Monday, August 17, 2009

Telephone...The Watch Pig


Sometime back, my husband was gone overnight to a Men's Retreat. My little boy, Josiah and I snuggled into my bed with our two boy cats and drifted off to sleep. I was suddenly wakened to one of the cats sitting squarely on my face. "Crazy cat," I thought, and proceeded to throw him off the bed. Of course, sleep was elusive for a good long time after that. I chuckled to myself when I thought of being alone with Josiah and our "watch" cat. Josiah would be more helpful if anyone ever tried to break in. My cat would be as helpful in a crisis as a stuffed pillow.

When I was a little girl in the hills of Arkansas we had a pig named Telephone. The story goes that my dad went into town one day to pay the telephone bill. While there he was drawn to the sale barn and used the telephone bill money to buy a pig. This wasn't the first time or the last time that Dad brought home livestock in the back of his black Chevy pickup. There was the duck that thought he was a chicken. We brought home a lady duck to remind him that he was, indeed a duck and he abandoned her. Quite sad, actually. For a few years we had a goat named Dew Drop. There was very good reason to name her that. We had Job the mutt who was so pitiful looking that we couldn’t name him anything but Job. We had a few cows, a whole lot of free range chickens and we always had cats. Telephone the pig was nothing like the character of Wilbur in the children's book, Charlotte's Web. In fact, in my humble hillbilly opinion, most pigs are nasty and aggressive. They are fairly clean, but usually have the personality of an agitated telemarketer. Telephone was no exception. When Telephone first came to live with us he fit neatly into the wooden pen my dad constructed for him. As he grew, Telephone was able to climb out of the wooden pen, regardless of how many additions that were added to the top. He terrorized the chickens. He rooted up the vegetables in the field and would occasionally butt small people to the ground. Telephone the pig was massive and ornery.

One day, Telephone the pig took on quite a different roll than the pesky pig we all knew him to be. Telephone the pig was to become Telephone the Watch Pig. We lived way, way out in the country. Picture the deep dark woods. Imagine a long dirt road that cuts through the deep dark woods. Our house sat right in the middle of these deep, dark woods at the end of that long dirt road. Sound spooky? Actually, it was a great place to be as a kid. Lots of running room, plenty of space for pets and pigs. Our nearest neighbor was about 1/4 of a mile away. My brother had a lot of outside space to practice his trumpet. Visitors that headed down our road were usually friends, the occasional sales person or the Jehovah Witness ladies.

The Jehovah Witness ladies were really nice people. They would come out just because they enjoyed visiting with my mom. Mom would serve them cinnamon tea and they would to some obligatory banter back and forth about their obvious doctrinal differences then settle down to talk about their kids and the latest cross stitching techniques. On this particular day, mom was at home piddling with chores, getting caught up from work. She, by chance, passed the open door and saw the strangest sight. Parked in our dirt driveway were the Jehovah Witness ladies. They were hunkered together; both scrunched into the passenger seat with terrified looks plastered on their sweet faces. Telephone, the psycho watch pig, was standing on his hind legs with his front legs resting on the open driver’s side window of the car. He was doing his usual snorting and stomping (Telephone could throw quite a fit). Mom stood for a moment stunned at the sight then rushed out the door and proceeded to shoo Telephone away from the car. Immediately, one the Jehovah Witness ladies flew into the driver’s seat, rolled up the open window and backed the car down the driveway....rocks and dust flying from beneath the car's tires…. The ladies frantically yelling and gesturing at my mom over the dashboard. "We've got to go...We'll call...See you soon." They turned the car around and went racing down the long, dirt road with Telephone the Psycho Watch Pig barreling after the car like some big, loopy dog. Job, the mutt dog, just watched. I'm sure he thought, "I ain't touching this one!"

The family had a different sort of appreciation for Telephone after that. He continued to chase cars and guard us against visitors. It got to the place where my parents or one of kids had to escort guests to and from the house. The extensions that my dad built onto Telephone's pen were never tall enough. Some how that crazy pig always escaped. Sadly for Telephone, a necessary part of country life came too soon. Telephone was loaded back into the black Chevy pickup and taken to help provide for the family in another way. Later, we did get two more pigs to take his place. They weren't quite the characters that Telephone had been. Visitors found their way to our doorstep...free of hassle. Unless you counted tripping over a few chickens on the way up. Cars would cruise with ease up the driveway. We missed that pig.

I've often wondered if maybe the Secret Service has it all wrong. Why spend thousands, and millions of dollars training ordinary guys? Buy a few pigs. Set them outside the White House. I guarantee you, a few hillbilly pigs like Telephone the Psycho Watch Pig would deter any raving lunatic that came stumbling across the White House Lawn. There are a lot of crazies in the world. We as Christians are given a greater protection than the most diligent Secret Service agent. We are given protection for our minds, our hearts and often physical protection from danger. Several years ago I was involved in an event that would change my life forever. I had a massive car wreck that left me with lifetime disabilities. Did God provide me with protection? Absolutely. For one, I survived. More importantly, He gave me protection of the mind and heart. He gave me strength that would take me through the difficult days and years ahead. He helped me see a rainbow at the end of a very dark cloud. He made me see a purpose in what I had suffered. My broken body could heal. Not perfectly, but adequately. My car could be replaced. It was my heart that needed healing and my mind that needed comforting. God did that and more for me. He protected me from years of bitterness and heartache. He protected me from disappointment and disillusionment. The most well-trained military personnel, the heaviest gates, the burliest bodyguard could not provide such protection. Even Telephone the Watch Pig couldn’t do as much.

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