Muddy Boots and Three Little Pigs

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The Story

Living in the country during my formative years exposed me to the simpler parts of life. Most of the things I observed as a child were seen through rose-colored glasses until some great awakening occurred and the blinders were yanked off. As children, we are often blinded by our youth and inexperience.

The times were less complicated when I was growing up — or so it seemed from my vantage point. We were free to roam around town and in the neighborhood without the direct supervision of an adult. Big Brother or Big Auntie was always watching, though. This harkens back to the village concept. Although my grandmother worked a lot, someone was always home to care for us. Even while we were out frolicking, if something concerning happened, or we made bad choices, we could rest assured that Ma’ Dear or one of our caregivers would know about it soon enough. Ma ’Dear didn’t allow others to chastise us with corporal punishment, but they could give us verbal corrections and warnings.

The grown folks kept us in our places as children, so we were often locked outside to play while they discussed adult matters. We would sometimes go play across the yard in a wooded field near one of the homes we lived in. We mimicked what we saw on television; many of our imaginary plays were reenactments of Tarzan, Gun Smoke, Hee-Haw, or Bonanza. We had many hours to explore our surroundings and get into mischief. Ma ’Dear often told me all of my clothes should have been black because I often came home with soiled clothing from playing in the dirt yard, ditches, and climbing trees.

One of our favorite pastimes was feeding the pigs my grandmother had in small fenced-in areas in her backyard. I recall one of the pigs was a huge white hog. My sister and I would stand on the fence and throw “slop” into the trough where the pigs ate. “Slop” consisted of all the leftover food we did not eat and scraps that were not ideal for human consumption. We would take food in tin pails to the pigpen and call out: “Here, piggy-piggy. Here, piggy-piggy.” Of course, they would come running every time. They never seemed to be satiated with any volume of slop. They would squeal and oink with satisfaction and the expectation of receiving more. I would wonder how they could eat such food. It did not look appealing and sometimes had a disgusting odor, but they didn’t seem to mind. They eagerly ate with much enjoyment and were not bothered by being in their own pigsty.

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