Lesson Learned

This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words. 

“Pig’s out!” Someone hollered and we all jumped into action.
Now, escaped animals weren’t a routine occurrence in my family’s history of farming, but it happened often enough to lend a bit of suspense to our daily lives.  Once or twice, my mother looked up from the kitchen sink to see cows in the back field, lazily grazing on the rich alfalfa crop intended to feed them through winter.  Another time, there came a midnight knock upon the front door.  Two men stood on the porch, inquiring whether the cows in the middle of the state highway belonged to us.
But a loose pig?  This was new.
The pig—perhaps his name was Wilbur—zipped out of the barn and we lit after him.  Wilbur evaded us, running in a zigzag pattern—Now right! Now left! Now right!—the five of us following like participants in a bizarre game of follow the leader until finally, sides heaving, Wilbur slowed and came to a rest in one of my mother’s perennial beds.
“Now!” Dad yelled, and we all fell upon him.
Too late.  In a sudden burst of energy, Wilbur sprinted forward and we fell upon empty air.  We giggled and tripped and scowled and yelled and sometimes even cursed that pig until finally Dad hollered, perhaps only half-joking: “Get my gun!”
“No,” my mother said.  “Get a blanket from the linen closet.” 
The blanket was brought to the back yard.  We each took hold of a side and proceeded steadily forward: closer…closer…closer.  “Now!” 
In unison we blanked the pig and wrestled him to the ground and back to the barn.
Before he trotted back to his pen, Wilbur tossed a backwards glance over his shoulder.  And I swear there was a self-satisfied twinkle in his eye as he nestled down into the straw.
Dad raised the sides of the pen and rechristened the pig Houdini.
And after the day's work was done and the blanket was folded and put away, we sat together on the porch, laughing and retelling key moments of the escape and re-capture. 
Houdini never escaped from his pen again and I suspect he never tried.  He’d learned his lesson.
And we had too: There were lots of things we would have to learn on the farm: hay baling, fence building, helping a cow struggling to deliver her calf.  But the understanding that you can’t catch a pig by chasing it?
Lesson learned.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Lesson Learned

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lesson Learned

This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words. 

“Pig’s out!” Someone hollered and we all jumped into action.
Now, escaped animals weren’t a routine occurrence in my family’s history of farming, but it happened often enough to lend a bit of suspense to our daily lives.  Once or twice, my mother looked up from the kitchen sink to see cows in the back field, lazily grazing on the rich alfalfa crop intended to feed them through winter.  Another time, there came a midnight knock upon the front door.  Two men stood on the porch, inquiring whether the cows in the middle of the state highway belonged to us.
But a loose pig?  This was new.
The pig—perhaps his name was Wilbur—zipped out of the barn and we lit after him.  Wilbur evaded us, running in a zigzag pattern—Now right! Now left! Now right!—the five of us following like participants in a bizarre game of follow the leader until finally, sides heaving, Wilbur slowed and came to a rest in one of my mother’s perennial beds.
“Now!” Dad yelled, and we all fell upon him.
Too late.  In a sudden burst of energy, Wilbur sprinted forward and we fell upon empty air.  We giggled and tripped and scowled and yelled and sometimes even cursed that pig until finally Dad hollered, perhaps only half-joking: “Get my gun!”
“No,” my mother said.  “Get a blanket from the linen closet.” 
The blanket was brought to the back yard.  We each took hold of a side and proceeded steadily forward: closer…closer…closer.  “Now!” 
In unison we blanked the pig and wrestled him to the ground and back to the barn.
Before he trotted back to his pen, Wilbur tossed a backwards glance over his shoulder.  And I swear there was a self-satisfied twinkle in his eye as he nestled down into the straw.
Dad raised the sides of the pen and rechristened the pig Houdini.
And after the day's work was done and the blanket was folded and put away, we sat together on the porch, laughing and retelling key moments of the escape and re-capture. 
Houdini never escaped from his pen again and I suspect he never tried.  He’d learned his lesson.
And we had too: There were lots of things we would have to learn on the farm: hay baling, fence building, helping a cow struggling to deliver her calf.  But the understanding that you can’t catch a pig by chasing it?
Lesson learned.

Labels: , , ,

20 Comments:

At July 25, 2011 at 7:32 PM , Anonymous elizabeth young said...

Great story Kelly. My Uncle in England was a pig farmer and I used to stay with my cousins just about every weekend when I was growing up, so we often had to move pigs. This was accomplished with large boards to herd them in the right direction. I do remember of several occasions my Uncle heading down the road with a couple of neighbour farmers to catch a pig heading down the road!

 
At July 25, 2011 at 7:54 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! We only had about 3 pigs at a time, but that was enough of an adventure for us.

 
At July 26, 2011 at 5:02 AM , Anonymous Coming East said...

Yea for Mom! Funny and well-written story.

 
At July 26, 2011 at 7:34 AM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

OMG Dying at this story! Dying!

And that ending? Perfection!

{Also? I can't get the images of the zig zags and blankets out of my head! :)}

 
At July 26, 2011 at 7:48 AM , Anonymous Kim said...

Now THAT is a lesson I didn't think I'd learn today. Such a fun piece - well done!
Came from TRDC linkup.

 
At July 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM , Anonymous The MOM said...

I've chased pigs (both the greased kind at rodeos and the regular kind). For such large critters they can really MOVE! And don't let those little piggy eyes fool you - they're thinking the whole time! LOL

NC Narrator visiting from TRDC
http://nc-narrations.blogspot.com

 
At July 26, 2011 at 12:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

What a fun and well-written piece! Farm life is so far from my own experience; this was truly a joy to read. I think you captured the spirit and energy of the pig chase perfectly! Nice job :)

 
At July 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM , Anonymous PearlsGirl said...

Oh, I absolutely love this! I have a vivid picture of it. Thanks for sharing.

PearlsGirl

 
At July 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM , Anonymous katieross83 said...

Hehe!! I loved this. By far my favorite response of the day. :) You, my friend, are an awesome writer. This kept me engaged and laughing the whole way through. I could just picture the whole scene perfectly. I loved the part where your Dad suggested getting the gun, and your Mom, in her infinite mommy wisdom, suggested getting a blanket instead...hilarious!

 
At July 26, 2011 at 9:26 PM , Anonymous AnnieB54 said...

Wonderful! Charlotte's Web was my favorite book growing up so any tale with Wilbur the pig as a heroine is a hit! You are allowing us a glimpse of life on the farm. I'm sure it is a struggle at times, but you are certainly painting a beautiful picture.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous Katie687 said...

I remember this well - great story - AGAIN

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I, too, loved Charlotte's Web and am now reading White's essays which are really great reading. One of his friends and co-workers on a ship was named Wilbur!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Glad you liked it, Angela. Thanks for reading!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Never chased greased pigs! Now THAT would be a real challenge!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Kim!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Galit!

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Susan.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 

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