Taking his cue from Mr. Grady Rose, Daddy decided he needed to go into the hog business. In theory, all he had to do was harvest wild hogs and watch the money roll in. Mother reluctantly agreed. In fact, he did accrue a few expenses to get a few starter sows and a boar or two, timber to build trap pens, and corn to bait the traps. Of course, he had to have a gun and knife for protection, and mud tires to negotiate the deep woods and oh yes, a hog dog for the hunt, expenditures that severely stressed an already overburdened budget. Daddy brought home about a hundred dollars a week. Groceries took twelve dollars of that.
Daddy took to hog hunting enthusiastically. It became a sport rather than a money-making venture. I don’t recall eating a lot of pork or having to help count the extra money it brought in. The boars were very aggressive to men and dogs. Daddy stitching his dogs up after they were slashed by hogs.
Daddy’s hunting buddy, Jimmy, was amazing. He’d lost a leg as an infant, but had compensated so well, he seemed not to miss it at all. When an angry boar charged a group of hunters aggressively, the other men scattered into nearby trees while Jimmy agiley jumped on top of his crutch and balanced as the hog ran beneath him. He used his crutch to vault over fences rather than hunting for a gate. When my brother Billy was little, Mother had learned to dread what he might say to people. Early one morning as she stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, she saw Jimmy headed for the front door. She rushed to get to the open front door greet him before Billy got a chance open his big mouth and ask about the missing leg. She was too slow. As she rushed in, Billy announced, “Mama, a skeeter bit his leg off!”
Daddy made an interesting acquisition from one of his hunting buddies. For a nominal amount, he became the proud owner of the Hog Wagon. It was a school bus on a cut down frame with a cage on back for transporting hogs and sometimes children. This amalgamation was unlicensed, of course, since it had no windshield or doors. A battered bench seat covered with burlap bags replaced the bus seat. The V8 flathead engine made it very powerful when run in first gear, an invaluable feature for a vehicle used in swampy areas. We hung on for dear life when we were fortunate enough to get a ride on this beauty. Daddy also employed this powerful machine to pull up stumps when clearing pasture.
We were seriously the envy of neighborhood kids.