Bacon Tears

A peasant becomes fond of his pig and is glad to salt away its pork. What is significant, and is so difficult for the urban stranger to understand, is that the two statements are connected by an “and” not by a “but”.
– John Berger

Tuesday was the day. Pig day. I was upset to learn that the Slaughter-er (I don’t think that’s actually what he’s called, it just sounds better than Pig Killer) wasn’t able to come until two in the afternoon, an hour after I’d left for work, and three hours before Cory came home. I fretted for days about leaving them alone to their fate, but I had a plan.

On Tuesday, about an hour and a half before PK was due to arrive, I mixed a bottle of apple jack with several handfuls of grain in a five gallon bucket. I let the grain absorb the apple jack and then added a half a bottle of corn syrup, and a few dashes of cinnamon. I had been assured by reputable sources that getting them drunk would be enough to take the edge off any awareness they might have.

I brought the bucket out to the pigs and dumped the contents into a shallow trough near their feeder. They trotted over and shuffled through my offering. At first I thought they were digging in, but I soon realized they were just moving it around, like kids with unwanted broccoli. I scooped up handfuls of the goop and held it under their noses, cooing, trying to tempt them. It didn’t work. I put some into their feeder, but they nosed it out of the way and continued eating their regular grain. I kicked myself, realizing I should have tied up their feeder the night before so that they would have been especially hungry.

I finally gave up, and left for work feeling a little sick.  

So, nothing went quite as planned. I wanted to be there, or at least know that Cory was there, but from what I was told it was very quick, just one bullet each. In the end it was their good natures that made it easy. When PK arrived, they went right up to him, giving him a clean shot. Walter went first. Flo oinked a bit and scurried into the hut, but she soon came out, trotting right back to PK. Cory, in a lachrymose moment, suggested that she may have gone willingly because she decided she couldn’t live without Walter. This sentiment will haunt me.

I told Cory it was extraordinary that I’ve been eating pigs for 29 years without having any idea what that meant; without really knowing where the meat came from. Cory shook his head. “You knew the meat came from a pig,” he said. “You just didn’t know what a pig actually was before now.” 

I’ve decided not to buy pork products in the grocery store anymore. It’s important that I raise the pigs I eat. If I don’t raise a pig, I don’t have to eat a pig. Now that I know what a pig is, I can’t be so careless.


3 responses to this post.

  1. The last three paragraphs of this post should be published in your local paper. Maybe you send something in as a letter to the editor?


  2. Aw Jenny. I feel bad too. Who knew what knowing a suddenly former pig would feel like – even from way over here “back home”? Cory is right – not so many people any more ever know what a pig actually is/was. Take it easy, Cookie!


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