Open Session: What Readers Think

by Cappers
February 2007

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When pigs fly - Remember when farmers stored hay loose in the hay mow, and the barn roof was extended on one end? A hay car ran the length of the barn and was attached to the ridge roof, and giant forks were used to haul hay up and into the hay mow. A team of horses at the opposite end of the barn was needed to pull the hay up and into the barn.

My father, Wes Stuart, was a farmer in northwest Ohio. A neighbor, Hub Conn, had asked my dad to help butcher a hog that was so big he could not handle it alone.

So, Dad and my brother, Owen, showed up one cold winter morning to help. Hub was ready for the butchering. He had a barrel of boiling water set up. Hogs were dipped in boiling water to loosen hair, then scraped as part of butchering.

A barrel was set up right below the hay mow window where they killed and bled the hog. The hog was trussed and attached to the hay car rope. A team of horses was ready to go at the other end of the barn. Hub's wife, Mary, was in charge of the horses.

Hub called to Mary, and she said, 'Giddy up.' The horses pulled forward, the pig was raised over the barrel, Mary backed up the team, and the hog was lowered into the water. My brother thought, 'Wow, this is a great way to raise and lower a hog.' It was a lot easier than struggling with a rope and tackle over a tree line.

When the hog was ready to be pulled out of the water, Hub yelled to Mary, and Mary pulled the team forward. That was a problem! The hog was wedged in the barrel, so the barrel and the hog rose off the ground. So, Dad and Hub found some two-by-fours and started banging on the barrel to release the hog.

This was a cold winter day, and the horses were jittery. The loud banging frightened the team, and they took off.

The hog, barrel and all, flew to the top of the barn and went through the hay loft, slammed into the far wall, broke through the wall and landed on the ground. My brother, who was a teenager at the time, was rolling on the ground, laughing. My father scolded Owen, and ordered him to stop laughing. Dad saw only a catastrophe: the broken hay car, a hole in the barn, and the runaway horses with broken harnesses. Dad knew that if this story was told, all the local farmers would torment Hub about his 'flying pig.' My dad, who died many years ago, never told this account of butchering. My brother never told the story until many years after the death of Hub.

It's 50 years later, and I only recently heard Owen tell the story. I wanted to share it.

Etta Belle Stuart Winter
Porter, Ind.

CAPPER'S memories
- I remember growing up with CAPPER'S WEEKLY. It found its way into our mailbox every Friday. I never once, in those days, dreamed I would still be here and be able to enjoy reading CAPPER'S.

One of those years - either 1928 (when I graduated from eighth grade) or 1932 (when I graduated from high school) - I sent in the winning last line to a Gillette Razor Co. jingle.

I remember Mama telling me that she didn't know how it would be possible to pay for my class pictures, which cost $10. But about the same time payment was due, I received payment for my 'last line.' A check for $10!

I still have a small scrapbook of poems by Lyla Meyers (from the 1950s) and others that I clipped from CAPPER'S WEEKLY, long before I married in 1937. That was my kind of poetry. I don't care for the ones that don't rhyme. But I don't suppose most modern moms would care to chop wood to heat the stove to cook dinner, as I did in the early '30s. For me, cutting wood was the fun part.

CAPPER'S, keep up the good work. I've been around for 93 of your 125 years and hope to be around for a few more.

May God bless you and yours, now and always.

Lyda Parsons Holt
Abilene, Kan.

Mommo and Poppo
- After reading the article about grandparents' names ('Nana, Gramps, Pa? Grandparent name choices are infinite,' November 2006), I thought I'd tell you about our names.

When our second grandchild came along and was old enough to start talking, my husband and I would talk to him about Grandma and Grandpa. In his childish way, he could not say the two big words. He invariably came out with 'Mommo' and 'Poppo.' So, we have carried that on ever since. All of our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren still call us Mommo and Poppo.

Poppo passed away in May 2003, but his name is on his tombstone, along with mine: John 'Poppo' W. Partridge and Myrtle 'Mommo' Y. Partridge. We will take those names to the end of time.

Myrtle 'Mommo' Partridge
Udall, Kan.

Holding his daughter for the first time
- Long ago, I poked a sign in our front lawn to support a Marine member in our family. He had been deployed to Fallujah, Iraq. 'Support Our Troops' the letters spelled, and there was an impression of the American flag in red, white and blue.

The sign has endured wailing winds and the fierce beating of the rain. Each time the lawn was mowed, the sign was tossed aside for a while, but it was always replaced in the yard again, the wires a bit more bent.

I vowed that the sign, regardless of its condition, would remain in the yard until the Marines returned to the United States. The time came when the men returned to their base. The sign came down, but only for a short while. The brave men were deployed for a second time.

Several months later, the Marines returned to the United States again. It was a special moment when our Marine could hold his 3-month-old daughter for the first time.

Susan Walter
St. Joseph, Mo.

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