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When pigs fly, they need a pet carrier

April 18, 2011

Like many people, there are stores that I've said I'd shop at  when pigs fly. Or when there's another flood of biblical proportions.

Turns out this weekend I hit all three.

We are in the process of selling off our litter of piglets, which are now at about the age they will go to their permanent homes. Some of these homes are local, some aren't.

One of the little girls is bound for Florida, and because of the distance involved, she is flying Delta (I would have liked to see her go on Pan Ham). So we're taking her to the airpork on Saturday, but in preparation we needed a pig-quality pet carrier, which we could find only at one of those stores for reasons I refuse to openly speculate upon.

We got some groceries while we were there, and it was quite the experience — and I mean that in a good way.

We got behind a family of four, and the first thing the guy had put in their basket was a 36-pack of beer, at which point, his concerns being addressed, he clearly detached himself emotionally from the rest of the shopping experience.

He was still pushing the buggy, it was true, but his eyes were glazed over and his mind was long gone. If his wife had placed a giraffe in their cart, I doubt he would have noticed one way or the other.

We finally located the carriers, but there were too many choices. I told a store employee that we had this little piglet, see, and were had to fly her to Florida and that because of that we'd nicknamed her Janie Buffett (I threw this in to kind of break the ice, since I didn't feel the girl was tracking with me) and we needed a carrier, and we had its description on a printout, but I still wasn't sure I had the right one and could she help.

I appreciated her honesty when she said, "You might want to ask someone else."

Suddenly I was hit with an inspiration, and I pulled out my phone, which has a barcode app on it. I scanned the product while saying in a voice loud enough for Beth — and probably everyone else in the store — to hear, "See, I TOLD you it wasn't just a parlor trick, I TOLD you this might come in handy some day, I think I SAID that it was a useful tool."

I then looked at the screen, which told me I had just scanned a cantaloupe.

When we finally figured we had the right one, we left the store to discover that it was raining pretty hard. This is actually good news for the pigs, which treat mud with the same respect that some lawyers have for slippery floors.

But it was not good for our creek bottom, which kept surrendering ever more terra firma to the ever rising water. There is, or was, a willow tree halfway down the meadow that had lived through numerous floods and reached a height of maybe 20 feet. Its main root extended for another 10 feet into the creek, and toward the end of the day the force of the water overcame the root's ability to hold its ground.

With an impressive crack, the whole tree came loose and began floating, upright, downstream. This is the point in a Red Skelton skit where the wino looks at the tree, looks at his bottle, looks back at the tree and pours the contents of the bottle out on the street.

The tree sailed along slick as a whistle until it jammed into a cattle guard at the far end of the property — where for all the world it looks as if it will be happy growing for another 20 years.

Well, if pigs can fly, why not?


Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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