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Pig in a Cornfield, Christmas card from 1993, linocut and ink wooden spoon print © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


My poor mother-in-law. For years and years, she received pig-everything for Christmas. Pig statues, flying pigs, pig art, pig earrings, pig containers. Jim and I single-handedly contributed to at least a fourth of her vast pig collection.

It sat in a corner in her kitchen. The carved pig folk art piece that I thought was so adorable stood on the floor, next to the iron pig shoe scraper. Other pig paraphernalia congregated there, too, as if queuing for entry into a pig convention.

And then there were the two old wooden coke bottle trays whose many stalls were filled with mini-pigs. Plastic squishy pigs, glass pigs, porcelain pigs, metal and wood. She even had half a black walnut shell that someone noticed resembled exactly the snout of a pig and, thus, gave it to her.

I once asked my mother-in-law how she came to love pigs. She told me that she didn’t actually love pigs at all, but rather someone had given her one as a joke. Shortly thereafter the pigs started coming.

Even when she told me this story I blanked out the part of her not loving pigs. Instead I glommed onto the idea that from there on out and forever more, I knew what to buy my mother-in-law for Christmas, Mother’s Day, and birthdays.

It wasn’t until my in-laws moved to a new home a few years ago that the pigs were banished. My mother-in-law made it clear that she didn’t want any more pig gifts.

So far, only one unsuspecting neighbor has given her a pig. I, on the other hand, now take the time to find the kind of cotton or denim shirt that I notice she likes to wear.

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