This Little Piggy Went to the Market, This One Stayed Home
Oink! Oink! A New Pet
The winter of 1955 was one of the coldest that I can remember. It was a brisk January morning and the North wind was blowing and whistled through tall Pines along the ridges above the mill village finding little resistance as it came with a fury through the hollows surrounding our mill village of Tuxedo, North Carolina. Lake Summit,the small lake owned by what is now Duke Energy, was partially frozen over as were many of the streams and even our little Green River which feeds into the lake had frozen over. I don't know if this winter was the coldest winter ever but the cold days and long nights were difficult at best for everyone.
The mill owned houses were built of rough lumber and rather open. Most had fireplaces and chimneys that could be modified to accommodate wood heaters. None of the houses had any insulation and the cracks around the doors made it easy for rats to sneak inside.There were no storm doors or windows and to keep precious heat inside. Bedroom windows were covered on the inside with blankets or some other fabric and doors sealed with old newspapers. Our beds had extra blankets and quilts to keep us warm and in our bedroom there were two beds, one my sisters slept in and the other me and my brother shared. I have heard from listening to older men talk about earlier times, the Green was frozen solid during several winters at the crossing on US 25 where it enters the lake, thick enough for a team of horses and wagon to cross over without breaking through the ice.
The mountain laurel along the hill sides shook in the wind and were all green adding color contrast to the barrenness of hardwoods which had long shed their leaves. The leaves of the laurels which now resembled a tiporillo cigar were curled tightly as if cringing to retain any warmth that might be gleaned from the morning sun just rising in the East. Daddy had gone to the community barn as he did every morning to milk our cow and also a cow that was owned by a neighbor. He also had fed our hogs in the pen now full grown and ready to butcher. Daddy which would soon kill these hogs and it wouldn't be long before the smell of tenderloin or fresh sausage cooking mama's Roman Eagle wood cook stove would summons us from our bed for hot biscuits and a breakfast that would fill our tummies.
The sound of daddy scuffing his boots outside let us know he had finished his morning chores and would soon be back in the house more than ready for some hot coffee and breakfast and to warm himself by the wood heater in the living room. When dad came in he smiled at us as he set the milk pail full of fresh milk down on the table. Our interest was immediately captured as he showed us a baby piglet he had wrapped in a burlap feed bag. Daddy always had a tender heart and I could decipher a sadness in his voice as he told us how the old sow had dropped a litter of piglets and this little fellow, the runt of the litter, was the sole survivor. Dad said the sow had rolled over onto the piglets shortly after giving birth and had crushed all but this little feller. He had brought him home to nourish with a baby bottle.We named the little pig Porky and he soon became our new pet.
We each took turns feeding Porky and he lived in a card board box in our living room. He was cute. All pink and without much hair with a wet nose. We loved this little pig and as best as we could kept his new home lined with old newspapers. Seems like Porky grew very fast and after about three months was taken back to the pen near the old barn. We never forgot Porky who eventually grew into a large hog. Later that winter dad did slaughter him. It was bittersweet for us but as country kids, we all knew this would become Porky's fate. It is easy to become attached to pets and we did have a certain bond with Porky. I suppose we enjoyed eating some of the meat from Porky but by then, the times around the living room cuddling this poor little animal were just a happy memory.
I guess many of us were told the story of the three little pig when we were youngsters. Maybe it was a bedtime story our parents told us sitting around an old wood stove or on a rainy day when we were housebound and couldn't get outside to play. One of my favorites was The Three Little Pigs. You remember how they each left home and built house of various materials, straw, sticks and brick. The houses were all successfully built and no doubt each little pig was a happy camper in their new homes.
The story brings out a villain, the Big Bad Wolf!! You know the story. A lot of huffing and puffing and blowing down yer house and then one by one snatching each of the first two of the little pigs. The third little pig built his house out of bricks. No amount of huffing and puffing by the big bad wolf was successful in blowing down this little pig's house. The crafty old wolf attempted descending down the chimney but the wise little pig had a pan of boiling water on the stove and the big bad wolf soon found out he was in a world hurt and ran off into the woods never to be heard of again. The third little pig found his two brothers who had been hidden by the big bad wolf in a cave and rescued them. Of course, they lived happily ever after.There are a few more details I left out but I think you know the story.
I love telling my grandchildren stories and sometimes I just make them up. my granddaughters who are now one year and twenty months enjoy This Little Piggy Went to Market. Both are learning to talk and when I get to "Wee Wee all the way home, they both repeat that line. So cute!.
- This Little Piggy by Mother Goose - Poetry Foundation
This little piggy went to market,
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