Those of you who regularly visit this site may have noticed a change in narrative throughout the blog over the past few weeks. You may have taken notice of the applied passive voice. Some of you might have observed third-party references to Crystal and Dan. This is all very intentional.
You see… I, your humble author and bloggist, am not a swineherd.
I am, in fact, possibly the furthest thing from a farmer you could imagine… an inner-city Chicagoan with plenty of vices, a carnal lust for life, as well as a shade of world-weariness that comes part and parcel to all wordsmiths. I am a spokesperson. As an actor, author, an all-around smart aleck, I have recently been invited to join the C&D Family Farms family to type this blog.
As I previously explained, I am not a farmer, but needed to know about farming to do my job as a spokesperson effectively. To mete out this end, I left the comfortable confines on Chicago’s south side to take a ride out to C&D Family Farms, and breathe the fresh country air. I rallied my good friend and long-time associate of C&D, Brian, to join me on this venture.
Amidst the backdrop of rural America, C&D Farms was nestled beyond a fence and treeline that separated the farm from the length of roadway. This was where we encountered our first obstacle.
A large, familiar-looking steel gate was closed across the driveway into the farm. This, in and of itself, would not have been much of an obstacle, were it not for the recent weather conditions that had left a sheet of solid ice over the securing chain and latch. I left the warmth of the car to open the gate. I began to rattle and throttle at these simple devices in an attempt to loosen them. Brian, still cozy in the car, began to laugh, as he watched me toil and fumble with the rudimentary mechanisms. He rolled down the window to heckle me in my temporary moment of frustration.
“You really are the city mouse in the country, aincha?”
“Shaddap!” I responded while firing a glance over my shoulder, before shaking the last of the gelid rime from the gate’s locking mechanism. I lifted the latch, opened the gate, and returned to the car.
As we entered C&D Family Farms, we were initially greeted by a small, lone pig covered in a coat of black, wiry fur who stared us down in the middle of the driveway for a moment, before turning his attention to a penful of sows, and allowing us to pass. I would later find out that this small, black pig was named Austin… and that this wouldn’t be the only time he and I would have a staredown.
I was very aware of how large and formidable pigs could grow in the wild, but was in no way prepared to see how massive they could get within the controlled confines of a farm. To my left were two large and surly male swine that kept colliding with each other, like two Volkswagens in a demolition derby, to investigate the visitor to their lands. I immediately recognized the two as “the brothers,” also known as “the twins” and “the accidental pets” (see previous blogs for reference).
As the car stopped before the farmhouse, the front door swung open, and Crystal stepped forward into the daylight to occupy its frame. She smiled and waved in greeting.
Crystal and I had corresponded to and fro over the previous weeks, and had become friends through that correspondence. She was generous with her salutation, offering warm hugs and genuine greetings.
“Good to finally meet you,” she welcomed.
“Likewise,” I exclaimed, revisiting her hug.
“You boys are just in time,” she said, “Dan’s out, and I’ll need your help to round up Austin.”
“Austin?” I inquired.
“Yes,” she replied. “He’s a recent rescue, and we need to cage him in for his own safety.”
It was at that very moment that a felt a pair of eyes boring into the back of my skull.
“There he is now,” she declared, pointing through the clear plexiglas of the door.
I turned to meet the gaze of the small, black potbellied pig that had previously stood by the gate. In that moment,
I knew that this day would prove to be much more than I had anticipated.