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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

RINGING HOGS

For the younger people and those who weren't raised on the farm, hogs were 'ringed' - the placement of usually 4 metal rings on the hog's snout, 2 on each side close to the center of the snout - so that the animal wouldn't root and tear up the ground in their search for underground food such as tender roots, etc. Hog rings also prevent the animal from tearing up and through fencing. 'Rooting' is a natural behavior for a hog but can be very destructive to the ground and fences. The ring is clipped on but will be painful to the animal if it persists in 'rooting' around. ~ SRB

There is a story Velma used to like to tell about when she and Glen were first married. Dave Caldwell, Glen's Dad, was living with them then.

One day he and Glen were down in the barn ringing hogs and they had one hog down ready to put the ring in it's nose when Velma came down to the barn to tell the men dinner was ready.

This was back in the early 1930s when younger women wore straight skirts.

As she opened the barn door to peek in, it surprised the hog which jumped up and ran for that narrow crack of light where Velma was standing and in the process, ran right between her legs which, because of the straight skirt would not let her legs "spraddle" wide enough to let the frightened hog through.

The result was that she became stuck on the back of the fleeing hog which took her for a ride around the barnyard as she yelled to the men for help.

But the two were so convulsed with laughing they had fallen down in the hay and could not respond as the yelling Velma and the hog circled the lot with the animal grunting, "Boosh-boosh-boosh!" (as Velma described it)

"Lord have mercy, they'd a laughed if it hadda kilt me!", she used to say.

Glen and Velma lived in the vicinity of what southwest Iowans called 'The Lost Nation' which is a very rural area straddling the IA/MO line where the scattered residents in the vicinity around Caledonia speak a lingo of their own which Mom Smith used to call "Hooshier". This made Velma's telling of the story that much more funny.

In her golden years after Glen had passed, Velma lived alone in Mt. Ayr and continued to lose her hearing until a hearing aid was of no use. To talk to her, she had to either lip read or see it in writing. When she was no longer able to care for herself, her daughters took her to a care home in Des Moines where she lived her remaining days. The last time we visited her was when we took Junella's ashes to Mt. Ayr three years ago.

I suppose Velma will be buried next to Glenn in Mt. Ayr Cemetery. ~ R. Maley

David Henry Caldwell died May 13, 1955. Glen Caldwell died August 21, 1997. Velma (Sweeney) Caldwell died November 18, 2008. Junella Louise (Smith) Elliott died July 9, 2007. They are all interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Iowa. ~ SRB

Robert wrote, saying, "Velma Caldwell was Annabelle (Smith) Maley's aunt, and Junella mentioned in this narrative is her older sister Junella (Smith) Elliott. ~ R. Maley"

Contribution by Robert Maley, May of 2011

To submit your Ringgold County Tales From The Front Porch,
contact Sharon R. Becker at srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.


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