The Bean has done the 4-H thing for a few years. Once the pandemic hit, 4-H was canceled, fairs were canceled, and there was no opportunity for my bean or her bib overall-wearing, pig-loving dad to show off their prize porcine beauties. As with everything in the past few years, things have been a bit uncertain with fairs and shows. This year, The Bean and her dad have decided to go in a different direction with 4-H and showing animals.
There is a tiny local fair that has been part of our community for decades. This fair is family-oriented, small-scale, and has close ties to the community. A 4-H group has formed, and one of the venues for showing is this little fair. The Bean and The Bibbed Wonder have no desire to take things to a national scale with pig showing. They prefer a more grassroots approach and keep it very low-key. As with almost any activity, if one chooses to go big, there is an opportunity to do so. Going big with pigs isn’t their thing.
The Bean has gone years without winning any ribbons for her pigs. Eric and Jordan don’t buy show pigs, they don’t feed the pigs show feed, and they don’t do anything fancy to ready the pigs for the show ring. They usually raise their pig from one of our heritage breed sows or buy a little feeder pig from the Amish. Their approach to 4-H is to raise an animal in a healthy, natural setting, feed it a healthy diet for the animal and the person who will eventually consume it, and just have fun. Sometimes The Bean gets discouraged about not winning a ribbon, but she continues enjoying time with her dad and the fair and learning about the animals.
Finding a group of like-minded families seems to have reignited her interest in showing pigs. She and Eric both have an excitement about 4-H I haven’t seen in years. When one shows larger animals in 4-H, there is what is called a tagging night. Tagging night is when you take your animals to the venue, register them for the show, and then the animals have an ear tag put in. This identifies the animal and helps with record keeping. Although The Bibbed Wonder put tagging night on his calendar, he completely forgot about it with the hustle and bustle of soap.
We received a phone call at 7:30 asking if we were planning to bring Jordan’s pigs to tagging night. After many colorful expletives, The Bibbed Wonder jumped into action. I have never seen my little bib overall wearing buddy move as fast as he did that night. Eric was in the truck, had the truck in the pasture, and the pig crate loaded onto the back of the truck and strapped down before I even knew what was going on. I ran the door to the pig crate as he corralled the little pigs and got them loaded. Jordan was in charge of running the stall door. We are a very efficient team when we want to be. Although there was drama, squealing, and a lot of theatrics from the pigs, they were loaded safely and securely.
Eric asked me to join them on their trip to the fairgrounds. Although I had not planned to go, Eric asked if I would just in case he needed help. I ran down to the house to blow out the candles I had lit and turn off the oven. I know this comes as a shock to many of you, but I am not an athlete. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe. The Bibbed Wonder gets a lot of his comedy material from my lack of athleticism. He and The Bean were having a hearty laugh at my expense when Eric remembered he needed his pipe. As The Bean tells it, her dad jumped, literally jumped out of the truck, and sprinted to the garage for his pipe. Eric doesn’t really like to walk a lot, let alone run anywhere. As I climbed back into the truck, I saw him limping from the garage.
Initially, I made fun of him, but then I saw he was in severe discomfort. Once he stopped making fun of my running, he said he thought he had a leg cramp from not drinking enough water. This happens to him on occasion, so I wasn’t concerned. However, as the night progressed, the pain did not ease. Finally, the pigs were tagged, we were home, the pigs were unloaded, and we could end our day. Jordan and I had to help Eric off with his shoes and socks. I insisted that he get into the hot tub and try to relax the muscle. I could see that the muscle was tightly constricted and knotted into a rigid ball. With some assistance, he got into the hot tub and soaked for a bit. Although a little improved, his leg was still hurting. I offered him Advil, which he readily took, and helped him to bed. I knew it wasn’t good if he agreed to take Advil.
When he awoke the following day, his leg appeared bruised, and the muscle was still tight. He again agreed to take Advil and went limping about his day. After almost twenty years of marriage, I know fussing at him and trying to play nursemaid to him will only irritate him. I promised to keep quiet, not fuss, and not make a doctor’s appointment if he would agree to take it easy. One of us kept our end of the deal, sigh.
I can’t help but poke a little fun at him. After all, he teases me mercilessly about everything. He now has no room to talk about my fat a$$ dog, my lack of coordination, or my lack of athleticism. My fat a$$ dog has never pulled a muscle. I have never limped around for days after jumping from a truck: Karma, dear reader, Karma. Who knew taking little pigs to be tagged would result in a pulled muscle? At least, I am assuming it is a pulled muscle. We probably will never know because Eric won’t go to a doctor. He is very stubborn sometimes.
Although he is moving better, he is continuing to favor his leg. I am keeping my mouth shut but also keeping an eye on him. Please remember, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, don’t jump from a truck or chase little pigs, don’t make fun of your partner for lack of athleticism, Karm is indeed a b*&%#@, and keep washing your hands.