That Ol' Pig: Memories by Robert Shackles

Out back of our house,by the alley there was a building that is
rather hard for me to describe. To a young boy it had a good sized
garage at the ground level & a  loft built in the top,but you could only
get in the loft by climbing up a built in ladder on the out side. When
it would rain & we didn't have any boxes  we would all get up in the
loft and listen to it rain.  The loft  had a tin roof on it & if you
have ever been under a tin roof when it is raining, then you know the
attraction.  The tin roof leaked really bad & you just had to find you a
place where you wouldn't get wet.    I remember Percy had an old beat-up
umbrella that had a couple of pannels missing & sometimes he would bring
this along so he wouldn't have to move as  often. It was here we would
tell wild [made up] ghost stories.     One day  my father Clyde got a
pig from somebody & I suspect whoever it was gave it to him.   He &
Uncle Earl got some old iron bed post ends & fixed the lower garage into
a pen for this pig. All I remember about this pig is he was mostly white
& we had to feed him slop.   our job was to take buckets up the alley's
& get the slop before old Negro Sam got it.   Of course Kenneth, Freddy
, & I had worked with ol' Sam & we knew where the best slop stops were
at so we had an advantage.   Freddy didn;t  exactily like this job & he
didn't help much,but looking back who could blame  him.  I Think Uncle
Earl must have had half interest in this project because it was he who
would give us a penny once in a while when he would come to check on his
pig.    One day this ol' pig got to be a good sized hog & Clyde & Earl
was talking about selling him & Uncle Earl said something about [we may
have to ride him to market] Kidding of course.    That must have been
where we got the idea of playing cowboy & seeing  who could ride this
hog.  If you ever tried to ride a hog you know its not  an easy thing to
do as we were finding out.    We were making dares & double dares to
challenge each other to ride & we had that ol' hog really rilled up &
squealing & he had thrown every one of us in hog manure & slop.   Now
you can imagine what a mess we were in, but we were having a barrel of
fun.     All of a sudden that hog got his nose under that bed frame &
under it he went & down the road by Freddy's house.     We all got after
that hog & he got down in that deep  grader ditch just a block  below
Uncle Freds house &  this is where we penned him in.  There was no way
that six boys  could get that hog back in his pen, & in fact it took
Clyde, Uncle Fred, Albert & I think Homer all working up a lather to get
that hog back  in his pen.    Here's the way this story ends---Uncle
Fred sent Freddy & Percy home to get cleaned up & when Clyde got home we
had to [as we had done before]  go out and look for & cut our own
switch.  Now this had to be a switch that we would give considerable
consideration  to  in it's selection.  If it did not hold up Clyde would
finish the whipping  with his leather raizor strap & we did not want
that.   On the other hand if it was two large --Well you know what I'm
getting at!  Freddy & Percy said they had to scrub their overalls with
lye soap & a big brush  &  it had to pass Aunt Cora's inspection before
they could eat supper that night. I remember the day somefellas  ol'
pickup came & Clyde, Earl. & this fellow took that hog away.   I have no
idea where they sold him but Marie told me when I asked her years later
that Clyde & Earl got some booze & they never got home with the money.
I do remember things didn't improve at our house  & Marie still got
angry just talking about it. Well I never mentioned that ol' hog again