Story by Pamela Jenkins
It was late in the evening. I had just settled down in my rocking chair and put my feet up on the footstool. The cup of hot tea was nice and warm in my hands. In just a few minutes I would go upstairs to bed like the rest of my family, but just for the moment I was going to sit and savor the peace.
The window was open near my chair. I could hear crickets chirping and little tree frogs singing down by the creek. A whippoorwill called from down the hollow, and another one answered. The air was still warm from the summer’s day heat. We sure could use some rain.
In the distance I could hear dry leaves crunching like an animal was rustling through them. Probably that armadillo again, I thought. There was a burrow out behind one of the barns, and I enjoyed watching her while she snuffled around in the early mornings.
Something was different about this noise, however. It was getting closer to the house, and was beginning to sound like something much bigger than a little armadillo browsing for bugs to eat. Closer and closer it came. I began to wonder if the rumors I had heard were true. Was there really a bear in the neighborhood?
I began to feel goose bumps as I sat frozen in suspense. I now could hear footsteps, heavy and slow, moving right outside my window. Crunch, crunch went the dead leaves. Then I saw something glide by just above the window sill. It was curly, and looked like a tail of some sort. Cue the shark attack music.
Da-dum…da-dum…da-dum, da-dum, da-dum!
“Lemon, is that you?” I whispered. A startled grunt was the reply.
My heart was still pounding, but I felt an immense relief. It was only my daughter’s blue ribbon Yorkshire sow. I slipped on a pair of shoes and stepped out the front door.
“Lemon, what are you doing out of your pen?” I asked. Lemon, who had been nosing through my flower bed, turned around with all the ponderous grace of the QE2 doing an about face. She grunted again in pleasure. She was happy to see me, as always.
Somehow Lemon had managed to escape her fence. I couldn’t leave her wandering free all night, so I called her to follow me as I left the yard. The white sow walked beside me through the darkness like an obedient puppy. She was a very affectionate animal for a pet that weighed close to six hundred pounds. Her abdomen was swelled with all the piglets she carried. I patted her rounded side as we walked.
Lemon went back into her pen with no trouble. I scratched her favorite spot behind one ear before I left and walked back to the house.
I had just settled down in my chair again and taken a sip of tea, when I heard leaves crunching. Oh, no, not again!
Suddenly, two huge ears and a pink snout appeared above the window sill.
I sighed, “Yes, Lemon, I’m coming.”
This time I went upstairs and called for reinforcements. Obviously, Lemon was restless tonight and needed to be put up safely. We couldn’t take the chance of anything happening to her or her babies.
With a sleepy husband in tow, I carefully picked a path through the dark. This time, however, Lemon led the way. She marched forward like a pig on a mission, passing by her pen and leading us to the barn.
She waited patiently while we opened the door, then walked into an open stall. This was the place she had delivered her last litter of pigs, and it now stood clean and ready for Lemon’s due date next week. The sow took a long drink of water, then eased herself down and rolled over onto her side. She was now the picture of contentment. My husband studied the breeding records.
“Well, she’s not due for a few more days, but if this is where she wants to be tonight, we’ll let her stay in here.” Lemon’s response was a huge sigh.
The next morning, we were greeted by the sight of eight, brand new baby pigs snuggled next to Lemon, each one a miniature replica of its now much slimmer mother.
“Oh, look at all the Lemon Drops!” my daughter exclaimed as she leaned down to pat one little white pig. It blinked tiny blue eyes as it nuzzled her fingers.
Outside I heard a soft pattering of rain begin, and a rumble of thunder. Our dry spell was over. The much needed rain had arrived.
Lemon Drops and raindrops, what a wonderful way to start the day!