The Pig Caper
by Ed Grimes
In my last memory I talked about the tree. Now I would like to talk about how raising animals helped me to understand what responsibility was all about. I know I talked about the time we raised pigs, and how we used to let them pull my brother and me through the pasture and at the end of the day their tails would never curl again. I think I referred to that as pulling all the kinks out of their tails. You must understand that every animal we ever owned I truly loved them. I also understood at an early age how the system worked in terms of having food on the table.
Now back to the pigs. They are truly a very dirty animal. They will eat almost anything including the slop from the dinner table. Remember all meat eating animals will eat almost anything just to stay alive; that is just the way of nature taking care of itself. Human beings are really no different, except for one thing. We have a very complex brain and we can think. All other animals act on instinct and training but they cannot think logically like we can.
Again back to the pigs. Every year we had a new litter of pigs. At one point in time we probably had 20-30 pigs that we had to take care of. The female pigs were okay and gave us no problem but the male pigs were sometimes a little aggressive and being that they were full of testosterone, it was in the best interest of all concerned that they be castrated at an early age. Initially I didn’t understand what that meant. I sure learned in a hurry what it meant.
My foster dad was a Master of Everything and I learned a lot from him. He carefully explained what castration was and how it would make the pig more mellow and the meat that much more tender and eatable. I was 10 years old and didn’t fully comprehend what he was trying to say. So when he told me I had to help in the process, I was eager to lend a hand. My job was that, once the pig was caught – which was my brother’s job, it was put on its back and my foster father would have me hold its legs apart while he would put his knee on the pig’s throat and he would calmly cut out the pig’s testicles. We would then put a black antiseptic on the area of concern so as to combat any infection. I must say it worked because we never had a problem and the pigs would be up and about as if nothing happened.
The only problem I had with the process was how the pigs would squeal when the surgery was being performed. I literally could not stand it and I told my foster father how I felt. His only comment to me was that if it was me I would be squealing just as much. I have never forgotten that comment and that is one job that I never did like.
So much for being a farm boy, maybe that’s one of the reasons I became a correctional officer and retired from that at the rank of captain after 38 years. I know this life of a farmer is not easy but so many lessons of life are learned there. Got to go again but be sure to include God in your life, you can’t be wrong with that...