I used to collect pigs. Not real ones. They’re loud and messy and probably wouldn’t get along with our dogs. No, I collected cute, unique pigs… salt and pepper shakers, figurines, perhaps an understated paper towel holder. You know – classy stuff.
But here’s the thing about collecting. After awhile, your friends and family figure they no longer have to put any thought into your birthday or Christmas presents. All they have to do is find something pig-related. That’s how you come to have a collection that includes crocheted pig-shaped toilet paper cozies and all manner of oinking novelties, outpaced only by your regret at ever having mentioned collecting pigs in the first place.
While I was dealing with this pig dilemma at home, my husband was caught in a perpetual loop at work, bringing in one fundraising sales flyer after another so his colleagues could do their part to pay for our children’s school, sports and extra curricular activities.
Because of this generous support, he felt duty-bound to reciprocate, ultimately buying – sight unseen – a handmade wreath like no other.
The calico-print fabric wrapped around the straw ring might have been tolerable – even in our non-country style home – but the artist didn’t stop there. To achieve that pièce de résistance she glued a plastic pig, complete with overalls and a straw hat, to the lower part of the wreath. It kind of looked like swing set scene in an animated hillbilly horror film.
Not one to throw things away – even monstrosities – we decided the wreath might make a funny novelty item to donate to our church silent auction. So off to the auction it went, as did we on the big night.
Armed with my paddle number, I walked among the tables of treasures… and stopped dead in my tracks. I saw my husband across the room and motioned for him to join me.
“Can you believe it?” I said. “Someone is bidding on that hideous wreath.”
We had a good laugh and parted to continue our separate browsing, but he was back double-quick and laughing even harder.
“I know who’s bidding on the wreath,” he said, smiling broadly.
“Who?” I asked, marveling at the person’s bad taste.
My mother,” he replied. “She’s going to give it to you for Christmas.”
“A Pig in a Poke” received Honorable Mention in the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writer’s Competition, coming in third out of 422 entries in the Global Humor category.