by Newt Harlan
Before I get started on the actual tale I must thank the many people who made this story possible, including the Coon Creek Hog Hunters Association, Johnson’s Wild Pig Farm and Bait Stand, Quilting and Beauty Salon, Sam Houston Institute of Technology-Hogging Department, and of course the residents of Splendora, Texas. Without the generous help of all above this story would not have been possible.
The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used are fictitious and any similarity to the names, characters, or history of any person is entirely accidental and unintentional, with the exception of course of Herman the Humongous Hog.
A hog once ate my little brother. Well, actually, the hog didn't really eat my little brother, he just kind of ate him. Well, actually, it was more like a bite than getting truly eaten by the hog. Well, it really wasn't a real bite, but it scared the hell out of my little brother and caused me considerable angst as well. Beware of pigs carrying sticks in their mouths.
This all happened in 1949, but I don't remember exactly what day it was. I'm sure it wasn't Tuesday because due to a printing error the calendars in 1949 didn't have Tuesdays. It could've been a Wednesday or a Friday, but it wasn't Saturday because Saturday was the day the teddy bears had their picnic. In truth, the actual day of the occurrence is unimportant, just that it occurred.
Anyway, it was a dark and cloudy day in the woods my little brother, and Dave and I were traipsing through, when suddenly Dave fell into this big old, deep hole that was probably 10 or 9 feet deep, but luckily someone had left a ladder in the hole and he used the ladder and just climbed right back out again. I told Dave he was lucky that ladder was in the hole or else he'd have been in the dry land version of Davy Jones’ Locker, except his last name was Copperfield and not Jones.
Little Brother wanted to know since that was a pig trap, why weren't there any pigs in it? Sometimes little brothers are pure-dee idgits. We had to explain to him that there weren't no pigs in the pig trap because there weren't no hens in the hen house and there weren’t no schools in the school house and there weren’t no rabbits in the rabbit hole, but little brother didn't understand and the day stayed cloudy and the jays kept screeching their warning and one single raven quothed, “Nevermore.”
To make a long story short, Dave and I decided we'd finish up the pig trap and trap us some pigs. We set to work gathering limbs and brush to cover the hole so the pigs wouldn't notice the hole and fall in it. While we were doing the covering, we sent Little Brother to the house to get some corn to use for bait in the trap. We drug and covered and covered and drug until the hole was covered and drug.
About that time little brother got back, but he couldn't find the corn so he brought a sack filled with some black eye peas and half rotten cantaloupes. Dave and I told him that would get him a gold star since we'd heard pigs love peas and cantaloupes, and it’s a well known fact that pigs can smell cantaloupes from as far away as three miles.
We sprinkled the peas and cantaloupes all around the hole to bait the trap. Somehow about that time the evil twins moved in, in place of Dave and me and wouldn’t you just know it, them hellions convinced Little Brother that it would be a good idea for him to climb down into the hole and call up the pigs to make the bait work better? Actually, this was going to be a plan sort of like the old snipe hunt except without the snipes.
Little Brother was to climb down the ladder into the hole and sit on the bottom rung. Approximately every 5 minutes he was to holler, “Soooooeeey pig, soooey,” to call up the pigs. Dave and I were going to hide in the bushes and when the pigs got close to the trap, we would chase them in and when the pigs ran in Little Brother would climb out on the ladder leaving behind the trapped pigs.
We got Little Brother situated in the hole, and Dave and I found some bushes to hide in. Did I mention it was a dark and cloudy day? Well, it was a dark and cloudy day and the jays were screeching their warning that something weird was about to happen, and the ravens were busily quothing, “Nevermore, nevermore.” Unfortunately, nobody knew how weird nevermore might turn out to be.
Humongous Herman was the biggest hog in Jefferson County and probably San Augustine County and probably the world. He was every bit of 15 foot from the tip of his tail to the tip of his snout and would’ve weighed at least 1200 pounds . . . barefooted. No matter how you sliced it, Humongous Herman was a humongous hog.
He was so big that grown men were know to weep upon catching a glimpse of him. We weren’t even grown men, but we liked to have peed in our britches and were up and hauling ass for the house in less time than it takes to say Little Brother. Oh sh. . .! We still had to get Little Brother out of that hole. We were running and yelling at him to climb out and get going, all the while looking back to make sure we were well ahead of old Herman and the passel of pork.
All Little Brother heard down in the hole was a bunch of noise and climbed out to see what all the commotion was about. Just as he cleared the top step on the ladder, Dave and I streaked by him, knowing Humongous Herman was right on our ass. Little Brother saw old Humongous about the same time he saw us and cut loose with a banshee scream that pierced all the noise in the forest. Except we didn’t call them forests in those days, we called them woods and it pierced all the noise in the woods, but for the ravens who all continued quothing, “Nevermore, nevermore."
When Humongous heard Little Brother’s screech, he slammed on his brakes, but he hit a piece of cantaloupe which sent him into a skid and his hind leg hit another piece of cantaloupe and sent it flying, and it hit Little Brother right square in the ass and little Brother thought sure Humongous was chomping on his butt and cut loose with another scream. We looked back to see what the second scream was about just in time to see Humongous along with 3 or 4 shoats go head over heels into the hole that was now a pig trap.
Dave and I were out of gas from all that running and we figgered since Humongous was in the hole and couldn’t get us we could slow it down to a dogtrot. Little Brother didn’t see the hogs go in the hole and breezed by us in high gear and kept it in overdrive all the way to the house, sure that Humongous was inches from chomping on his ass.
It was a dark and stormy night, but all in all, this entire story has a happy ending. The hog hunters forgave us since they had a whole hole full of hogs. Daddy forgave Dave and me for using Little Brother for hog bait since he claimed a share of the whole hole full of hogs -- and Daddy loved him some pork. Dave was able to trade the piggin’ string he found to a calf ropin’ hog hunter for a broke-bladed Barlow knife.
There was folks that said me and Dave and Little Brother really didn’t catch Humongous Herman because when the hog hunters checked the trap, on a dark and stormy night, the only thing in there was a farrow of shoats, but in a nearby tree there was an unkindness of ravens quothing, “Nevermore and nevermore.” Me and Dave figgered that Old Herman must’ve climbed over all them other hogs in the hole and climbed the ladder out of the trap.
And that’s what happened the day the hogs ate my little brother.
I wonder does it hurt ravens when they quoth?
Newt tells us about himself:
I was born, raised and educated in Texas. With the exception of a few brief sojourns and the 4 years during the Vietnam Era that I spent riding around on airplanes courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, I've spent the more than 65 years of my life within spittin’ distance of the place where I grew up. I managed to cram a four-year college degree into nine years and by virtue of that remarkable feat, I am a former student of six different schools, which sure helps the odds of rooting for a winner in sporting events. The academic standards committee had a moment of weakness and I was the fortunate recipient of a degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
I've been married for 30-some odd years and have beaucoup kids and grandkids. I'm now retired after having spent the better part of the past 37 years traveling around Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama, trying to sell steel products. My hobbies, in no particular order, include writing, grandkids, hunting, fishing and visiting the local watering hole to swap honest lies and research material for stories.
E-mail Newt at: Newt281@embarqmail.com
Want to read more of Newt’s stories at USADEEPSOUTH? Click these links:
Ol’ Red and the Armadillo
Telephones and memories
Tastes like chicken
Basura Blanca News
That's Entertainment ~ '50s style
Belly Waddin' Lunch
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