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Continuing a Southern tradition

During his tenure in law school at the University of Mississippi, my brother organized a hawg killin', and he spent a summer studying at Oxford in England; two things any well-bred Southern boy ought to do somewhere along the line. Since I can sum up his England trip with bowties and tweed jackets, I'll reserve that story.

As for the hawg killin, however, as my brother tells it, he met some Yankee, communist students who desired to partake in the ritual of an all-night pig roast, complete with PBR in the can. Under my sibling's tutelage, they bought vintage PBR with old-timey pop-tops from an eBay auction. Then they purchased a piglet from a Lafayette County farmer. They kept the beer in the fridge, and boarded the livestock in a dog pen, where they fed it cat food for 10 months.

When the sow fattened, those communists dug a hole in their backyard and fashioned an assembly of grill grates over the top. They admired their work, wondering how they would get that pig to lay still on those grates long enough for them to soak up the ambiance and drink the beer. Someone dumped a bag of cat food in the hole and lit it.

Knowing they needed help, they called reinforcements: A good ol' boy wannabe from Georgia, my brother. Thrilled about schooling Yankees in the proper handling of meat, he phoned our baby brother in Athens. "You up for a hawg killin'," he asked. "These communists got a pig they need picked."

"Domestic or wild?" inquired the younger one.


"Not as much fun, but okay, I'm coming." So he packed up his .357 Magnum and left the communists in Athens to valiantly aid the ones in Mississippi. He was more excited than 10 powerball winners from Alabama struggling to mathematically divide $73 billion.

When the brother from Athens arrived, the law learnin' one pointed out the dog pen, and, thus, the target. A motley group of nine communists, undone about kinks in their Southern experience, stood around scratching the pig behind its ears and feeding it cat chow from their hands.

My brothers sauntered up like Wyatt and Virgil Earp and the circle of free-economy challenged men tightened around them, everyone eager to see just how a hawg killin' works.

"Never pull the trigger 'til it looks you in the eye," my baby brother whispered, so as not to startle dinner. The crowd leaning over the fence hushed and peered to see which way the porcine was looking.


The communists jumped, ducked and wet their pants. A couple cried. The .357 Magnum dropped that pig like an American dropping a hot peso in Tijuana.

"We're fixin to show y'all how this is done," my brothers said to the group huddled behind the pen. The two men strung the hawg by its hind legs from the nearest tree, and bled it and gutted it, in short order. Then they dragged it to the pit, where the coals and cat food burned, and tossed it on the grates.

"Come on y'all," called my brothers, merrily ensconced in lawn chairs. "Get over here. All that's left is the sittin' and the eatin'."

But those communists now feared their pet, my brothers, and the .357 Magnum more than they feared capitalism. They chose to go out for a bite of humus, instead.

One brother said to the other, wistfully, "I believe the jury has spoken."

"Yeah," said the other, "a country boy can survive."

And they sat all night picking that pig, proud to be good Americans.

Web posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006

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