Standingtall |


This is a true story as related to me by a long-time ranch woman. We’ll call her Hannah. I think she’s telling the truth. She starts off with some personal history on the fine art of pig farrowing. The reason for the pig essay will become clear as you read on.

Once upon a time, on our little ranch, said Hannah, a reminiscent note in her voice, we farrowed several sow pigs and raised the weaners to butcher size. You might say we were “diversified” since we also ran cattle and sheep. In those days, we did it all.

As primary mid-wife to mama swine, I spent a lot of time in the pig shed. Also, I was primary pig cutter (the practice of causing boar piglets to grow up with a milder attitude toward the world). While my husband held the squealer in the appropriate attitude, I wielded the scalpel.

As with many smaller outfits, continued Hannah, a rancher’s wife often takes on outside jobs to help with finances. (Ranchers, and cowboys gravitate toward nurses, school-teachers and librarians as life mates.)


I took on a job as dispatcher at the local sheriff’s office. I thought it was fun. The deputies were all great guys except for one bully who made it his business, hobby and passionate practice to try to intimidate the women dispatchers. I call him, Bubba-the-Bully.

Hannah grinned. (You might say she smirked.)

“Well,” I encouraged, “don’t stop there! What happened?”

As a pig farmer, said Hannah, I recognized BB’s overbearing attitude and simply ignored him. Plus, my work-shift seldom coincided with his duty schedule, which may account for having avoided confrontation for some time.

“You had a confrontation? When? What? C’mon Hannah, tell all!”

It was this way. There came a time when all employees were instructed to participate in a training video “test,” which meant we watched and answered questions about a possible crime-in-progress situation where we had to make instant decisions on whether to use a weapon to shoot the target felon as depicted in the video. I thought it was plumb interesting and participated with enthusiasm.

“And, and??” I pressed.

Well… my, my, my… Mr. Bubba-the-Bully went to the sheriff and tried to have me fired. BB claimed I’d messed up on the video test. But I had the results on record. I had scored 100 percent. Bubba the Bully’s sneaky ploy was foiled.

Hannah’s grin widened. So, then, she said, I worked another month just to make it plain to BB that he hadn’t succeeded in ousting me. Then I handed in my resignation. I found it distasteful to work around people like BB and besides, it was spring farrowing time. I had the usual farrowing chores to do and the neutering of all the little boarlets.

And then Hannah recited the following poem … It’s kinda my personal philosophy, she said. I call it Philosophy 101.

Sometimes in life, you must stand tall

To keep your dignity;

Don’t let some smart aleck bully you

With vile iniquity.

For if you do, he’ll be encouraged

To spew more nasty venom;

So, take a stand, don’t let him win —

No way by heaven!

So when I left my shift that day

My words to Bubba were few:

Tomorrow, Bubba, I’ll be cuttin’ pigs,

And I’ll be thinkin’ of you…

Hannah’s beaming grin could have lit up a dark room.

Revenge she stated: Is sweet and, it’s not fattening. ❖