Covered With Slop And Blood

It was my turn to slop the two hogs Dave and I fed –I was eight or nine years old, my brother was two and a half years older — and I had waited too long. There was still some light outside, but the barn was pitch black.

Without a flashlight I wouldn’t have been able to see anything.

The hogs were in a shed-like enclosure attached to the barn. There were several windows — openings, I guess, is more like it — in the barn wall next to the shed.

We raised hogs to eat. This is one of them, with my mother, Alice Cameron Stith.
We raised hogs to eat. This is one of the sows, with my mother, Alice Cameron Stith.

All I thought I had to do was lean out one of the openings and pour the slop in the trough below. But I couldn’t. The hogs had rooted the trough over to the other side of the pen. I was going to have to get in there with them.

I was late feeding them and the hogs, who could smell the slop, were going nuts. I was afraid of them, but what choice did I have? I couldn’t pour the slop on the ground.

I decided to sprinkle a little of it in their faces, drive them crazy, which would hold them at the first window. I’d leave my light there too, trained on the trough, while I slipped quietly down to the third window, jumped into the pen and ran to the trough with my bucket.  I’d pour the slop and be gone before the hogs knew I was in there with them.

That was my plan.

When I jumped I landed on a plow I had forgotten about –and couldn’t see– gashing my head above my left eye and knocking a small piece of bone out of my skull. I had slop and blood all over me and, moments later, hogs.

Postscript:  That was one of the few times I was taken to a doctor to get sewed up.  We didn’t go to the doctor much, most cuts were just bandaged. I slept in same bed with my two older brothers, Pop and Dave, and, that night, one of them accidentally hit me in the head and knocked the stitches out. A doctor closed the wound again, this time with metal clamps.

There’s still a small crevice in my skull above my left eye.

Coming Monday: Everything Is Relative

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