This evening before supper I had a fun experience, the kind of fun I don’t have every day. My friend Judith, who is back at our place again since school started, was sitting at the counter facing the window telling a dramatic story, in her dramatic way–“And then I said–Hey, there go some little pigs!”
Initially I laughed because it sounded like she told her student that there went some little pigs, and I knew she hadn’t actually. Then it dawned on me that she hadn’t actually told her student that there went some little pigs, which meant that she was telling us that there went some little pigs. “Did you really see little pigs?” I asked doubtfully. (Judith is usually very honest, but we don’t usually see pigs wandering around outside the pig-house. The pigs in our pig-house are well-contained by the man who tends them.)
“I thought it was two cats at first,” she said. “But it was little pigs. They went around the pig-house.”
I thought that the cats sounded more likely, but we got on our footwear and went out to investigate. She demonstrated their size with sweeping hand motions as we walked out. We neared the pig-barn. “They’re probably long gone,” she said.
“Well, let’s walk around and see.”
We rounded the corner of the barn and peered around some old metal cages residing there.
“There they are!” she said.
Sure enough. Hiding behind the cages were two tiny little pigs, much smaller than I had been expecting. They cowered and looked like they wanted to run, but weren’t sure where to. We closed in on them, intent on catching them. They ran back and forth a little frantically, but I saw my chance and pounced on the one. It struggled in my hands and I almost lost it, surprised by its strength. But I held on, as it let out remarkably loud squealing noises, comparable only to its squirming. I just chortled delightedly, because the last time I remembered holding a baby pig I was probably five, and it was so exciting to be doing it again almost two decades later.
The other pig had fled in distress, squealing as it ran. Judith was in hot pursuit, and I followed, my pig and I laughing and squealing all the way. We ran around the corner of the pig-house, and then I was a little more anxious to catch the pig, because my dog had joined the pursuit, nipping at the little pig. She seemed a little hysterical and ready to eat it. I tried to call her off. “Bitsy, no!” I yelled, my hands full of wiggling piglet.
“She’s not going to eat it, Alison,” Judith said. I wasn’t so sure.
Finally, Judith and I cornered the second pig, and she was able to grab it. It went into hysterics too, and we then had two hysterical pigs, one hysterical dog, and two girls who were not hysterical. In fact, one of them didn’t look too delighted to be hanging onto a delirious pig baby, and it wasn’t me.
Then my family came streaming out one by one. “Here they all come to see the pigs,” said Judith. “It’s not like you live on a pig farm or anything.” (So we do, but as I mentioned previously, the pigs are usually well-contained pigs. Two uncontained piglets is an event.)
We eventually decided to stick them in a little hallway in the front of the barn for safe keeping, and my mom messaged the pig keeper to let him know they were there. He messaged back, Uh Oh.
We calmed Bitsy down from her state of severe anxiety and hyperventilation. Or was it just excitement at seeing her favorite food come to life before her eyes? Either way, I felt she needed some deep breathing after that display of emotion.
And that is the end of my long story of the two little pigs. It was a highlight of my day.
There are other things happening in my life right now, besides chasing baby pigs around pig-houses, believe it or not. Things like preparing to move to Bangladesh for six months, stressing out about Covid testing, quitting my first nursing job that I’ve been at for two years, starting my Pharmacology class, and spending time with my family and with my boyfriend while I can…
“I don’t know if I’m old enough to go away by myself for 6 months,” I told my mom this morning.
It suddenly seemed real this week, with my paperwork going through, that I’ll be leaving in a couple weeks. I’ll have to leave my stuffed animal collection, and my nice friendly bedroom, and my Bitsy, and all my people, and I’ve never left home for any length of time before… It was my dream to go to an underserved population in another country and work as a nurse. Always before it was my friends and family leaving while I stayed behind, and I restlessly thought that was the hard part. Now I realize I may be a little more like the chicory and Queen Anne’s lace growing along the edges of my country roads, than like a tumble weed content to roll free with the wind across a foreign desert. I’m a little more rooted than I thought.
But where God calls me, I will go. And I look ahead and realize that beyond the pain of leaving lies the joy of arriving. New experiences, new friends, and a chance to serve await me. One way or another I will find out how to say goodbye, just like I did a year ago when my family was leaving me. I think I concluded then that the way to say goodbye is to be willing to say hello…