The Smithfield Hog

    One of the many jobs I have had involved prospecting for small community stores in which to sell the food product my company produced.  Quite often this would lead out in some country road I would not travel otherwise.  The sights to be seen were always interesting and were usually specific to the area in which I found myself.
    For instance, take Smithfield, Virginia.  Everyone knows this area is famous for its hog production and the Smithfield meat processing plant.   In this area, every house  had two pens on their property, one was for the hogs they raised to sell on the market and the other was for the dogs they used to hunt.  However, sometimes there would be a third sight that could not be ignored:  the pet hog that stayed in the front yard.  
    It would be in a smaller sty or tied to a stake with a shelter like you might see in a neighborhood where a dog would be confined in a similar fashion.  But this pet was not canine, it was definitely porcine.  With this in mind, please believe me when I tell you at first I was not  surprised when one day while working in this area, I saw at a distance what turned out to be one of the strangest sights I have ever seen the closer I got.  
    I looked up the road and saw at a distance a man walking with a cane, leading what appeared to be a large dog attached to a leash.  Mind you, there is nothing odd about that, except for the gait with which they both walked.  The man had a limp that was apparent every other step and the large dog like animal had a limp that resulted from what appeared to be a game hind leg.  My curiosity got the better of me and I had to see what was going on here.
    Driving my car up to them, I realized the dog like animal was, in fact, a hog on a leash.  As I said before, this was no big deal as this was probably the man’s pet hog.  What shocked my senses was that the hog had a wooden prostheses attached where his right hind leg was normally.    The prostheses went all the way up to the hip and was attached with leather straps around the hog’s torso.  
    As I drove up to this interesting sight, I rolled down my window and said, “That is some hog you have there, sir.”
    “Yep,” was his only reply.
    At this point, I heard myself burst out one of the most inane comments I have ever made in my life,”Excuse me, mister, but your hog has a wooden leg!”
    Again, the man’s comment was,”Yep.”
    “Well, that’s some hog,” was my only reply.
    The man leaned against my car and said, “He sure is.  Now how about you climb outen your car and I’ll tell you jest how special he is.”
    Again my curiosity got the better of me.  Being on a back country road, I did not think if I stopped where I was, that I would be causing much of a traffic problem, so I turned off the ignition and stepped out of the car bracing myself for a long saga about this hog, which it was.
    “Fust of all, le’ me tell you that this hog saved my life and my wife’s life, too,” the man stated with obvious pride,”This here is one damn special hog.”
    “He’s al’ays been a pet, in his sty in the front yard, so one night as me and the missus went to bed we didn’t think anything of it.  During the night, somehow a fire broke out in our house and this hog busted outen his sty, ran up the poach steps, busted in the house,  up the staiahs to the second story and woke us up in our bedroom so’s we could get outen the house jest in the nick o’ time.  Yep, that is one damn special hog.”
    “Well, did he hurt his leg doing all that?” I asked.
    “No, why would you think that?” was his quizzical reply.
    For the second time in such a short while I made the infamous comment, “Mister, your hog has a wooden leg!”
    The man gave me a look of sullen disappointment, and shaking his head said, “Damn boy, don’t you know nothin’?  When you have a hog special like this un, you don’t eat him all at once.”

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