I was sitting at the supper table the other day enjoying some leftovers from a ham dinner, when I was reminded of my neighbor Billy Carpenter from back home. Poor William – not exactly the brightest bulb on the coast.
Anyway, it came to pass that one day, a distant relative died and for some reason left Billy a prize-winning sow. Now, as I said, Billy didn’t come with a full set of rafters, meaning he would have had trouble making himself a ham and Swiss sandwich, let alone trying to figure out what to do with a prize pig.
He discussed his problem with his neighbor, Tink Billings, who told Billy he should make plans to breed his prize-winning pig and before long he’d have lots of valuable piglets to sell for lots of money.
Billy agreed that was a fine idea, but he didn’t know how to breed a pig. Tink told Billy to call Merrill Minzy, who just happened to own a prize-winning boar.
“It’ll be easy,” Tink said. “Just put your sow in your pickup, drive her down to Merrill’s house, and just put her in the boar’s pen.” Tink assured Billy that he wouldn’t have to worry any more about it once he’d done that. “Those two pigs will take it from there,” Tink said.
So, after making arrangements, Billy took his sow and put her into the front seat of his pickup. He figured a prize-winning sow shouldn’t be riding in the back of a pickup like an ordinary animal because there’s just no telling what might happen.
Anyway, Billy drove her over to Merrill’s place, where he and Merrill guided the special sow down into the pen of Merrill’s prize-winning boar. The two men then went up to the kitchen for some coffee and a little conversation, and, of course to give the sow and the boar a little privacy.
After a couple of hours, Billy went back down to the pen and retrieved his sow, put her into his pickup and drove her home. He then put her back in her own pen and went up to his house for dinnah.
Now, like I said before, Billy never seemed able to get both his oars in the water, so when he awoke the next morning he just assumed he’d see a healthy bunch of prized piglets down in the sows pen. He was anxious to sell them as soon as he could. Instead, he found nothing in the pen but the sow standing there wagging her curly tail.
Now Merrill had told Billy that he’d be away on business for a week or so, but he would leave word with his farmhands that Billy could bring his sow back, if necessary, any time he wanted.
Undeterred by the previous morning’s setback, Billy put his sow back in his pickup, drove back to Merrill’s place, put the pig back in the boar’s pen and waited in his pickup, listening to talk radio and drinking coffee.
A few hours later, Billy retrieved his sow, drove her home and, again, put her back in her pen. The next morning he was even more anxious, He jumped out of bed and ran down to the pen to check out his valuable new piglets.
Once again, he found nothing but the sow.
Undeterred, Billy put his sow in the pickup, drove back to Merrill’s farm, put her in the boar’s pen and left her for over six hours this time, figuring it was ample time to get the job done. Next morning, he found nothing in the sow’s pen but the sow. He was starting to get discouraged, but he got up and performed the same routine for the next six days. Finally on the sixth morning, Billy was so tired and discouraged that he didn’t even have enough strength to get out of bed, so he asked his wife, Esther, to go check the sow’s pen for piglets.
About 20 minutes later, Esther was back upstairs with the latest news. She had gone down to the pen to check for piglets like Billy had asked, but found, once again, the pen piglet-free.
“However,” she added, “the sow is sitting in the front seat of your pickup all ready to go.”
John McDonald is the author of six books on Maine, including his latest, “Moose Memoirs and Lobster Tales.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.