Gwen Peterson: Friends share tale of opposing urban, rural understanding
Two old rocking-chair cowgirls, Thelma and Louise, sat reminiscing and rocking on Thelma’s front porch.
Now Thelma’s house happens to be on Main Street. Main Street’s business section is only two blocks long, plus the Lariat Laundromat in the third block. Thelma’s dwelling is next to the Laundromat. Her porch is a mighty fine place from which to reminisce about the good old days, utter words of wisdom and watch passersby.
On a recent afternoon, while beating the heat by sitting on the shady porch along with drinking — possibly — an adult beverage, Thelma and Louise took a verbal walk down memory lane. Thelma and her family had run cattle. Louise and her husband, Clive, were more diversified with cattle and sheep, plus they farrowed out a dozen sow pigs twice yearly.
Generally, it was Louise who mid-wifed the birthing, usually half a dozen piglets to a young sow and as many as twelve or fourteen to an older mamma pig.
Two times a year Louise became the person to wield the cutting knife in order to change the boar piglets’ attitudes. Clive would catch a piglet, drape it upside down over a rod so piggy’s jewels were handily exposed to knife-brandishing Louise.
“Yep, always liked pigs,” Louise said. “I was always the one to do the cutting and vaccinating while Clive held the little critter steady. I got pretty good at it. I always used a scalpel. Sterilized it with alcohol and whisk, whisk, relieved the little guy of his oyster bits. Never had any problems, ‘cept once when a piglet squirmed and my knife slipped and sliced my index finger to the bone.”
“Ouch,” Thelma said. “What’d you do?”
“Well, we had around 30 piglets to cut and we were darn near finished, so I wrapped a tissue around my finger and rubber-banded it, hoping that would slow down the bleeding. Then we finished the cutting job. Clive said he thought I oughta go to the clinic and get a tetanus shot.”
“Good thinking,” Thelma said.
“Maybe, but I sure scared a nurse,” Louise said.
“Scared a nurse,” Thelma said.
‘Yeah, when I unwrapped my finger, she said, ‘Oh, my. You’ll need stitches.’ Then she asked, ‘What happened?’ So I said, ‘Well I was cuttin’ pigs…’ She got a horrified look on her face and asked, ‘but why?’
“That’s when I knew she was a city girl. So I kinda explained that in the country, male animals get castrated unless kept for breeding purposes — horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, cats. I kept adding more animals to the list, but I could tell each revelation added to her astonishment.”
She said, in a kinda snooty tone, “The poor things!” ❖
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.