Living in the Ozarks, we didn’t have the same worries as our city kin. It never occurred to us that an ax murderer would climb into the back seats of our cars and wait for us while we ran into Casey’s to pick up a pizza. We were unafraid of razor blades in Halloween apples. The government wasn’t covering up any conspiracy involving extraterrestrials.
But we all worried about the day our livestock would turn on us.
I’m not talking about some Orwellian animal rebellion. A chicken coop d’etat never seemed likely.
No, our fears were more primal than that. In our simple world, survival meant eat or be eaten, and we knew our perch at the top of the food chain was a precarious one at best.
People got maimed by bulls, kicked by horses and bitten by dogs, but the animal that worried us the most was the pig.
Though it never happened in my family, I know somebody who knows somebody whose uncle had a stroke in the pig pen. By the time his family members found him, the pigs had eaten so much of his face that his wedding ring was his only recognizable feature.
Acquaintances from neighboring towns have reported similar stories. Don’t turn your back on a pig, they say. Not unless you have some bizarre, porcine death wish.
Perhaps my mom was right in putting Spot and Smelvin in the freezer before they put us in the ground.