Rule #1 for living on a farm: Don't get attached to the animals.
Those of you who know me well know that I'm not too terribly fond of animals. We've had our current dog for a year and a half or so, and I just really don't care for her. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this animal. She brings joy to my family. She's fairly well mannered. She's clean. She's a good ol' dog.
I just happen to care nothing for her. Honestly, if she got run over tomorrow, I'd have to fake cry in front of my children just to, well you know, seem human.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a loving person. I get attached to lots of things - trees, blue jeans, my children. So why am I so hard hearted toward animals? Well, here's my theory. And it's a good one, if I do say so myself.
I haven't always been so unfeeling toward creatures. There was a time when I adored my many pets, including cats, dogs, calves, insects, and yes, pigs.
For several years, my dad raised pigs. I didn't care for them much. They were dirty, smelly, and typically unfriendly. They ate our table scraps which seemed really gross, so I rarely paid them any attention. That is until my dad brought home two cute little red piglets. These little guys were not your typical pigs. They were clean, small, cute, and most importantly RED! I kid you not, it was love at first sight. My dad noticed my fondness and allowed me to name them. "Cherry" and "Strawberry" of course. What else could you name two adorable little red pigs?
Now, let it be known that my dad did not make us work on the farm much. We had some seasonal jobs, but nobody was waking us up at 5AM, nosiree.
I did, however, make sure these little guys were well taken care of. They were fed the best scraps from our table and were often visited. They were my pigs. My pets. My pals.
But, as you very well know, we were raising my "pals" for a purpose. I, like Fern, was unaware that these pigs would one day be someone's breakfast. I'm sure my dad knew of my fondness for the pigs. How could he not? As he anticipated the day of the pigs' demise, surely he thought about how best to handle this tough lesson. A heart to heart about the purpose of animals? Maybe some new piglets to replace those lost? Was he wrestling with these thoughts? Was my dad losing sleep over my impending heartache? Well, come to find out, no. He didn't give a rip.
The fateful day came in the form of a routine trip to the slaughter house in Knoxville. As my sisters and I wedged ourselves into my dad's truck, I was excited. A trip to Lay's meant cash in my dad's pocket and Krystal burgers on the way home. Yippee! "Let's get goin'," I thought. "I'm hungry!"
As we drove away from the farm, I happened to peek in the back of the truck. The pigs were wedged tightly together. Dirty, smelly, yucky old slop eating pigs. But, wait. Hold on second. What's that red I see? It couldn't be. But, it is! "Daddy, what's goin' on? What are Cherry and Strawberry doing back there?" I waited for his reply. Some words to explain why my pigs could possibly be accompanying us to a place they should never go. I can't really recall my dad's response, but I'm sure that he looked at me like I was nutso and said something like "Well, what d'ya think? They're goin' to Lay's with the rest of 'em."
I'll never forget the sights and smells of that place. You could actually see dead pigs hanging from hooks as they traveled through an enclosed passage that went over the road from one part of the plant to another.
As I think back on this moment, I realize that it changed me forever. Never again have I felt strongly for an animal. So there. The next time you see my dog nudge me for a little affectionate petting and I callously push it away, you won't judge me. You'll think of Cherry and Strawberry. And, oh yeah, if you ever cook breakfast for me, if you could kindly leave certain proteins off the menu, I'd be ever so grateful.
Rule #1 for living on a farm: Don't get attached to the animals.
Posted by Beth at 11:20 PM
Recently I've been feeling nostalgic about my days growing up on a dairy farm. My mind has been flooded with memories that have lain? dormant for many a year only to rise up of late and shock my conscious mind. I feel the need to share some of these memories. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just want to make sure that they don't creep back into my subconscious never to return. Maybe my dad has been on my mind a lot lately and I want to remember all I can about being with him when I was little.
My plan is to occasionally narrate a memory of the farm. I will rarely have a photo to accompany the memory because I wasn't really thinking about my blogging needs at the time. So, we'll just have to use our imaginations. I anticipate that they will sometimes entertain, sometimes enlighten, and oftentimes shock those who did not have the privilege of growing up on a farm. They may be funny, dull, or just weird. They'll always be true and accurate to the best of my ability. So here goes.
Growing up on a Dairy Farm, vol. 1:
OK, so I know I said I wouldn't have photos, but I actually do have one.
This picture says a lot.
1. My mom was my hair stylist.
2. I had not yet been educated on how to flatter my round face in photos.
3. I sometimes forgot I was a girl.
4. I knew from experience that one must always tuck one's pant legs into one's
5. My eldest daughter looks like me.
6. See that propane tank in the background? Yeah, well you thought it was a
propane tank, but really it's a horse. My horse. "Rusty" to be exact. It took
me hither and yon. It's just taking a break to munch on some grass.
'Till next time.
Posted by Beth at 10:34 PM
We were blessed with several days with the kids' Great Grandma & Grandpa from Missouri. They were so wonderful to get out and see the kids in action. They attended one of Luke's basketball games, one of Anna's ballet classes, and their school musical. Thanks for coming Grandma and Grandpa! We love you.
Luke had fun being silly with his friend during the program.
Anna did a sensational job with her first ever speaking part in a program. Two years ago I would have fainted if you told me she would ever volunteer for a speaking part. It was only a few lines, but hey, I wouldn't have volunteered. We were very proud.
Posted by Beth at 9:18 PM
We always watch the Super Bowl with our youth group. This is lotsa fun (as long as there are no wardrobe malfunctions which makes it just a little awkward.) I'm never ever into the game, but I do so love all those crazy commercials. This year's was particularly cool because of the addition of 3D!
Posted by Beth at 1:04 AM