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  • MJ Rodriguez

Spring and Oinky



I love spring! I love the newness of nature: the variety of greens of the grass and trees, new flowers blooming everywhere, baby animals. Everything seems so fresh and clean. Today as I look out my window at the oak trees growing in the backyard and the woods beyond, I’m reminded of my childhood. When the warm sunshine drove away the harsh coldness of winter, my siblings and I reveled in playing outside, running through fields of new grass, picking yellow buttercups and purple violets, and wading in the cold creek. Even though the rocks and sticks were hard on our feet for a while, we were happy to pull off those restrictive shoes and run barefoot.

One of my favorite places on our small farm was the jonquil patch. The story was that an old house on a hill on the north side of the farm had been moved and joined to another old house to make up the house where we lived. The hill where the old house had sat was covered with jonquils which bloomed early in the spring. Thousands of these flowers still cover the hill which now sets behind my home. As a kid, I loved to lay among the flowers and enjoy the sunshine for hours. It was a good place (and still is) to commune with my Creator as I enjoyed His creation.

In the spring, new baby calves, baby chickens, and baby pigs livened up the place. We usually didn’t make pets of our farm animals because they would be sold or butchered. But one spring day Dad came to the house with a little pink pig which was born the runt of the litter.

“Sis,” he said to me, “you want to raise this little pig?” Of course, I did! I named her Oinky and made sure she had enough to eat and drink. Soon she grew into a strong sow. My ornery brothers loved to tease her until she became angry. She then would chase them as they stayed just out of reach, running from the porch to the car and back. One time she caught one of the boys and skinned him up pretty good! The pig teasing stopped.

Oinky was quite a pet. In fact, she must have thought she was a family dog. We had some geese who loved to preen themselves while looking into the shiny hubcaps on the car. Oinky would run out from her favorite hang-out under the porch and chase the geese away from the car. Once she accompanied Mom and Dad through the woods to visit the neighbors who owned hogs which ran among the trees eating acorns and roots. When Oinky saw the neighbor’s hogs, she was so frightened she ran all the way back to the house where she remained under the porch for the rest of the day.

I still go barefoot once in a while when I work in my garden, and I still love to go into the woods to find violets and sweet Williams. I pick jonquil bouquets every spring for my table and to share with others. I love spring.

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