Fair - A Great Sow

The Alabama state Fair was held each year in early October.  Each year they had a student day on Wednesday when school children could enter without charge.  Each year my brother and I wanted to go.  Finally one year we were allowed to do so.  As I remember, we were given seventy-five cents each to spend.  Believe me, even in the forties you couldn't do much on six bits.  I remember we got home on Wednesday night about eleven o'clock, tired and anxious to tell our experiences.

At this time, a syrup mill was set up at our house, and they were making syrup.  We were awakened at about four o'clock on Thursday morning to help make syrup.  My job was to feed cane into the mill that squeezed out the juice.

The next year we naturally wanted to go, but Daddy made us a proposition.  If we wouldn't go to the fair, he would give us a Duroc pig that we could keep as a sow, then sell thew pigs, a great opportunity to get some money.  We gladly accepted the offer.  Professor Moore, the high school principal, had a Duroc sow and some pigs for sale.  I don't know whether Daddy knew this since we lived at least from the Moore farm.  We hitched the mules to the wagon and drove the five miles to the Moore farm.  We selected the best looking female pig from the litter and purchased her for five dollars.  No doubt this was a Duroc pig since it was red.  It was the typical story- the pig's parents were not registered 'but could have been.' Possibly this was true.

In any case, we put that pig in the tow sack and took him home.  Arvel and I took real good care of the pig, and she grew quickly.  As soon as she was breedable, we carried her to a Duroc boar and bred her.  Since she was a substitute for a trip to the fair, this was her name, Fair.  She was a tremendous sow and every litter of pigs numbered eleven or twelve.  We were always with her when the pigs were born and moved them aside to keep her from lying on one.  The pigs were a beautiful sight when all eleven pigs were nursing.

We took good care of the pigs.  When they were about six weeks old, we sold them for some five dollars each and split the money, which came to some twenty-five dollars each.  Often the family kept a couple pigs for our own use.  As soon as the litter was sold, we bred her again and repeated this for several litters.  Finally, for some reason, we no longer wanted to raise pigs and ate the sow instead.

It was a smart move on Daddy's part to give us the opportunity to earn money.  We were not allowed to waste it, but were required to buy clothing or school supplies.

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