And this little piggy went to the market
By Richard E. Noble
Have you ever butchered and slaughtered a pig? You haven’t? Oh boy are you missing some real fun! This is an experience in life that you really shouldn’t miss. But lucky for you, I am here to tell you all about it. No, no, you don’t have to thank me, I’m getting paid to do this - not very much - but I am getting paid.
Many, many years ago, I worked as a butcher in a wholesale meat packing house. There was a co-worker there who was Portuguese. He had taken his little daughter to a fair and she discovered a little baby pig. The daughter pestered and pestered my friend Tony to buy this pig for her - so he did.
For months and months, businesses that we delivered meat to saved Tony stuff to feed his pig. He had built a little house for the pig out in the backyard and his daughter fed the little pig every morning and after school when she got home. She had a million pictures of her and her little pig she had named Petunia.
Well Petunia got bigger and bigger until one day Tony announced that he was having a celebration this coming Sunday and Petunia was going to be the guest of honor. There would be free beer and lots of food.
Tony had stopped feeding Petunia 48 hours before the fateful Sunday arrived. Petunia was most definitely aware that something foreboding was in her future.
We went out back to invite Petunia up to the garage to join in the festivities. She was cowering in a corner of her tiny house. Somehow we got Petunia out of her house and up to the garage - but she was not very happy about this whole situation.
If you have never heard a pig scream bloody murder you don’t really know what terror sounds like. Oh my god, that poor pig! I can still see the look in its eyes. Talk about fear; talk about betrayal. And all the while there’s this little girl grabbing onto this poor pig around the neck and hugging and kissing it. She was balling her eyes out and wailing almost as loudly as Petunia - but not quite.
We finally got Petunia up onto a butcher’s block inside the garage. I had a hold of one of her front legs. I can still feel the power and strength of the poor living thing. She was kicking for her life. It seemed like she knew what we were up to, but how could she? Instinct, I suppose. It is probably something that is imbedded in her genetic code. She knew darn well that it was now or never for her and she was screaming and kicking for her life.
We finally got her spread eagled on the block and Tony then got some ropes tied to her back legs. The ropes were then hooked up to an overhead chain-fall that was tied to a rafter in the garage.
I thought that Tony was going to haul Petunia up by the heels and then slit her throat or maybe shoot her behind the ear with a 22. But Petunia would not be so lucky. It seems that a part of the Old Portuguese tradition was bleeding the pig. The pig had to be “stuck”. So Tony got this poker but before he could get to sticking the pig, his little girl broke loose once again and had attached herself around Petunia’s neck. Oh my, was that little girl in misery.
Tony seemed to have compassion for his daughter but he just motioned to his wife and some of the Old Portuguese women who were there for the “celebration”. They finally got the child subdued and Tony went up to the front of the pig. He put his poker right under Petunia chinny chin chin and shoved it into her chest and then into her heart.
When he pulled the poker out, blood came squirting out in an inch thick steady stream. A little old lady with an apron covering her front and a bandana around her head rushed up with a big porcelain dishpan and caught the blood stream while a bunch of other guys hoisted Petunia up into the air by her back legs. She was still screaming - screaming like a stuck pig.
I don’t know how long Petunia continued screaming while dangling there from the chain fall but it seemed like forever.
When she finally stopped screaming Tony went over and slit her down the middle and all her guts came tumbling out in a sack.
The old women then came running over and began pulling out the intestines and cutting away the heart and grabbing other vital entrails.
They took the intestines over to a table and began cleaning the poop out of them - they were going to be cleaned and soaked and then stuffed with some ground Petunia to make homemade sausage. The blood in the porcelain pan was used in the process to make some sort of blood sausage.
It was all going to be ready that evening and we could all hang around and eat some if we wanted to.
Strangely enough I didn’t have much appetite - and certainly not for blood sausage.
A number of years later I was working with this guy who ate cheese sandwiches everyday for lunch. When I asked him what was up with all the cheese, he said; “Well, I’m one of those weirdoes who thinks that animals have the right to live too.”
“Really,” I said. “You mean you don’t think that anybody should eat any meat?”
“Well, I don’t really care if other people eat meat but if they do, I think that they should have to kill it themselves.”
“Wow,” I said. “If they ever make that the law, Wisconsin would be the new capital of the United States and wine and cheese tasting parties would take on a whole new popularity.”
I wondered if he had ever been to a “pig sticking” party.
Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on Amazon.com and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.