October 6, 2016
Sarah and Ryan baled out of the truck and ran for Mr. Kirkpatrick’s show pig barn. Kirkpartick Hog Farm had supplied pigs for their 4-H club for several years.
“Hurry, Dad. I get first pick for the fair.” Sarah, her brown pony tail bouncing behind her, burst into the barn and ran to a pen full of squealing piglets. She squatted on her knees and stretched her hand through the wire squares toward the little pigs running helter-skelter around the pen.
“I like the one with blue spots.” Ryan climbed onto the railing beside his younger sister. Though his twelve years was two more than his sister, they looked enough alike to be twins, brown hair, brown eyes, sun-browned faces with deep dimples.
“You can’t pick first.” Sarah jumped up and stomped her foot. “You got the best pig last year. I get first pick.”
Dad walked up. “Sarah, let’s pick your pig.”
She crinkled her nose at Ryan.
“Dad, see the black one with the white band around her middle.” The pig walked up and sniffed Sarah’s outstretched hand. “She likes me. I want her.” Sarah scratched behind the pert black ears. The pig leaned into her hand as if to say, ‘That feels good.’
“That’s a great way to pick a pig.” Mocking Sarah, Ryan stuck his arm through the wire and waggled his fingers, “She likes me.”
“That’s enough, Ryan,” said Dad. “Sarah, are you sure you want that pig? She’s pretty small. Don’t you want to look at the others?”
“No, I want this one. She turned to her brother, “My pig will beat any pig you choose.”
National 4-H Week—Second Installment
Ryan pointed to the spotted one he had first seen. “Look, Dad. See that cross bred pig with the blue spots. I like the way he’s muscled.”
“Looks like a good pig to me. You kids sure made quick choices. Are you sure?”
Both heads nodded vigorously.
Mr. Kirkpatrick scooped up Sarah’s pig and put her in the crate in the back of the truck.
“See, Ryan. She’s a good pig.” Sarah climbed onto the tailgate and looked through the crate bars. “She didn’t wiggle or squeal. She’s a lady.”
Mr. Kirkpatrick went back to get Ryan’s pig. He grabbed at it, but it darted away.
“Come on, Ryan.” Dad climbed into the pen. The three of them trapped the pig in a corner. Mr. Kirkpatrick caught it. The pig climbed over his shoulder and jumped to the barn floor.
“Don’t let him out,” Mr. Kirkpatrick roared, “or we’ll never catch him.”
Ryan slammed the barn door, lunged for the pig, missed, and landed in the dirt. Sarah opened an empty pen. In it went and she slammed the gate. Dad caught the squealing, wiggling bundle and carried it to the truck.
“You sure picked a lively one.” Dad latched the crate. “Have you thought of a name?”
“It’s Blue because he has blue spots on his rump.” Ryan wiped smelly mud off his hands onto his not-to-clean jeans.
“Mine is Lady because she knows how to behave.” Sarah’s ponytail flipped from side to side as she skipped to the truck.
On the way home, Sarah watched the pigs out the back window. Lady’s black and white coat gleamed. Blue’s spots were covered in mud. “Doesn’t Lady look pretty? She has better manners than Blue.” Sarah’s voice was as sweet as dripping syrup.
“Judges aren’t interested in manners. That’s for people,” Ryan answered with an older brother tone.