Pigs In The Road


This morning on the way out of our Sugar Hollow Road neighborhood there were pigs in the road.  I means LOTS of pigs. Maybe a hundred. They did, I have to admit, have an official escort. Jamie and Will and Tilly the border collie were moving them from one pasture to the across-the-road pasture; the one right next to the Hickory Nut Gap Farm store.


Pigs, in case you aren’t fully informed on that sort of thing, don’t have a herd instinct. Sheep, and even cattle, will  follow the leader.  The Brits have it right when they refer to a congregation of pigs, especially pigs on the move, as a drift or a drove of pigs. Organization is not part of the process.  Pigs sort of mill around, are too easily distracted.

And, it didn’t help that it was starting to snow and the road was a bit slippery. Both the animals and Jamie and Will found themselves on the ground more than once while attempting to move about quickly! Of course the pigs didn’t have as far to fall and had the advantage of having an extra foot or two firmly (or in-firmly, as the case may be) planted at all times.

We just sat, the three Australian Terriers who are usually with me and I, and watched. Sugar Hollow is, in some respects, a throwback to an earlier time: why hurry when you can be watching two young men and a really fine herding dog  move a drift of pigs?!  Two of the terriers slept through the whole thing. The youngest one, feet up on the dashboard, emitted a low throaty growl from beginning to end.  I kept telling her that she really didn’t want anything to do with a drove of only partly domesticated swine. She didn’t, of course … being a terrier, believe me!

At one point I moved the truck over almost into the ditch to block an escape attempt by a half-dozen or so of the animals. A telephone lineman at the other end of the road in this animal husbandry adventure jumped from his vehicle and prevented a similar jail-break.

I rolled down the window and told Jamie ( Or was it Will? They are cousins. Their collective parents are members of our book club, etc. ) “A fun and funny spectacle. I enjoyed that.  A fine way to start the day.”  

“We aim to entertain,” he said. With a grin.   



About Tom Honea

the south mississippi i grew up in did not yet have paved roads or telephones or televisions. it did have great story tellers, on front porches in the summer or around the fire place in the winter. we were poverty stricken, financially but not culturally. we didn't know it. everybody up and down the road was in the same boat. . after forty years of day jobs i am approaching my "fishing years." i plan to spend them writing. i have a finished and edited deep south novel in the "marketing" stages. currently i'm deep into a WW II home front piece set in the Hampton Roads, VA area. notes and character sketches are already underway for "From Hiroshima to Elvis" ( the ten years after the war ) on the coastal areas of South Carolina. . visit asheville ... come and see me.
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3 Responses to Pigs In The Road

  1. mollyskiss says:

    What a perfect start to the day. For some reason I can just image you sitting there with your canine companions, you make it sound so idyllic. Your right, the picture you paint made me smile.


  2. Bob Rodecker says:

    What a great piece. It was posted on John Ager’s FaceBook page and I had to read it. You have caught some of the essence of life at Hickory Nut Gap in your brief essay. Being married to the first cousin of William and Jamie’s mothers, I was immediately reminded of the day in June of 2009 when Jamie drove by in the back of a pick up truck lying on top of one of the pigs that had earlier escaped its confines. He and William are great guys and I appreciated reading about them. Thank you.

  3. MB says:

    We could all use a few pigs in the road to start our day.

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