I’ve almost forgotten how much fun it was to drink beer with Seymour, my pig.
Remember those delicious meatball sandwiches that only existed at drive-ins? We took a lot of pride in our meatball “sank witch” when we ran and cooked at the Starlite concession stand. We always threw in a load of extra sauce and cheese. Those subs were nuclear powered.
Some times we’d make a few nautili too many. I’d take whatever leftovers we still had hanging around and feed them to Seymour. At that juncture, feeding meatballs to a pig was my idea of a savings account.
I’d usually bring at least twelve pack of Bud to accompany the meatball sandwiches. I’d take the winding path down past the barn, past the manure pile, past the chicken coop and the duck pond into the wired off part of the pasture that we had converted into a pig pen.
I’d stand next to the pen, throw a few sandwiches on the ground and wait for Seymour to emerge. I was usually working on my first Bud while I was bringing the sandwiches to Seymour’s slophouse. By the time I got to Seymour’s place, I was finishing my second.I’d finish my third by the time Seymour emerged from his little tin hut.
At this point, I’d pop open my fourth Bud and pour the fifth and sixth beer into the black, circular, plastic container that we used as a watering tough for the pig.
Seymour could drink even faster than I could when he put his mind to it, in other words when he wasn’t peeing, pooping’ eating’ or sleeping’. The whole purpose of chilling with the pig in the first place was to avoid any semblance of pressure or constraints or manners. Burping, farting and even puking was no problem. I’d drink at my own pace and whenever I finished one I’d pop open another one for the pig and another for myself.
I’ve heard about dogs, who come to a kitchen table, sit on a chair, put their paws on the table and wait to be served. These are dogs who think they are humans. Seymour did not think he was human. Seymour knew for damned sure that he was a pig and when he partied with me I think he figured that I was one too and he weren’t far off. Seymour was all attitude, identity and appetite.
There was nobody else around except me and the pig. The stars were bright; the temperature perfect. The only sounds of the night were the natural sounds of the pasture and the pen along with the snortin’, slathering’, plopping’ burpin’ leaking’ sounds that Seymour routinely made at times like these. It was peaceful. I had been productive as in “I’m going down to feed the pig now, honey.” Life in the pasture drinking with the pig was a bizarre Bud commercial waiting to be made and shown at the Super Bowl.
One time, near the end, when we had come to grips with the sobering eventuality that Seymour was destined to become ham, bacon, sausage, etc, I had a barn party over at my house. Some of my buddies had heard me bragging about the peace of mind I enjoyed while drinking with the pig. Apparently they thought it was a good idea because by the time I got down to the trough, Seymour was passed out in the cooling mud, getting a bit of a sunburn, his trough still half full of beer.
I went back to the barn and asked how many people had been drinking with the pig. Six guys raised their hands: Tommy Tron, Bruce, Jack Stafford, Wayne, Wild Bill and Uncle George. I told them to come down to the sty and see the fruits of their labor.
The six of us walked down the path together. As we got close to Seymour, a reverent silence descended, When we arrived at his trough the stillness continued as we gazed and gaped at the five sheets to the wind bovine blacked out and basking in his combination of mud, Bud, swill and perceived freedom, catching some rays and judging by his apparent ease of breathing, completely relaxed, at peace with the world, unconcerned with appearances.
A few weeks later I recruited all of these guys to help me load the corpulent and non-co operative Seymour into the back of my truck to take him to processing about ten miles down the road. Seymour was no longer a little piggy on his way to the market. We had a rough, sweaty, shitty and muddy time trying to get Seymour into the truck until somebody suggested putting a pillowcase over his face. We did. It worked. We led Seymour into and out of the truck and into the processing pen where they spray painted the word “tendon” in large letters on his no longer sunburned hide.
I remember taking one last look at Seymour. There was another hugh pig in the holding pen with him. I imagined those two pigs looking at each other’s hides, seeing the black spray paint and thinking “this ain’t real good”. Then I shut the door and left Seymour in the darkness.
Seymour was committed.
The next time I saw him he was in packages
Over the next few decades, every time that I’ve gotten together with any of those guys, particularly during All Star games, somebody always comes up with “remember Seymour” and the next round of stories take off from that common point of departure as if Seymour the Pig was a space station and all previous stories were shuttle crafts arriving to be refueled enroute to homecoming or deeper exploration