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Sorta old-fashioned hog killing

Got an invitation from old friend, Roe Tucker, to show up at his place for a big breakfast, and then stay around for what used to be called by some folks a jolly or riotous party, although my good Baptist buddy, while jolly and happy to have a good number of visitors with him, Rosure has never been known to be riotous I don’t believe; however, although the work was serious and a little difficult, taking care of several hogs for processing was well carried out, and enjoyable for all.

Now, my invitation was to come for an old-fashioned hog killing, and it did meet that criteria pretty much, starting with an antique 22 rifle that Roe’s granddaddy, Luther, had used to dispatch hogs way back yonder. It still worked, but instead of everybody gathering around to lift up that critter onto a hanging board, Roe’s boy, Scott, showed up with a tractor, fitted with a special lifting bar designed by those talented Tucker boys, having learned directly from Daddy Douglas himself.

Then, when the hog was hoisted, cleaning of the hide was a little more up to date with a pressure washer, and with the feet being removed with a power saw. Not as old fashioned as it used to be for sure, but the way to go anyhow. As we learned back in army days, you don’t have to practice to be miserable, so if you can improve on stuff.. ..well, have at it.

Next on the agenda that Saturday was being sure the large container of water was just the right temperature before lady pig was put into her bath. If too hot, it would set the hair, and if not hot enough, the hair would not loosen for the scraping portion of the day. There are old fashioned ways to check the water by using a certain number of fingers running through the water, but today, well there was an up to date thermometer floating in the liquid. What else?

Our picture today depicts Roe on the right, leading his friends and neighbors in the old timey scraping of the hair off that ol’ girl after removal of the insides, before blocking off that carcass, which in old days was quartered and laid out for the women folks to cut up, render lard, and all the other stuff that used to be, such as using every little bitty part of that hog. Hey, when you cook off lard, what do you get? Cracklings to put in cornbread.

I don’t believe this group worried too much about “chitterlings” when they did away with the guts, or with hog brains, and it would be fine with me personally to forget about both, although my brother used to stink up his store cooking chitterlings, and my daddy truly loved brains and eggs.

Okay, if we are goner run the picture, I reckon I better quit. It was a great experience, even if not riotous. Great fellowship and I was glad to be there, seeing as how we older folks like old stuff.

— Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times and a native of Marengo County. His column,“Days Gone Bye,” appears weekly.