Friday, July 26, 2013

                     THE STORY OF PIGBERT

     Kiefer walked all the way around Pigbert, sniffing. He was suspicious, puzzled and not really happy about the new member of our little family. Finally, at the end of his circle, he lifted his leg on Pigbert's base and peed. Then he pranced off and forgot the concrete bovine. He had conquered it.
     People have asked me about Pigbert since I wrote that he came to live with me. And so this morning I decided to tell his story.
     I'm not sure about his actual beginnings, but I know that he resided at some South Texas business with a "for sale" sign on his back. I know that my friends happened by and couldn't resist the massively heavy Berkshire with antlers and bought him during a hunting trip. They named him Pigbert.
     Former Denton Police Reserve Chief Art Behrens, the late, great Sgt. Steve Camp and John Lassiter divvied up the price and began plotting against various of their friends.
     It went like this: On a morning when they least expected it, various victims would walk into the front yard and find Pigbert there. He was black and white and sported deer antlers and a big smile. Not really an attractive combination. And somewhere, three grown men were giggling and waiting for an irate telephone call. He was not deemed a happy visitor to their yards. But he was hard to dislodge, since he weighed several hundred pounds. Some people think Pigbert is ugly and most of the recipients didn't want him decorating their premises.
     Police Chief Lee Howell was such a recipient.
He was but a lowly lieutenant at the time and he knew exactly who had deposited the pig on his Denton lawn. He dragged the hapless statue to his backyard and chained him to a tree. Let them stew about getting their precious piglet back, he thought.
     While he was at work one of the conspirators was also at work with bolt cutters, releasing him from captivity. Howell loaded him on his trailer and returned him with a few unkind words to Behrens. He bounced a little during the trip and his base cracked across a corner but his smile was intact.
     I met Pigbert on Christmas morn the year my late husband died. That year my yard was festooned with a 6-foot-tall pink flamingo pulling a fairly large sleigh. I thought the string of lights draped over the whole thing was lovely. I awoke on Christmas morning and walked into my yard. There, sporting a red nose in honor of his position, was Pigbert guiding the sleigh. After I stopped laughing I made it known in the right places that I planned to paint Pigbert hot pink to match the flamingo. He shortly disappeared.
     But I always remembered him with a smile. His goofy grin cheered up my first Christmas without Richard.
     Meanwhile, over the years, Pigbert fell from favor with the conspirators. He was heavy, for one thing, and as they aged the hunters enjoyed lugging him less and less from yard to yard. He abided at Behrens' house, and Sandy Behrens wasn't too fond of him either. So he wound up behind a shed in the back yard, lonely and forlorn.
     I saw Art a few months back and asked about the pig. Steve had died and John had moved away and Art wouldn't mind getting him out from behind the shed, he said. Would I want to adopt him?
     Of course I would.
     Pigbert would fit right in with my household, which I've been told is about half a bubble off plumb.
     So Art graciously had him delivered to my backyard. I love him and will take good care of him. He reminds me of some of my favorite people and he seems happy under a tree back there.
     I only changed one thing. I promoted him to Sergeant Pigbert in honor of Steve Camp. It was the least I could do and I think that up in cop heaven, Steve is smiling.

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