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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I remembered yesterday why there are no school field trips to the pig farm.

My husband raised hogs when we were dating.  It had been my first time to be around them--and I mean around them. My nose started to hitch hike off my face.  Nostril hairs were thumbing for a ride.  I promise.  I had never smelled anything that horrible in all my life--a smell that makes you want to smack your momma smell. Skunks have NOTHING over pig poop.  Dung.  Whatever it's called.  So, I knew I had to be in true love when he took me for a ride to meet his prized pig breeder.  Oh joy.  It was in the middle of the summer.  About 100 degrees.  No wind.  He drove Mabel (the name for his pickup) into the middle of his breeder's hog farm, parked it, and turned off the engine. 

"Do you want to come in to his office?"  Doug asked pointing to a sad looking 1950s style trailer with rusty tin on the outside. 

"I don't think I can suck in enough air to breathe in order to walk that far," I gulped. 

"You think it stinks?" he asked.  I couldn't tell if he was serious or just making fun of me.  "OK, well, if you get hot, start Mabel."

He leaves, and I soon learn a very important lesson about my future husband (although this experience put that manifestation in serious jeopardy).  If there is another living human close to the vicinity, gab will over take Doug and we will be there a long, long time.  Live animals will also take his attention to new heights as well.  I'm new to this phenomena.

I sit in the pick up.  It is sweltering.  The smell is insane. It seeps in through the glass.  I am in absolute shock that Mabel's paint isn't peeling. Beads of sweat are starting to pour down my head.  I can feel sweat down my back.  I have to get some air.  I start up Mabel and turn on the air conditioner.  I am met with a blast of pig poop a la perfume.  The air conditioner is cooling me off but it's blowing nasty pig particles through my hair.  The horrendous smell is now magnified.  I turn off the engine.  I smell pig in my hair now.   15 minutes goes by.  Surely my new love knows I'm still sitting out here.  Surely he will come and rescue me.  Time ticks away.  No Doug.

I am miserable.  I am sweating.  I am breathing very shallow.  I can't take a deep oxygenated breath. I can't physically will my body to do it.  I have to get some air.  I roll down the window about  2 inches.  I then roll down the driver's window about two inches.  I'm hoping that it will create a draft above my head.  It doesn't.  Of all days in the Texas Panhandle, there is no wind today.  The pig stench is permeates my skin.  Every so often I pull the collar of my shirt above my nose and take in a huge amount of air.  I'd keep my nose covered, but it is too hot.  As the afternoon melted into evening, I sought relief in the setting sun....Just kidding, but my 30 minutes in the truck might as well have been 4 hours. 

Doug FINALLY shows back up.  "I couldn't find Leroy." 

What???? What in the world have you been doing all this time????? Can you not fathom how miserable I've been?? My love tank was on empty.  He's been walking around looking at sows and boars and what not.   I've been gasping for my last breath. 

He notices my severe state of distress.  "You didn't turn on the air conditioner?"  He takes me home.  I need a shower.  Pig smell is much like cigarette smell.  It is in your ears, your shoes, your hair, plastered to your skin.  I burned my jeans that evening. 

So yesterday, my husband takes Annsley and Kennedi to a nearby pig farm to see the baby pigs.  God is amazing as He wipes from our memory really really horrific things.  I had totally forgotten in nearly 20 years about the polluted odor.  It came rushing back to me about 7:30PM last night.  It was in Annsley's hair, Kennedi's shirt.  I told Annsley and Kennedi to leave their shoes on the porch.  Clothes went immediately into the washer.  I personally washed both girls from head to toe myself.  Doug was just laughing.  He actually questioned my sincerity of having him take a shower before he read the girls a good night story!  And his dress pants spent the night on the porch rail in an attempt to water down the smell before putting them in my car for a trip to the cleaners. 

Now I like bacon like any other Southern girl.  I'll fry up the entire package and eat it all by my lonesome.  I put bacon grease in my green beans.  Anything is better with bacon on it or in it I say. But I like my pig already butchered.  I like my pig on the pages of a children's book.  That's where it stops.  I honestly do not know how hired hand/owners of farrowing barns survive without an oxygen tank.  I've been in one and only one in my lifetime.  Doug was so excited to show me all the baby pigs.  He tried to explain to me how clean it was.  I walked in and turned around and walked right out.

If you're running low on ideas to do, I I double dare any of you to load up the family and head to a pig farm/farrowing house. My advice: ask for a tour but don't wear flip flops.  Take a plastic garbage bag to toss your clothes in for the ride home.  Tie the bag to your back bumper.  Maybe the clothing will air out a bit before you get home.  Load up on body wash BEFORE you take your field trip. Have your olfactory nerves/system removed before attending. Or, be like me and support your local pig farmers from a distance--literally.


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