Usually it was because the sow had rejected the piglet(s) for some reason, or there were not enough nipples to feed all the piglets. Either way, we children would have the responsibility of feeding these squirming little piglets until they were large enough to go into the pig population, or until they mysteriously disappeared in the night. That meant that Dad had found them dead and disposed of them.
Life was life, and things died—all farm children know the harsh facts. But, one cold winter day there was a lone piglet that was different.
|Love me for my brains!|
“Nuthin’…that’s what we’ll call him.” Over the next days and weeks, Robert and I took turns feeding Nuthin’ first from a bottle, and then from a dish. Nuthin’ grew, and we kept him in a pen in the breezeway until spring came. By then, Nuthin’ was almost the size of our dogTuffy, and they played together in the yard. We called his name, and Nuthin’ came as fast as his crippled leg allowed him.
Spring was moving into May, and Nuthin’ was getting too big to let roam the yard. Animals reaching adolescence are just like humans; they aren’t the same sweet little kids anymore. Dad said we had to put him in the barn lot with the three milk cows. We could still visit him, but playing with him wasn’t an option. That was when we noticed the tumor on his leg growing. Day by day, we could see Nuthin’ slowing down, and not eating as much. One day Nuthin’ lay down, and no amount of convincing could make him move.
The next morning Nuthin’ had disappeared. No one said much about that, because all farm children know the harsh facts.
I have told the story about Nuthin' to my children and students many times. The A-Z blogfest gave me an excuse to share it with you. Many many thanks to Arlee Bird, Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J. Gowen, Talli Roland, and Stephen Tremp for hosting this daunting and awesome event!
Susan Kane 22 March 2011