Farrier Mike, a Saint
By Nancy Addie
My farrier, Mike, is one brave guy! He comes out in the bitter cold to spend time with Dunkay, the goats (yup, the free ones), and the horses of Addie Acres. They have all been inadvertently conditioned to RUN at the earliest sign of Mike’s classic farm 4×4 as the rattling truck means the dreaded hoof trimming is about to begin. While Dunkay and the horses are too large to hide, Sierra and Dillon have a well-rehearsed escape route behind the barn until the way is clear of any signs ‘Hoof Man.’ This week, while Hoof Man was pulling and tugging on Sparky’s back leg, he told me a funny tale about a 300-pound potbelly pig, ‘Miss Piggy,’ that was raised inside an English woman’s home from the time she was a 5-pound piglet to an oversized and spoiled sow. This is Miss Piggy’s story as told by Mike:
Years ago, Mike was called to a small farm just south of Addie Acres to trim the feet of 300-pound potbelly sow Miss Piggy. Mrs. Brackston, farm owner and ‘mama’ to Miss Piggy, came from England and spoke in a heavy English accent. Since Mr. Brackston, husband of 40+ years, was a drunk, she decided to adopt a tiny pink piglet for companionship, naming her Miss Piggy. Mrs. Brackston raised her “little girl” inside the house giving her the princess treatment and full run of their humble home, which nestled in the middle of dense woods. Miss Piggy was potty trained like a dog and would oink at the back door to be let out. The farmer who originally trimmed Miss Piggy’s hooves retired and gave her Mike’s phone number.
Upon arrival for the first visit, Mike and his father ventured out to do what they believed would be an easy foot job. Not to be! Mrs. Brackston answered the door in an outdated flowered night jacket, hair in curlers, and with a cigarette dangling from her bright red lipstick mouth. She greeted them in her thick baroque voice, forcing both men to turn their heads in her direction to grasp her words. She escorted them into a dimly lit living room where they found Miss Piggy laying on a brand new blue-striped tan couch casually watching TV. As Mike and his dad approached Miss Piggy with tools in hand, she sprang from the couch with a piercing squeal and bolted through the Camel-induced fog to a back bedroom. The would be ‘hoofers’ and mama, in close pursuit, found themselves doing circles around the unkept master bed until they cornered her between the stuffed closet folds of clothes.
Needless to say, Miss Piggy did not like to have her feet touched and wasn’t about to let two strange men anywhere near her! As she sized up her predicament, Miss Piggy crouched with seeming resignation momentarily only to leap forward and barrel through the middle of the human blockage. Mama flailed backward onto the wood floor with legs in an upward V-shape as if to concede victory to the runaway porker. Miss Piggy continued her locomotion into the kitchen knocking over a table or two along the way, sending years-old National Geographics skyward with ashtrays flying behind, and pooping and squuueeeeaallliiinng as she went.
Mrs. Brackston lamentingly tried to coax the now-shivering pig to her outstretched arms for a snuggle regardless of the reality that Miss Piggy was still relieving herself on the floor. Miss Piggy, however, wanted nothing to do with her or anyone else and waddled back to the couch, slipping out of Mike’s attempted grasp as she shoved past him. The old sow, still relieving herself in fear, somehow moved her 300-pound body to a defensive position on the very top edge of the couch. Both men lunged at her and finally were able to grab onto Miss Piggy as her mother yelled out encouraging words to her baby through tears trying to induce an unobtainable calm. Mike held Miss Piggy down as his dad hurriedly trimmed each foot skillfully with no blood lost. All the while, Miss Piggy yelled so loud that they wrapped a fuzzy wool blanket around her head to help muffle the unearthly shrieks! After what seemed like an hour, her feet were finally manicured. The exhausted men collapsed on the couch, staying away from the fresh brown and yellow stains. Miss Piggy ran into the spare bedroom to her bed and buried herself under her teddy bear blanket.
Mrs. Brackston was pleased at the outcome, praising them for a job well done as she casually mopped up after her baby. She promised that next time, she would give Miss Piggy a full bottle of beer to help her sleep through the next trimming. Mike stated, quite matter-of-factly, that “it didn’t work.” When they came back six months later, the now drunk pig jumped off the couch weaving its way into the master bedroom closet and continued the relieving herself again along the way. His dad refused to go back with him after that attempt and Mike was forced to struggle with Miss Piggy alone for the next few years as Mrs. Brackston continued to cry out her anguished accented words of encouragement for her precious 300-pound baby. The moral of this story, when it comes to animals that we care for, love has no bounds (well, or pounds!).
This little cutie may not be pink like Miss Piggy, but he has the potential to reach 300 pounds.