Pig Farmer Kin Sayings
My mother's father farmed pigs. Courtney Johnston loved his grandkids. As we ran to him, he'd welcome us in his arms with the endearment: "My little runts!"
You have to know that "the runt" is the littlest pig of the litter. And the youngest grandchild was ever his "runt."
What we do shapes our language.
As descendents of pig farmers, we still find pig-sayings creeping into our language.
My father, asked if we should wait dinner for a late arrival, answered, clearly hungry, "We'll wait for them just like one hog waits for another." That is to say, with our snouts in the trough, eating!
My Aunt Grace (my mother's sister and Courtney's daughter) just turned 82 and came to visit me in St. Louis with her daughter, my Cousin Cynthia. Aunt Grace told the family story that it was said: "A doctor counts his patients just like we count hogs to send to market."
This was a cautionary tale not to submit automatically to everything a doctor suggested, but to realize there was a business aspect to the doctor's care, no matter how well intended the doctor might be.
We kept pigs at home when I was growing up. My father and I tended a ruptured mother pig after her birth once. I was so scared, and young, but stepped forward and helped anyway, instead of running away. My father, in rare praise, said then, and still says, how brave I was.
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