Let me just back up by saying I am a girl with some of the coolest uncles around. I have many hard-working, get to the heart of the matter, would-do-anything-for-you type uncles. And as with most of them, anything with Uncle Bud is an adventure. So when he called me yesterday in search of piglets for his annual family Easter picnic, complete with petting "zoo", I made the usual phone calls to any pig farmer I knew. In the past, our barnyard has pretty much made up the whole zoo. But piglets are something we don't have, and they are hard to come by. Most pig operations these days are under a quarantine operation, and pigs that leave, don't come back. No borrowing allowed. Even if it is for the kids. So that left us with one final option. The sale barn. On the phone, I warned my uncle of the possible scenarios: Watch out for hernias. Look for diarrhea. Nothing with crusty looking skin. Next thing you know, a plan was in place. I was going to go with him. And at the last minute, so were all four of my kids.
Now, if you have never been to a livestock sale barn. It is not for the faint of heart. Lots of livestock. Some not in the prime of their lives. Lots of dust. Interesting clientel and audience members. Most are covered with a fine layer of dust as if they haven't ever left the joint. I think I saw Santa Claus there, too.
We got there a bit late. The sale was starting. We wove our way through a multitude of gates to the rear of the barn where the pigs would be found. Found a pen of nice young pigs. I lifted each one up for inspection. No problems. Looked healthy. Unlike the scraggly, lice ridden group in the next pen over. We made our way back to the stands. The bidding was beginning and when our pen of pigs came into the ring, I glanced over at my uncle. The price was getting too high. But his eyes were locked on the auctioneer and I knew we were here to buy pigs. After a rapid fire war of the dollar, he was the owner of four pigs.
He went up to pay so he could take them home. I went out to the loading dock with my four year old who, by now, was so covered in dust, I could barely make him out from the ground itself. And then we saw them. A newly unloaded batch of 40 tiny piglets. Just 3 weeks old. Perfectly pink. In talking to the owner, a brief exchange of a few small bills and we picked out two more piglets. Now we had six. After we had the four loaded, I shut the passenger side door of the truck, hearing the grunts and squeals of each of the smaller pigs, clutched in the laps of my two daughters. Riding shotgun with their uncle in his big work truck.
The plan for the pigs post Easter is still unclear. They are still suffering from a bit of post traumatic stress disorder from the whole ordeal. But they are lucky piggies for now. And will await the warm laps and gentle scratchings by a multitude of kids on Easter day.