About Me

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Tennessee, United States
Retired teacher living in East Tennessee, adjusting to life in the land of round door knobs. Photographer for our local animal shelter and foster of many dogs and kitties. Don't ask me how many dogs I have, but my son got me one of those "I'm the crazy dog lady" sweatshirts.

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Monday, October 27, 2008


The Cross Country season has come to an end. Jim started with about 20 runners around September 1 and ended with 9. A couple dropped out due to injuries, but the others apparently had allergies. Allergies to rain. *sniff* Allergies to cool weather. *sniff* Allergies to mud. *sniff* Allergies to pain. *sniff* But most of all, allergies to hard work. *sniff, sniff* They were good for the short haul, for the early, sunny runs, but when the going got tough, they got gone. The tough ones persevered. They made it all the way to Europeans, where if you aren't willing to gut it out, you might as well stay home.

Congratulations to all of the runners from all of the schools, a fine bunch of young people with their shoelaces knotted twice, their heads on straight and their priorities in order.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stuck Like a Pig

I've put off writing about this, because it is a sad story. It certainly counts as one of the more bizarre experiences of my life, and it left me in a gloomy state of mind all week.

Saturday morning a week ago was foggy. Jim and I left the house around 7:45 a.m. and were heading into school to get set up for a cross country meet, when I spotted a baby wild boar sitting in the road. Being a lover of animals, I yelled for Jim to pull over, thinking that it had just gotten separated from its herd and I could shoo it off the road. I jumped out of the car and took a photo as another car pulled over and parked. Sorry about the blurry image. I was on the move.

As I approached the piglet, a large, sturdy German woman from the other car called out to me not to touch it. She spoke German, but I understand "Nein," and had no intention of touching it, anyway. It was sitting in the road, and aside from turning its head to look at me, made no attempt to get up and move on. A bad sign.
My first shock came when the Fraulein walked up to me, pulled a large hunting knife out of its sheath and handed me the sheath with a request to hold it for her. I thought, "Oh, crap," but then she pulled out a cell phone and started talking to someone, and I felt better.

A car approached and I turned to face it and wave it around us. We both looked at the pig and I pointed out there were some blood spots on the road, but the pig did not appear to be bleeding. I wondered how long we would have to wait for someone to come get the pig and save it (the optimist thinking again).

Another set of cars approached, one from each direction. I paused to direct them around us. When I looked back, the pig, lying on its side now, was bleeding heavily from a wound in its chest. Oh, I thought, they decided to kill it. As I stood watching, the pig raised its head a little. It made no sound during the whole time. The woman bent over, carefully inserted the knife into the original wound, pressed it in, I'm sure to be sure she penetrated the heart, then twisted the knife. A few seconds later, the little pig gave up the ghost and lay still.

It all makes sense, of course. The piglet probably had a broken spine and was beyond saving, but she was only 5 or 6 weeks old. The woman, it turns out, is one of the hunters from our village. In Germany they are responsible for managing the wildlife in their area. She did the pig a favor; she did what was practical and needed. I accept the outcome, even as I regret the cutting short of a very short life.

Later in the day, we realized as we were handing out certificates to the runners, that one of the school had not identified its middle school runners, which meant that our data was all messed up. Even though they run in one race, the high school and middle school runners compete only against each other. Hence, it is important to know which is which. 

I tried to handle the situation with grace and humor and see that the runners were correctly identified as to their place, but I could feel the animosity from some in the crowd (not from the kids). The worst was a parent, of course, who got in my face and kept saying that that she had driven a long way and felt entitled to better, and clearly felt I was to blame. She claimed that she had come last year and that it was a "disorganized" then, too (NOT!) I was thinking that it was her team that wasn't organized enough to send a simple roster by email, and we hadn't had any problem with any of the other schools at our two meets. Hmm. No point in arguing, though. When someone has decided to look for fault in you, they will find it.

After working so hard,  I felt like I'd been hit by a car I never saw coming. Then, as I was waiting for that pain to pass, I felt the woman stick a metaphorical knife in my gut and I resented being stabbed. At the end of the day, I couldn't help noting the parallels between the pig's fate and my own (I admit I should be feeling more grateful. I am alive. The pig is dead.). I keep searching for a karmic lesson, but it all feels so random. Why that little pig? Why me? All I know is I feel even more sympathy now for the pig.