H. Neal Glanville: A wives tale that has merit


There are several old wives tales that I have seen unraveled before my very eyes.

I once touched, and then tossed, money into a silk purse made from a sow's ear. Putting money into it wasn't part of the unraveling - my willingness to wager on something I wasn't quite sure about helped me toss that fifty bucks away.

I've also learned (in the middle of nowhere doing something I'm sure would be frowned on) that you can stop a leak in your gas tank with ivory soap.

I've swallowed enough watermelon seeds to know they're not going to grow, though some of my grandkids and I remain hopeful. I once picked a quarter-sized scab off my leg trying to figure out the "salting an old wound" theory; that is definitely not something to try.

As for crossing your eyes, or making weird faces, I never could cross my eyes, and one glance at my mug should convince even the hardcore believers it takes awhile for your face to freeze.

However, there is one "tale" I'm absolutely, positively, pretty sure of. You can't rope a pig.

Back in the good old days, a dear friend, "Hambone," came banging on our door, yelling for help and mercy. In the background I could hear a vehicle with a horn blaring, screaming down our residential gravel road.

Fairly certain life as I knew it was about to end, I flung open the door, knowing it wasn't going to be good news.

There stood Hambone covered in sweat, hat in one hand, a strung-out chunk of rope in the other.

"Rope, pig, quick, please."

He managed to squeak out just as Keith Manning slid by sideways in his old International pickup. Just forward of his passenger door was the biggest pig I'd ever seen running hell-bent for pork chop.

With eyes glued to the hind end of this runaway porker was Keith's brother, "Mattress" (don't ask), about to throw a loop that I'm still sure would have "heeled" that runaway if it hadn't been for that six-inch lodgepole post holding up our mailbox.

The neighbor lady swears it was the mailbox that split open Mattress' forehead, but I saw that foot-long piece of stake he'd dallied off to come flying out of the truck bed.

In either case it was one more scar he could brag to the girls about.

"Oh, great" Hambone moaned, as Mattress fell back onto the truck bed and the pig shot across state highway 191.

"If there's more," Hambone screamed skyward, "give it to me now."

Funny how some requests are answered.

As we ran after my roped mailbox, the truck and the freedom-bound pig, the unmistakable sound tire rubber makes when sliding across asphalt filled the air of our small Wyoming town.

On the bright side of Hambone's request, nobody hit anything. I can still see Mattress' bloody hand, giving the thumbs up salute, my mailbox with attached post, bouncing whichever way it pleased across the highway and the pig trying to make the turn at the Odd-Fellows Hall.

As life would have it, the neighbor lady, who wouldn't know fun from a burnt crockpot, decided, that "somebody who knows something about pigs" had to be called.

As she turned to march into "old bat" glory, the shot rang out. Everything seemed to stop or a least dropped into slow motion.

From around the house next to the Odd Fellows Hall came the town's unsung hero.

He calmly waved at Keith's truck and pointed between the two buildings. Hambone ran across the highway like a third-grader headed to recess. Hoping that nobody on the street would recognize him, that didn't quite work out.

Mattress later told me our unsung hero looked at him bleeding in the back of the truck, smiled, laughed a bit and said "you can't rope a pig, son. ' for the rope to grab onto."

If I could figure a way that my dark haired beauty wouldn't learn about, I might give the pig and a rope one more try.


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