Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pig Show

The rains finally came. We had experienced a very long dry spell in southwest Arkansas so the sound of a long, slow summer rain was welcome that night. And the heavenly moisture continued steadily most of the next day, the day we were scheduled to watch our granddaughter show her pig at the Four States Fair. We took the back roads to Texarkana and enjoyed watching the pastures spring into appreciative greenness after the prolonged brown of drought. The creeks were full, the roads were wet and from time to time I felt the tug of potential hydroplaning.

We found a parking place, not an ideal one, at the show barns and slogged through the happy mud to the arena. After finding what passed for a restroom (yuk), we located chairs and watched the familiar process of a swine show. The judge was a kind of ringmaster and he relished describing what he was looking for in a pig. To the layman, it was surprising that there are so many attributes to consider. In most cases, the judge would say, “None of these pigs is perfect.” That probably goes without saying. If there were a perfect pig, the animal would doubtless be walking on gold. But apparently there were some porcine performers close to perfection. These were usually bulging-hipped, broad chested, full-bellied porkers, controlled by enthusiastic and very competitive handlers. The animals were their friends and they were eager to bring out the best side of their project.

The most gratifying part of the show, aside, of course, from our granddaughter’s exemplary performance in the ring, was watching the few children who were different from the majority. It was wonderful to see the support these special kids received from their families and it was particularly gratifying when they won well-earned recognition for their work with the animals.

Well, our granddaughter’s category began at 9 a.m. and we were in attendance shortly after then. She did not show until early afternoon. I am a lunch-lover and my wife has developed an appreciation for a noon-day repast as well. My stomach began to groan at about 11:30 but it was almost 2 p.m. before I could obey its prompting. We gave our granddaughter a fond and congratulatory goodbye and headed out in the rain. Being recreational eaters, we had already decided which establishment would be graced with two elderly people with large appetites. We enjoyed our lunch very much, discussing how wonderful the agricultural activity of showing animals is, how good it is for kids, how different it is from inner-city activities. It is so much better to show an animal than to act like one. (Now, I know that there are good clean activities in the city, too, and that many city kids do not act like animals and some country kids do. That needed to be said.)

We drove home in the rain and even went to sleep listening to the rain once again. Today, however, the rain is gone and the clouds have cleared. It is cool. Cool in more ways than one!

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