Apr 26 2010
06:08 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Sure am glad spring is here and our cold winter is all over for another year. We had a couple of "hog-killing" days that's for sure. Speaking of hog killing, when I grew up in Clymersville the neighbors would all help each other out with that chore. My two cousins, Johnny and Jay Warner would always help and knew their duties well. Jay would shoot the hog and Johnny would stick it.
Now one December morning it was time. I walked over to the hog lot and stood there leaning against the woven wire fence looking down on the sleeping and belly-grunting Poland China boar lying there stretched out in the icy cold mud of the hog lot. He laid there in the mud with his wet snout wrinkling as he snorted, quivered and dreamed of whatever it is boar hogs dream about, probably 500 pound sows. I could see his two razor sharp ivory tusks growing out of his lower jaw and curving clean up around his long snout. He sure wasn't what you'd consider making into a pet hog, and I was glad we were butchering him.
Jay came from out of the house with his little single shot, bolt action Stevens .22 rifle, closed the bolt on a shell and leaning it against the hog lot fence asked Johnny if he was ready with the butcher knife. "Yep", he said and the water is just right for scalding". I turned around just in time to see Johnny's little brother pick up the rifle and fire a round and the little rifle cracked keen in the cold mountain air. Jay grabbed the rifle and Johnny awoke from a short nap, (probably had a drink or two), but seeing Jay holding the rifle, figured he had just shot the hog.
Now when a hog goes down, usually the first thing a person cuts is the hog's "prized possessions", also known as "mountain oysters", a delicacy for some people. Before I could say anything, Johnny crawled across the fence, and with all of us looking on, he got down on his knees beside the big boar hog muttering under his breath, knife in hand, made a quick slash and flung them over the fence. I thought the world was coming to an end, never saw such a commotion in all of my life. The hog came out of that mud like a five hundred pound blast of dynamite, slinging mud and blood in ever direction. The hog went about five feet straight up, legs churning and his tusks clacking, trying to get to Johnny. He finally got his churning feet to working and slinging his churn-size head side-to-side hit Johnny like a runaway freight train. Johnny turned a complete somersault in midair and when he came back down, landed astraddle that old boar's high arched back facing backwards. Johnny rode the boar for a few seconds but was no match for it. Finally when Johnny lost the fight, he lay there, lost both of his tennis shoes, and his toes were curled up like a dead crows in the cold morning air. His hair was matted and his face was covered with mud, blood, and everything from the hog pen. Jay shot the hog a couple of times and the butchering was completed.
After that experience, I told Bill Wilkey, "There's no telling how much money we could make if we could take Johnny and Jay around to butcher hogs, probably charge folks twenty-five cents a head to watch." To my knowledge, I don't think Jay and Johnny butchered any more hogs.
Ray's books "Rockwood Memories" can be found at "Shack's Restaurant" "O'Those Were The Days Antiques" David Webb's "Rocky Top General Store" or call Ray at 865-354-7680.

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