Through the Fence 8-16-10
Besides raising children to be responsible citizens, part of a parent’s job is to keep kids humble. I have many opportunities to do just that since I teach at my children’s school. Babyish nicknames for my son, Landon, slip out every now and then. Some of the more embarrassing ones are “Landie Booty” and the “Man-Child” – pretty humiliating for a 6-foot-tall 15-year-old. Not that it ever stops me, but my teenage kids don’t always appreciate me hugging and kissing on them in front of their friends at school. But that is a mother’s prerogative and a convenient benefit of getting to be with them all day.
Our neighbor, Paul, told me a story of ultimate humiliation he suffered while at school when he was a teenager. He and a half dozen other ag students were outside the ag shop trying to load some pigs into a little trailer. They had loaded all but one, a fat old sow who had no interest in climbing aboard with the others. They had made a makeshift chute out of some gate panels placed next to a wire fence. The boys could coax her toward the trailer, but about halfway there; she’d turn and run back into the barn. They were getting really frustrated. And then Paul looked up and saw his dad let his mom out of the truck, and she headed his way.
“Oh no!” he thought. “Why did she have to come up here today – right now? I know she’ll just embarrass me!” After she gave him a hug, she hugged all the other big boys in the group, most of whom she’d known since they were babies.
“What are y’all trying to do?” she asked sweetly.
They explained the problem with the reluctant sow, and after she watched them try in vain to load it a few more times, she volunteered to help. They boys shooed the pig down the lane once again, while Paul’s mother got right behind her. And once again, the animal made a u-turn and headed back toward the barn.
When she did, she walked right between Paul’s mom’s legs and kept going. His mother fell face forward on top of the pig. Her big full skirt flipped up over her back revealing her bright red underpants. The pig scampered back to the safety of the stall with her rider astride, exposed as she was. Right before the duo entered the barn, Paul’s mom fell off – right into a pile of sticky mud and fresh pig poop. Paul was silently mortified, but his friends couldn’t hold back their laughter, and his mom was good-natured enough to laugh along with them. They eventually had to call in more experienced pig herders to get the job done, since, despite her confidence, Paul’s mama just wasn’t up to the job.
The next week when Paul and his brother were designing homemade posters for the upcoming rodeo, the brother kept the joke alive. He drew a larger than life raging pig with steam coming out of its snout and a little lady on its back with her skirt over her head. It sported the caption: “Come to the Rodeo! See Ma Kirby and Ol’ Pork Chop!” Even though she didn’t offer a repeat performance for the rodeo fans, Mrs. Kirby came and enjoyed another laugh at her own expense since the story had already spread throughout their small town.
The next time I do something that embarrasses my kids I will have to remind them of this true story. And although, I’ve done some pretty crazy stuff, they haven’t had to endure that sort of torture. Not yet.