“Hog-tied is how I feel or jest hog-tired,” Early grumbled as he limped into the sunlit kitchen slumping into the first available chair. “Lord, Lord.” He took off his brown felt hat, leaned forward to pull the blue kerchief out of his back pocket and then wiped his damp brow. “I ain’t even half the man I once was.” He complained looking over at his wife who sat across the table from him chewing vigorously on a pork rind. “That hog like t’ kill me. I had to knock it upside the head twice. Dat meat won’t be worth a plug nickel. It’ll be tough as shoe leather.”
“How many mens yo’ age can kill a hog with knock t’ the head is what I want to know, even if it does take two knocks? You too hard on yo’ self.” Ethel rocked her head side to side. She had been hearing this lament for the last five years. “I best be getting them chitlin’ cleaned. You saved the maw?”
“Yes cleaned ‘em out right good. Deys’ soaking in a bucket outside the do’ in water, vinegar, and some taters jest like you do long with the chitlin’s.” He moved to get up, “I’ll fetch’em fo’ ya.” Ethel shook her head and indicated that he should stay put and eat with a finger pointed at a sandwich on the table.
“After you eat I’ll help you hang the hog.”
“You remember when ol’ Gordy say he wouldn’ eat hog. but could make a pork chop disappear before you could say jack rabbit.” Early reared back and laughed hard. Ethel joined in the laughter, “Dat boy was a mess.”
Catching her breath she chortled, “I wish you coulda seen his face when L’il Early tol’ him de sausage was a hog. The boy turned green.”
The two sat without speaking for a while in their own thoughts. Ethel got up to clean away the dishes. When she was finished she asked, “You ready to hang dat hog?”
‘Na, I got it up in the tree my own self. That block and tackle long with dat winch I made is a right smart trick. I ’spect I could hang you up in dat tree if I took a mind t’” His tired eyes twinkled with merriment.
Ethel shot him a sour look. He winked back at her, “I can’t think of a reason why I would get such a notion, though.” He chuckled. “But with dat winch, a few winds, and old Mr. Hog up de tree lickity split. Don’t know why it took me so long to think of making one them wenches afore.”
“No wonder you all tuckered out? You ain’t sick? Jest done de work o’ ten mens,” Ethel gave her husband the once over with a very keen eagle eye. “And jest actin’ a fool?” She smiled fixing him with another investigative stare, “None of us is as young as we once was.”
“You done spoke de truth der, darlin.”