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Cousin Rufus and the Feral Hogs

Dear Cousin Cletus,

Looks like spring is in the air here in the holler. Ah kin hear the spring peepers down at the pond. Mah tomato plants 're outside with milk jugs over ‘em. And ah’m ready to go fishin'.

Me an’ mah grandson Harley went huntin’ wild hogs two weeks ago. Last year them varmints ‘bout ruint mah garden. Harley calls ‘em feral hogs. Ah thought at first he wuz sayin’ federal hogs, but he says, “No Gramps, ah sed feral hogs.”

So ah sez, “What in tarnation is a feral hog?”

“It’s something wild or savage,” he sez. “Somethin’ thet never got domesticated or cultivated.” (He likes to use them big words on me.)

Wild and savage wuz the right thang to call ‘em, Cletus. They come at night last year and tore up mah garden. So we went after ‘em ‘fore they got a chance this year.

Mah grandson is purty smart. He knows how to catch ‘em. Says he remembers his daddy tellin’ how Granddaddy caught the varmints.

You know whut he did? First he built one side of a fence and dumped corn on the ground beside it. Them critters loved it! They come at night and et up all the corn.

Next day he built another side of fence and dumped more corn between the two sides. Them feral hogs wuz back thet night and et up all the free food. They didn’t even notice the fence panels.

The third night and the fourth, Harley finished the fence but didn’t put no gate on the pen. He kept dumpin’ corn inside the fence and sure ‘nuff, them wild hogs come runnin’ to git the free food. All the time they didn’t pay no attention to the fence. They wuz too dumb to see the danger. All they wanted wuz stuff they didn’t have to work to git.

Next, Harley put a gate on the pen but didn’t shut it. Sure ‘nuff, them critters come runnin’ to git whut they didn’t have to work fer.

The last night wuz whut got ‘em in trouble. Harley crept up an’ shut the gate behind the varmints as they wuz chowin’ down on the free food. And there they wuz, with no way to escape. We had ‘em, easy as thet.

Hit makes me think o’ life outside the holler, Cletus. I feels sorry fer them folks whut gits excited ‘bout stuff they don’t have to work fer no more. Ah guess they can’t see there’s a price to pay fer dependin’ on other folks. Ah think Granddaddy would have somethin’ to say ‘bout that if he wuz here, don’t you?

Y’all come see me sometime. We’ll go down to Lem’s Gen’ral Store and git us a orange sodee pop.

Yore cuz,


An episode with kidney stones left this writer depending on re-posting thoughts from the past. Though this post originally appeared long ago, it seems just as relevant today.


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