And now, because ideas sometimes spring into my mind unbidden and just won’t go away without a fight, a work of fiction:
Hal Grimes shook his head and reached up to wipe his face with the age-faded hanky he pulled from his back pocket.
“Abomination,” he said.
Alphonse Morales smiled tightly and nodded. He’d heard it before, just about anytime an old-timer set foot on the farm he and his wife had purchased two years earlier. After determining to abandon city life in Seattle in order to raise their children in the wholesome rural setting of idealistic locavore dreams they found and fell in love with the place in eastern Washington. Morales had a brother in the restaurant biz over in Tacoma and there was a surprisingly rich market for their organic farm products, but running a farm was no easy task. It was hard damn work, to tell the truth! Hard enough to make Alphonse consider returning to his job at the corporate law offices of Szmesch, Puhl, and Reckim.
“She loves that pig,” Morales said.
It was true, the youngest of three Morales daughters, Penelope Maria, had fallen for the little piglet when she’d first seen him days after his birth. Penelope doted on the pig and spent as many hours of her day as she could out by the little pen on the far side of the yard. She’d been allowed to have him sleep in her room when he was younger and cuter and slimmer, but not since he’d tipped the scales at 150. She spent her allowance on a leash and collar that she used to take the little pig that she called Chubby for walks. Penelope taught Chubby to fetch and that pig seemed to love it. Penelope and Chubby were becoming minor celebrities, but not because Chubby was a babe or some pig.
“Strangest thing I’ve ever seen hereabouts,” Hal continued. Morales nodded and wondered when Hal, a dairy man from out near the Idaho border, would be heading off with the chops, loins, fruits, and vegetables he’d purchased.
“They have a real connection,” Morales offered lamely. “Every kid needs a pet, right?”
“Get her dog, Alphonse!” Hal chuckled. Hal was quiet for a moment and then continued, “You consider tennis balls?”
“Apples are free,” Morales replied, gesturing to the trees scattered around the property. Suddenly, little Penelope hopped over the fence that surrounded the pigs and ran toward the house.
“Where you headed, honey?” Morales called.
“Potty, dad,” Penelope chirped, hopping up the farmhouse steps and kicking off her mud-spattered galoshes. The scene was just about what he and his wife had imagined. Almost. Morales sighed and turned back to his guest. Hal was holding the apple in his hand.
“Go fetch!” he said, tossing the mud-covered Red Delicious across the pen. Chubby waddled after it. In a moment he was trotting back toward the men with the apple stuffed happily into his mouth. Hal let out a laugh.
“Kinda makes you hungry, don’t it?” Hal chuckled again.
“In all honesty, yes,” Morales agreed. Both men laughed now and Alphonse Morales felt warmed by the camaraderie he felt at that moment, leaning on the rails in the sun on his very own land.
“How are you ever gonna tell that child where bacon comes from?” Hal asked conspiratorially.
“No idea,” Alphonse responded.