Digging the Pig
I'm obsessed with pigs, and it started with the best pig of all time: Miss Piggy. I had the Miss Piggy puppet, cookie jar, pajamas, lamp and, well, it's safe to say I had the works.
Purple was my favorite color because it was The Pig's favorite. My love for Miss Piggy endured even when I was supposedly too old (so my friends told me) to dig The Pig.
I begged my -parents to let me paint my room -purple, something they weren't too keen on in the days when mauve and peach were the trend. They finally relented after I caught our kitchen on fire.
It was a bustling morning because it was the most important day in the life of a seventh-grader: school -picture day.
After popping some bread in the toaster, I rushed to my closet to don my purple outfit. I had special -permission to wear makeup (purple mascara!) and pantyhose. I was fighting the pantyhose, one leg in and one leg half in, when the fire detector shrieked.
I ran-hopped into the kitchen. My dad had beaten me to the source of the fire, the toaster, where he was batting with a kitchen towel the flames licking the ceiling.
My parents were very cool about the whole fire thing. How was I to know, they reasoned, that one should not put toast back into the toaster after slathering it with butter?
Though it was only our kitchen that was destroyed, I got lucky. Thanks to the smoke damage, we had to redo the whole house. Woo hoo, I got my purple room, which unbelievably, is still purple to this day.
Bella gets a kick out of sleeping in my old bed surrounded by relics of The Pig.
My dad was into pigs, too, but he liked the real ones. He decided to raise one of his own, built a pen and brought home an adorable pink thing whose oinks sounded more like squeaks.
I named her Petunia, and my -sister and I walked her around our yard on a leash. After she grew up and was too heavy to frolic with a little girl, I visited her in her pen and petted her as I scooped food into her trough.
You know the fate Petunia met, of course. Daddy, a butcher by trade, made bacon out of her. That's when I first heard the old chicken and pig joke. In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what's the difference between the chicken and the pig? The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.
Hmm, come to think of it, there may be a link between the trauma of eating my pet and becoming a -vegetarian later in life. But I sure do miss bacon.
Years later, when I went to -college, my dad decided the perfect cure for empty-nesters was a pot-bellied pig. And he wanted it to live in the house. My poor mother didn't even want dogs inside, but she indulged him.
Daddy named his new pet after himself. Rudolph tended to the needs of Rudy like a doting father. He worked hard to litter train Rudy and was successful. He bottle-fed Rudy long past when Rudy needed it, and Daddy was downright begrudging about giving up bottle-feeding to me when I was home on breaks.
Alas, I have no living pigs in my life now, but thanks to the Muppet movie that came out a few months ago, I've reconnected with the pig that started it all.
Bella didn't understand why I cried during "The Muppets." I couldn't explain to her that it was like reuniting with an old friend. And this friend was on the big screen in all her glory!
Now that the movie is out on DVD, I have unlimited access to Miss Piggy, and the obsession is back with a vengeance. Maybe I should paint a room in our house purple.
But this time, I'm going to do it without a fire.
Contact freelance writer Melanie Coughlin at coughlin@embarqmail. com.
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