My subject today is PIGS.
What in the world can I say about pigs? Well, I’m going to start where many people start.
This little piggy went to market; this little piggy stayed home; this little piggy had bread and milk; this little piggy had none; this little piggy cried wee, wee, wee all the way home.
I was raised on a farm. I remember how exciting it was to see a new pig litter, and get to hold one of those small pink wiggling, squiggling, squealing animals. On our farm the pigs lived near the barn, they rooted in the mud, and they ate slop. In various versions of “the little piggy” some ate roast beef, a piece of meat , or bread and milk. Slop sounds repulsive, but as I look back, our pigs “slop” was not a lot different from my “leftovers.” Leftovers watered down doesn’t sound nearly so bad, does it? I remember too that they ate lots of corn on the cob. But they definitely were not treated like they are in modern pig nurseries!
A few years ago I was in Colorado visiting my mother and her husband, Lee, (whom she married after my daddy passed away). Their version of cruising main street was to drive out to the pig nursery. How surprised I was! There were rows of immaculate buildings. Lee told me how many pigs were in them. I can’t remember but it was thousands, maybe 5 or 6 thousand. There was no odor, no noise, no indication of any life in there! They told me that one had to don gowns and white gloves to work in the place. Thousands of pigs with a goal of providing bacon, ham, and sausage to people like me, and in the process make a living for the people who knew how to keep six thousand pigs fed, clean, quiet, and healthy.
Oh, there was another reason for raising those pigs. That was to provide the brooder sows and happy boars to raise more pigs!
Do you know why small savings accounts are called piggy banks? That may have originated in the middle ages, when “pygg” referred to a type of clay used to make containers to hold their money. They were called pygg jars. It is logical to believe that that may have evolved to our piggy banks. The picture above is a pygg jar (piggy bank) from the 14 or 15th century. (Wikipedia)
Since Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, philosophers have been asking what are we here for. I would say there are several reasons we are here. One is to populate the earth. Another might be to be useful, as a line from a communion hymn says, to be “broken and poured out” for the sake of others.
So what are the options for a pig? Whether you’re raised in a pig nursery or on a pig farm, you are likely doomed to become bacon, roast, or ham. (Oh, yes, a few are brooder sows and happy boars!)
Now about options for people. Some folks think life in the piggy nursery sounds pretty good. Pay off is to not work, no mud, plenty of food, and piggy vets catering to your every mood.
But me? Give me the freedom of the humble farm pig. Perhaps a little farm kid will think I’m beautiful! Slop is pretty much what the farmer leaves, and once in a while I get good corn seeds. Good wet mud in the blazing sun, and seeing the moon when the day is done.
Let me see my descendants to the third and fourth generation. Let me be broken and poured out for them and for others. Let me live the good life of work and love and have the selflessness to leave something more than I have received. Thankfully I’m a person instead of a pig; I have hope of becoming more than bacon, roast, and ham!