Did I mention I love living in Hawaii? I hope I did. And this topic is not, obviously, limited to Hawaii. There are pigs everywhere in the world just about.
But here in Hawaii, people love their pig. They love ‘em bacon, they love ‘em ham, they love ‘em sausage (Portuguese style preferably) and most of all they love ‘em roasted in an underground oven called an imu. Extra super tasty and cost effective too, especially if the pig is home raised.
My mom lives out in a very rural area. She’s big on gardening, has a real green thumb and raises orchids. She took all my orchids in since I was killing them; my house on the dry sideof Haleakala (see previous blog entry on topography, Rainbows) was not optimal for them and let’s face it, I just don’t have time. I carried my pots of orchids into the greenhouse and we were just settling them into the right spots when the air was rent with an unearthly, harrowing scream.
“What the hell is that?” I whirled around, my crime-writer instincts honed for sounds of violence. And yes indeedy, it sounded like murder was being done.
“Oh, it’s just the neighbors killing a pig,” Mom said. “Try to ignore it.”
OH GOD. It went on and on. I seriously don’t want to know where my pork chops came from let alone be reminded. I broke out in sweat.
“How often does this happen?”
“Every couple weeks. They have a big family and they’re always raising new pigs, so…” Mom was nonchalant.
I opened my mouth to scream at the neighbors, “FOR GOD’S SAKE MAKE IT STOP!” when mercifully, it did. My lurid imagination supplied gory details. It’s good at that.
“You’d think they’d clobber it on the head or something,” I said with shaky bravado. I’d witnessed a pig killing as a kid and still got grossed out and talked to my therapist about it.
This charming little vignette is how I knew about my mom’s neighbors’ pigs.
Today she told me about how the pigs escaped from their pen next door and got into her yard.
“Were they like, little cute pigs?” I asked hopefully.
“No. Big-ass pigs, big as this dining room table. All hairy. They were digging up the garden. I yelled at the neighbors that they were in our yard and grandma came over with the two year old and the daughter and they tried to herd them out. But we just chased the pigs around and around the yard. Over an hour, round and round we went.”
My mom laughed so hard her eyes teared up. Apparently no progress was made on the pig-herding project until the menfolk got home from work and finally chased the pigs out of the yard with profuse apologies and promises of bacon.
I don’t know what my point here is, except that I really wish bacon didn’t come from pigs, but instead descended from Supermarket Heaven sanitized and wrapped in plastic. Because it’s really really hard to resist bacon, even knowing it was running around the yard not too long ago.
Too funny. I grew up in Indonesia–so it wasn’t pigs everywhere. It was chickens. Chickens everywhere…wandering through the little huts…didn’t matter. Earily on in our move to Java my mother sent the girl who worked for us out to get meat for dinner…chicken. She came back with two scrawny newly killed unplucked chooks. My mum looked at me and said, “Glad I didn’t send her out for steak!”
oohhh Indonesia! You should blog about that, I’d read enthusiastically if this little story is anything to go by.
Yah sis, the pig screams from next door are legend. Pigs are so smart, I think they start screaming from the moment they get pulled out of the pen. I have a serious reaction to it because I well remember being six and hiding out with Lyon Hamilton over at the pig farm, watching a slaughter. They DO bop them on the head! Unfortunately I think its really hard (maybe impossible) to actually knock out a wiggling running mark with a mallet, especially when 2 or 3 of your bro’s are in swing range. Anyway it always comes down to a full body tackle, a large sharp knife, then….
Lets just say that it was impressive for a six year old, and when they show neck blood spurting in movies they do not lie. So I follow the whole process next door mentally from first scream to silence and its really, really with relief that I buy my little clean looking packages at the market and don’t think where they come from!
I’m sorry. THat’s all I can say. EEWWWW.
Ah, pigs! These destructive critters love to root up anything they find along our stream. Their wallows are everywhere you would expect to find pig wallows, the yuckier the better. Our pig hunters here on Kauai use a trusty 22 or if they are purists, a bow and arrow. Don’t want to think about the backyard pig sty techniques. I hope to time my next visit to Maui in between pig sticking events. Have you ever read the Roald Dahl short story on the subject of cow sticking? Don’t. Truly macabre.
I’ll remember to avoid it. Pig wallows in the wilderness, now there’s a topic. I should have connected the conservation efforts that keep pigs out to this post…
toby my dear friend,
i am loving your ever-vivid array of emotion in every story you write. you, a true therapist, understand the MIX that we are and how HEALTHY it is to experience and acknowledge IT ALL. here’s to so many shades and less black & white!
LOVE you, love your writing, am following it way more than i comment …
peace and aloha to you … betsy
Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it
I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to know where your porkchops come from. I watched a vid about cows and milk the other day – it all makes be want to become a Vegan
Thanks so much for stopping in Julie, we’re on the same page here! I’ve gone with cutting back rather than cutting it out, though!