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Boss Hog Comes to the Ranch

Jan. 5, 2017 at midnight

This new year started off with a fright that got everyone's "adrenaline pumping," as Mimi says. My oldest son, 16-year-old Austin, came bounding in our bedroom in the very early morning hours.

He came right up to my face and stared hard to get my attention. Every parent knows the feeling of waking up from a deep sleep to see a face mere inches away from yours with their eyes boring a hole in your forehead. My eyes immediately sprang open in alarm, and my heart was beating so hard I forced myself to take calming breaths.

I knew that something was wrong. Austin's eyes were wide, he was talking very fast in nervousness, and wringing his hands. After shaking John to get his attention, Austin recounted how he heard these strange popping noises outside his bedroom window. At first, he said he thought he was dreaming, but he soon realized that they were real. Since we live out in the middle of nowhere, we are accustomed to strange, wild and weird noises. With the popping noises, he wasn't too alarmed. Further investigation was attempted as he did a quick glance out of his curtains. It was then that the bells sounded when he saw some startling yellow eyes looking right back at him. He added that "they looked angry" for effect. He closed his curtains, rubbed his eyes and shook his head several times, and peered through his curtains once again. This time he saw nothing. Then he told us that the popping noises continued this time accompanied with grunting and a sort of high-pitched growl. That is when he yelled, "Momma." I don't know why, but for some reason whenever Texas boys are in trouble, they always yell for their Mommas.

To complicate his story was that the night before he stayed up much too late watching some gruesome werewolf horror movie. When I caught a certain scene, I had to quickly leave the room as the main character transformed into a hideous, drooling, figure of a beast. Austin couldn't contain his laughter and snorted at me with, "Girls are just so weak."

After John and I listened to his excited description, we tried to calm him down. My oldest child takes after his mother in his persistence, which gives me a sense of pride and appreciation for what my parents went through raising me. We got out of bed, and Austin pleaded with John to grab his gun. Austin continued to blubber incoherently the whole way to our front door. Against his protests, John eased the open the front. Immediately we were greeted with the backsides of 12 piglets rooting through my flower beds and inching their way through our carpet grass. They looked like a comic strip as they were pushing each other out of the way trying out new spots for the tastiest worms and grubs as their curled tails flopped from side to side. The piglets seemed completely oblivious to us, and we didn't discourage them with our presence, as our porch light shone brightly into the dark morning.

John was fixing to take aim against my many protests of their cuteness and my desire for a yard pet, when around the corner came the fright. A grossly overweight, mean momma was not happy with our presence and was coming our way to tell us that. The grotesque mother of all hogs with roughly 8-inch long tusks protruding from her slobber-covered mouth was making grunts and squeals that let us know that she knew remarkably well how to use her shiny teeth. Her eyes were a startling yellow and she was foamed at the mouth. She looked mad that we disturbed her fun and decided that we were much too close to her curly-tailed, hungry little babies, for her liking.

A quick location check and we realized the she was right. Austin seemed to realize this a little quicker than we did as he was the first to make it to our front door as John and I were immediately behind him and tried to go through the door at the same time. John being the gentleman let me go first and I wasn't about to argue with that. I think that John forgot about the fact that he was armed, as she was much too close to do anything accurately with his scoped deer rifle. Once safely through the front door, all popping, grunting and squealing stopped.

The around 500-pound big, bad momma was quite proud of herself and as I looked through our glassed front door I saw her nonchalantly walking away from our yard in no hurry with her piglets surrounding her. I strained my eyes, and I saw the piglets raise their chins in pride. While interpreting the thoughts on their speckled faces, I could sense their admiration, "You told them, Momma, you get 'em good."

Right then my youngest son, Jamison, came around the corner rubbing his eyes and asking what all the fuss was about. He slept through the whole ordeal and didn't hear a pop, a grunt, a squeal, and he didn't see flashes of us running inside. I took him to look out the door and he saw the sassy little piglet tails swish and his mouth dropped, "Oh my, she is a mighty big girl," when he caught sight of the big momma.

Knowing that we were all up for the day, John started to make his famous weekend breakfasts, and we all had an extra side of bacon. After the fright we all had, we took extra pleasure in the fact that maybe we were eating some of big momma's relatives, and we were thankful we weren't her breakfast.

Johanna is a proud seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom at smellysocks@vicad.com or visit her blog at morethansmellysocks.com.


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