‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the town

Thrift shoppers were after what stores had marked down.

Cars and trucks parked on curbs, but who cares?

Bottom-line savings negate tickets and fares.

When what to crazed, glazed eyes should appear

But a spry 20-something tackling a pig from the rear.

And that’s about the size of it for my parody of Clement Moore’s classic “It Was the Night Before Christmas.” The actual poem is lovely, long and my attention span is not. From here on out I’ll stick with straight prose to relay one true story of the day after Christmas, at least the morning events, anyway.

Let it be known that I am not, traditionally, a day-after-Christmas shopper. I have a very good friend who is. Her entire family jumps out of their respective beds in the wee hours of Dec. 26 and charge off to fight the crowds of like-minded humans. They comb the ads beforehand, jotting down lists to tick off as they play bumper cars through various retail parking lots. I went along about 15 years ago. I made it through one store then begged for a deluxe coffee and a ride home.

This year, however, my child and I dodged traffic to make a 9 a.m. appointment at the vet’s office. Big Pig and Little Pig needed their hooves trimmed, and with our college student home, I grabbed the Dec. 26 time slot for the two porcine princesses that reside in my family’s sanctuary.

I drive a small car. It’s not a compact, but more of a teeny station wagon sort of thing. The seats fold down, the hatch goes up and the two pot-bellied pigs go in. Sounds pretty simple, at least it does if you buy into the myth that pygmy, teacup, and assorted varieties of pot-bellied pigs top out about the size of a cocker spaniel. They do: a mutant cocker spaniel mated with a St. Bernard. Add to the mix the intelligence level and “I don’t want to/you can’t make me” mentality of a three-year-old human and you have the perfect travelling companion. And travel you must at least three times a year since pot-bellied pig hooves must be trimmed.

Big Pig and Little Pig do not like cold weather nor do they like to be lifted, an effort which requires at least three strong people per pig. The high for Dec. 26, 2013, was 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Pig legs are too short to self-propel them into a car, even one with low carriage.

Three people lifted elderly, arthritic roaring Big Pig through the hatch. We lifted young, well-exercised Little Pig in after, our ears bleeding from her frightened vocalizations. Big Pig jumped out and skinned her nose. Big Pig back in, hatch closed, mother and daughter jumped in the front and off we went to Lima Animal Hospital, the only vet that we have been able to locate that will accept pot-bellied patients.

Once in the warm car, a few cuddles later and pillowed in blankets and towels, Big and Little settled in for the ride. Stops, starts and curves make them nervous, so road construction on State Route 65 between Columbus Grove and Cairo brought them both to their feet. The ODOT crew got a real charge out of that as we passed. We cut through the Lima Mall lot, crossed Elida Road and took a right on American Avenue in order to avoid the Elida Road island and another turnaround.

“In the car” is a strenuous undertaking itself. “Out” is an adventure of epic proportions, at least where Little Pig is concerned. She’s been through those glass office doors before and, each time, she’s not going to go through them again. Hence, the determined souls who sipped hot coffee at Burger King or checked their sales receipts outside Macy’s had front row seats for the climax of a unique post-holiday spectacular: A middle-aged woman gripping the heel of a black, bristling pig as it was tackled by a young woman. It was greased lightning, sans grease with a side of wind chill.

My moral for the story is: don’t buy any animal without doing thorough research. If you do, contact a rescue (or a sanctuary such as ours.) There are many animals in need, including pigs who grew beyond the ad copy. That’s how Big and Little became part of our family. And when it’s time to take them to the vet, pack a recording device and popcorn to sell to your audience.