More than a few years ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to raise pigs. Don't ask me why. It makes no sense to me now, but it did then. We purchased a lovely Yorkshire pig named Wilma. She had many husbands named Fred all of whom died tragically in a butcher shop accident. Anyhow, this particular year we had bought four gilts (young female pigs) and let Fred have a harem. Ultimately, we ended up with more than 60 darling pink and white piglets. Little did we know that they had a strong criminal gene.
Shortly after the gilts and Wilma had farrowed, we decided we needed a short vacation. We recruited our friend Tony to check in on the girls and feed them twice a day. They knew him well and so we just knew it would be an uneventful week. We packed the van, loaded up the children, and off we went, merrily to Dillsboro for a few days of R and R.
The second day, we returned to find a message on the chalk board mounted on our cabin's front door. It was short and sweet: "Call home immediately, please!"
My husband rushed to the lodge manager's office, and called home, thinking that the house had burned to the ground or we had been robbed. If only it had been that easy.
When he returned to the cabin, he was wiping his eyes.
"Oh no!" I thought. "Someone is dead..."
Then he sat down, his head in his hands, and his shoulders were shaking. By now I was beside myself trying to think of what could be so terrible. My parents? His? The house? What?
Finally, I couldn't stand it. "What is wrong?" I demanded.
He lifted his head and I realized he had laughed so hard he was still weeping.
"It is the pigs," he struggled to say and he collapsed into giggles again.
"Yeah; they got out."
"And ran down the road."
He chuckled, struggling to maintain some composure.
"And broke into Paul's store. Knocked the door clear off the hinges, according to the Highway Patrol."
He fell back into the chair and started laughing uncontrollably.
"Then they preceeded to eat an entire bushel of tomatoes in a box on the floor, knocked over the bread counter and ate all the bread. Then, they ran out on the Parkway."
By this time I was sitting and giggling.
"Is that all? Is everyone okay and back home?" I asked.
"Nopers. It gets worse.. or better... it really depends on who you ask."
"What!??" I demanded.
"The State Police, the Blue Ridge Parkway Rangers, and the County Sheriff's deputies are trying to wrangle the pigs off the road, but they can't seem to get all of 'em in one place at one time. Traffic is stopped on the Parkway while they chase the pigs. Seems it has created quite a mess. Tony thinks we need to come home to get the pigs in."
He was laughing so hard that he couldn't finish his sentence.
"Well? Does anyone know whose pigs they are? Are we going home?"
He lifted an eyebrow and wiped away another tear.
"What do you think? If we stay here, no one will know they are OUR pigs. Maybe things will calm down by the time we get home. What do you say?"
"Fine by me; how about BBQ for dinner?"
Even now, I have visions of 60-plus pigs, mouths ringed in tomatoes, wearing black shirts and masks holding up cars on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Did I mention that we no longer have pigs?