The Sow's Ear

We boomers all have funny stories when it comes to raising our kids, and here's another one of mine.

George, our son was about 3 or 4 years old when we took him to Van Saun Park, when we were still living in Bergen County, NJ.  It's a wonderful place to introduce young children to other wild animals like themselves.  George was very precocious at that age and we were beginning to suspect ADHD, but had yet to address the issue.  At this age he was bouncing from pen to pen, giving each animal a look see before moving on to the next, without marveling the various other forms of life so near his neighborhood.

Reaching the pig pen gave George a pause, however, and that gave the other of us a chance for a breather.

"Mommy and Daddy, look at the big pig rolling around in the mud!"

George had a knack for getting "down and dirty" during his play time at home, and we were hoping he wouldn't make the connection between the water hose, and making mud.

In the pen lay a huge sow, easily 300+ pounds, seemingly happy as a pig in... you know, with four little piglets sliding around her, just as happy.  Two of them were nursing, not much caring about the mud and milk mixture they were consuming.  The other two were rolling around, squealing as if laughing in a play pen.

There was a fifth piglet totally devoid at what the siblings were doing.  While the sow was resting in contentment, this obvious "black sheep" of the brood was doing everything he could to antagonize his mother.  He bit her tail.  He walked on her back.  He bit his siblings.

The sow paid him no mind at all, and was content to sun herself in the heat of the day without a care in the world.

Until Mr. Fifth Piggy bit her ear.

In a split second, she snatched him in her jaws and tossed him skidding and rolling into the sloppy mud, where he came to rest about ten feet away.  He moaned and trotted off to the other end of the pen to sulk.

No one was going to make a silk purse out of that sow's ear anyway, whether or not if had teeth marks. 

There are lines in the sand, or mud, parents make which should not be crossed.  


Forrest Gump

It's getting to be late March, and the cardinals are returning to the bird feeder.  I couple of them hang around for the winter, but there are more pairs of them when the weather gets warmer, for a reason I don't know.

Anyway, my thoughts returned to last spring, when one particular cardinal visited our aviary buffet.

We named him Forrest Gump, which might have been unfair to the original character in the great namesake book and movie.  Although not being too bright, he still made the best of his abilities, and demonstrated time and again the importance of being in the right place at the right time.

Our feathered friend Forrest must have been afflicted somehow which affected his behavior, and appearance.  Healthy cardinals have  majestic comb feathers, Forrest had two tiny ones, which made him look more like the indians we used to imitate as kids playing cowboys and.  The rest of his head and neck were bald otherwise, perhaps the result of a mite or vermin.

The other thing about Forrest was his odd behavior.  He kept pecking at the window in the family room for days after he arrived.  He could be observed nose to nose on the other side of the glass, and he wouldn't budge.  I remembered my grandfather imagined seeing a cardinal from his deathbed, and began wondering if I wasn't long for this world.

I called several phone numbers of various bird rescue organizations before I got a live person for ways to prevent his pecking at the window.  The answer was to put a sheet of plastic in front of the panes, so Forrest couldn't see his reflection, thinking he was another bird, competing for food.  It worked.

Forrest managed to make it through the summer, and he was gone in the fall, before we realized it.

Although not thinking too clearly, like his name sake, he did manage to be at the right place, and I'd like to think we helped him make it through the season, though he wouldn't have otherwise.


Jim Left Early III

Jim did it again, this time with 8 minutes left, and the last game of the season, no less!

As he got up to leave, my seatmates to the left started chuckling, and congratulating one of their number.  It turns out he guessed the time closest to Jim getting up to leave, 4 minutes and 15 seconds.  Rutgers was losing to the Johnnies at that point.

It just goes to show you, anything can be bet on, and you don't have to be in Las Vegas.

Why so early this time?  Usually, like clockwork, he leaves his seat a little before, or a little after 3 minutes to go in the game.

First guess:  Nature called.
Second guess:  He was with his brother, not his wife.  She probably restrains him an extra 5 minutes of game time.

None the less, I had every confidence Rutgers would win due to his early departure, and they did.

Keep it up, Jim.  We need your absence in these close games.

Liquor Store

Yesterday, I was asked for ID at a liquor store.  I thought, I'm going to have a little fun with this.

I plucked my newly minted Medicare card from my wallet, and presented it to the cashier. She said,

"I need a photo ID."

I knew that, but I said anyway, "You mean to tell me, young lady, that this card, and my gray hair are not enough to pass the test?"

The about my age lady next in line overheard this, and started to chuckle.

I said to her, "get out your driver's license," as I produced mine for the clerk.

The boomer lady behind me said, "that's why I come here all the time.  They make me feel so young!"

Card one, card them all, I guess.  An age discrimination policy carried to absurdity.