18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, July 3, 1913: I and a pig ran a race this evening. It led me up and down the road three or four times. I wonder how much speck I lost.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Speck is an old-fashioned term for weight. I think that the way it is used in this sentence has Pennsylvania Dutch or German origins.
I bet Grandma lost a pound or two. I’ve chased pigs a few times in my life and they are darn hard to catch.
I’m not talking about greased pigs that are sometimes seen in competitions at fairs. I’m referring to chasing a run of the mill farm pig that has escaped from a field or pen. You’d think that it would be easy to chase back into the field or pen. Wrong!!
When chasing a cow, all you need to do to get it to turn is to stand in front of it—and the cow will immediately turn and can be directed back into the pen or field. Pigs, however, are very smart (and surprisingly fast), and they know where you want them to go. No matter what you do, a pig will refuse to head in the direction you want it to go. If you stand in front of a pig to try to make it turn, it will almost run you over as it continues going wherever it feels like going.