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Mostly Memories
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 • Posted April 15, 2009

Hog Pens and Politics

“Me thinks they oft times smell the same.”

People, in a sense, are funny creatures. For instance, things that appear dirty, trashy and offensive to the elderly might have meant little to the same people in their early teens. Let me define that statement in this manner:

In driving around town and observing ill kept front yards with untrimmed hedges and trashy back yards I think “what terrible neighbors such people must be.” However, in recalling the days of my youth the thought occurred to me that our family might well have fit into that category, for in the early 1920’s we had in our back yard an item that might be considered offensive in any neighborhood. We had a hog pen!!

Not only did we have a hog pen with it’s odors, we also had a cow and calf as well as chickens and when the wind was in the right direction our neighbors became well aware of our possessions. While such possessions were the norm for people living in the country they were a bit uncommon for townsfolk.

I was perhaps in my sixties before I realized just how our neighbors may have felt about our animals. In my early teens I gave little thought to odors emanating from our back yard. Oh, I was aware of them, but I presume I was either “standing too close or back too far” and had become so accustomed to the frequent sour smell of the hog wallow that I did not realize it might be offensive to a particular neighbor.

Immediately west and across a street from our back yard stood a two story home with high columns reminiscent of the southern type homes of the “Gone with the Wind” era. And, among the occupants of this house was an elderly gentleman who was a look-alike to the “Colonel” of fried chicken fame.

If those good people ever resented the menagerie in our back yard they were kind enough never to let us know their true feelings. In our defense however, I will say that a high board fence, a garage and a barn blocked off most of the view from our neighbors.

I spent many hours shucking corn and carrying what we called slop to those hogs. Many more hours were spent watching them enjoy rooting around and wallowing in a stinky old mud puddle and still more standing by the fence scratching an old sow’s back just to hear her grunt with pleasure.

One thing I learned by watching those hogs was that in their greed to keep other hogs as well as their own offspring’s from getting any of the slop they would invariably turn over their food trough, spilling the contents on the ground and thereby creating another mud puddle in which to wallow.

Nowadays when I think of hog pens, slop and wallowing I think of Washington D. C. as the hog pen; the innuendos and leaks spilled by the media and “get even” politicians as the slop, and the efforts to bring down the other party by both the media and opposing politicians as the joy of wallowing in the mud puddle created by the spillage.

In my view I see many of our Congress people playing party politics by imitating the hogs in turning over our food trough and delaying recovery efforts in order to oppose the current administration.

The scratching so enjoyed by those hogs has been enjoyed by politicians since the beginning of time by following the practice of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.......

In thinking about the menagerie in our back yard as well as the one in Washington I am reminded of the following statement said to have been made by Harry S. Truman: “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference.”

The ever present innuendos brought forth against anything or anybody favored by the other party puts me in mind of another saying about truth: “Truth, sir, is a cow, which will yield the skeptics no more milk: so they have gone to milk the bull.” (Dr. Samuel Johnson-1708-1784)

I say this because up to now I have seen no real harm these innuendos have produced except in the minds of readers willing to let the writer do his thinking for him. While they have caused the one making these allegations no harm by implying that “something is rotten in Denmark” they have put the other party on the defensive.

To sum it all up:

I would say that the innuendo writers have gone forth to milk the bull and while I have no facts on which to propose the premise that this is a bunch of “hogwash”. I base this belief on nothing other than that “old gut feeling” that the entire mess they are making is merely a muddy puddle for the media and the politicians to wallow in. And we all know how they do love to wallow!

In watching the current group of mouthpieces in congress wallowing around in the hogwash suggested above I reminded of still another quote this time from Brandon Behan which in my mind reveals the true effectiveness of most critics:

“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem.They are there every night. They see it done every night. They see how it should be done every night. But they can’t do it themselves.”


The morning after one of our country boy coffee sippers had returned from San Antonio where he attended “The Phantom of the Opera” we asked him if he could sing us an aria from the Opera. He said “No, I can’t do that but I want you to know that I do feel “culturally cleansed” after seeing that show.

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