woods, rooting around.

“It was big as your desk, and almost as wide,” she said. “It was black. A big black pig. And it’s not quite daylight yet, you know?, and something’s just coming out in the road, out of the woods, well, it was like my mind wasn’t quite there yet. My awake mind is saying to my still sort of asleep mind, ‘That might be a pig you’re fixin’ to hit.

“It was! So I hit the other lane and I jumped and it jumped and then went back into the woods. There’s no telling how big that thing was.”

She relaxed for a moment, to let the story really sink in, to let our minds understand the ramifications: What if she HAD hit the pig? What if the pig really WAS going to work?, maybe even on its first day on a new job? What if it showed up today, looking for the person who almost hit it?

“I almost hit a pig,” she said again. (I wanted to ask her why she didn’t oink her horn. You can understand why I didn’t.)

While the pig got away clean, the rattlesnake in her life was not so lucky.

Realizing I was listening, and knowing I was interested in all things rural, she later sent me a picture of her mother-in-law holding a dead rattlesnake beside her so that it was as tall as she was. Mom was wearing a lime two-piece summer shorts set, had red clods on her feet and a .45 caliber in her free, non-snake-holding hand. A mutt named Lucy was looking on, somewhat curiously, probably making a mental note never to pee on this gal’s couch.

I pray Lucy is not as stupid as she looks.

It appears that between a pistol-packing in-law and a daily drive through boar-infested back roads, my friend who almost hit the pig is dealing with some clear environmental factors that could well qualify her for reality TV, should “Welcome To My Big Redneck Life” become interested.