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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Of Mice and Men and Pigs

A couple of weeks ago I visited the local family-owned hardware store for mouse traps. It's not that I saw any mice, but I saw a few droppings and I heard the chewing in the walls. We've learned the hard way that mice travel in troops, and when the weather changes, they find their way indoors for shelter. David is a masterful mouse-trap setter, but he has one type of trap he prefers, so I'm a picky buyer. While I hate killing the little rodents, they do carry fleas and ticks that harbor Lime Disease, so I feel I must keep my family and my dogs safe. Spring loaded traps kill quickly and humanely, whereas poison can be eaten by dogs or kids. For a week thereafter, we caught a mouse a day.

I love hardware stores, and this one is particularly wondrous, full of nuts, bolts, tools, small appliances, fertilizer, and most delightfully, an indoor farmers' market. That day there was a special treat: the owner brought his pet pot-belly pig. I've never "met" a pig before, so I asked permission to scratch her behind her ears. When I did, she had a surprise for me--she fell over on her side as if dead.

Of course, I was appalled. I thought I'd killed her. Turns out she just loves to be scratched and that's her way of showing her enthusiasm. Her owner explained that she is very smart, smarter than a dog, and very clean.

Which brings to mind another neighborhood pig. This one is made of concrete. The story is that one brother gave the other a silly gift. The second brother, wishing to "get back" at his sibling, retaliated with this concrete pig, thinking that he was really "pimping" his brother by giving him something so hard to move. But the second brother had a playful streak, so instead of moving the pig and getting rid of it, he set it out in his front yard. Now he changes the pig's wardrobe and setting to match the seasons.

I love this pig. I've forgotten it's name, but I take my dogs on daily walks around the pig to see its seasonal changes. I've told the family how much joy they have given me.

That's something I love, the unintended positive consequences of living an interesting life. I'm sure that Brother #2 wasn't thinking, "Boy, will I make Joanna Slan's day." He was just doing this thing. But he has made my day. I enjoy his sense of humor.

As they say in the South, "I'm with the pig."

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