Who Shot Pavy’s Pig… And— A Summer Break From Blogging

I’ve always been a fan of pigs. Whenever I go to a County or State Fair, I make a beeline for the livestock barns, mainly to see the pigs and the goats. I found this handsome pair hamming it up at a small county fair in Cedarville, California when I was on my way to Burning Man one year. Normally I take photos of their faces and snouts, but I couldn’t resist the kinky little tails.

Like the gunslingers of the Old West, our reputations far exceeded the reality of our actions. Take Tony Pavy’s pig for example. Tony had a large pond with bullfrogs, a hundred or so acres of scrubland, and a wooded hillside that housed a number of gray squirrels. He also had an attitude similar to Jimmy Pagonni’s: Children were not to be heard or seen, especially on his property. As with Pagonni, we didn’t allow Pavy to keep us from our appointed rounds. We would slip in at night to harvest his bullfrogs and during the day to bring down a squirrel. Tony had a very effective way of getting rid of us. In a very loud voice he would yell, “Mama, get my gun!” and we would streak out of there.

A couple of friends and I were hunting for the squirrels on his hillside when the unfortunate incident with the pig took place. But before I tell the story, I need to digress and provide some background information.

Growing up in Diamond in the 50s meant having a gun and shooting things. At least it did if you were a boy. We graduated from BB guns and 22s to deer rifles and shotguns. Obtaining your first rifle was an experience similar in importance to obtaining your driver’s license, except you could get one a lot earlier. Before we were allowed to hunt, however, certain rules were pounded into our heads. We had to take a course sponsored by the National Rifle Association. These were the years when the NRA’s primary concern was about hunting and hunter safety. They also sponsored marksmanship competitions for improving skills. Ten years after I got my license Peggy won the NRA’s National Pistol competition for youth.

I didn’t become one of America’s premier marksmen, but I did learn it is important to know what you were shooting. This might seem obvious, but flatlanders out of Sacramento often had trouble making the distinction between a cow and a deer. Of a much more serious nature, every year or so one would mistake another hunter for a deer. Wear red hats and bright clothes, we were taught. There were other things we weren’t supposed to shoot as well. People’s houses for example. Robins were also high on the list. They ate their weight daily in bugs. It was okay to shoot ‘vermin’ such as ground squirrels, jackrabbits, coyotes and the scrub jays that pecked away at pears. In fact there was a bounty on jays, $.25 per head.

My usual preference was for watching wildlife, not killing it. I made an exception for gray squirrels. The thrill of the hunt combined with my appetite for a delicious squirrel and dumpling stew my mother whipped up overcame any reservations I had. All of which brings me back to the pig.

Gray squirrels have about the same appreciation for being shot that you or I might. To avoid this unhappy circumstance, they take off leaping through the trees. The one we had marked for dinner was jumping from limb to limb in a live oak tree on the hill above Pavy’s with all three of us shooting at it when we heard a bellow from the barnyard.

“Mama, get my gun! They shot my pig! They shot my pig! Hurry, Mama!”

I don’t know how fast Mama moved but we flew. By the time Ernie Carlson, the County Sheriff, caught up with us we were far away from Pavy’s and about as innocent as newborn piglets.

“Excuse me, boys,” the Sheriff remarked when he pulled over in his car and rolled down his window, “I don’t suppose you know anything about Tony Pavy’s pig being shot.”

“No, sir,” we replied respectfully in unison. We had rehearsed.  Besides, we were technically correct. We hadn’t shot Pavy’s pig; we hadn’t even shot the squirrel. It was a ricocheting bullet that did in the pig. 

Ernie looked at us dubiously.

“Pavy described three kids that fit your description,” the Sheriff said as he continued to build pressure, hoping that one of us would break. Boy, had we heard that one before.

“We’ve been out in back of Ot Jones pond,” I argued indignantly. And we had been. So what if we had arrived there out of breath.

“Well, you kids behave yourselves,” the Sheriff said with an ominous I know you’re lying tone. We breathed a joint sigh of relief as he rolled up his window and drove off. Once more we had avoided a fate we probably deserved. I suspect now that Ernie was not one hundred percent dedicated to finding the alleged pig murderers. Tony was not universally loved in the community for several reasons, of which regularly threatening to shoot kids was only one. 

For example, my father did some electrical work for him once for free. As he was leaving, Tony asked, “Would you like one of my geese for dinner?”

“Sure,” Pop had replied, assuming Pavy was offering it as thanks for his four hours of work. 

“Good,” Tony had replied, “that will be five dollars.” Pop was more than a little irritated. He had a hearty laugh years later when I told him about our adventure with the pig. I wisely avoided telling him at the time, however. His perspective on our miscreant behavior softened substantially with distance and age.

Those Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

“Roll out those lazy, hazy days of summer,” Nat King Cole sang in 1963. It was the adult version of what the kids of earlier years uttered when they escaped from school for the summer, “No more pencils, no more books, No more teachers, dirty looks.” Actually I liked school and my teachers, and I loved books, but the appeal of having a whole summer ahead with minimal responsibility and maximum play was close to magical. Since I have been writing about my childhood, it’s hard not to feel a bit nostalgic for those days. As Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go home again,” however, and he’s right. The idyllic view of our childhood that many of us have doesn’t quite match the reality. It’s human nature to forget the bad and remember the happy, which is a good thing.  

But none of this means that we can’t on occasion escape from whatever keeps our feet tethered to the ground and our nose to the grindstone, allowing ourselves to play more and pursue other things we find of interest. I am something of a master at this, having engineered escapes all of my adult life every few years from three months to three years. These escapes have enabled me the wander through the South Pacific, go on a six-month bicycle trip, take two, three month breaks for backpacking, spend three years wandering North America in a small RV, etc. Fortunately, my good buddy of the last 30 years has been more than willing to join me in these escapes. 

Anyway, it’s time for another 3–4 month break. This one won’t be major. I only plan to cut back on some of my regular activities to free up time for other activities. 

One of these is blogging, which I have now been doing for 11 years. I don’t plan on quitting the blogosphere, only cutting back and writing when I am inspired to do so, like when Big Foot or baby deer show up on our door step, for example. I’ll also be touching base with my blogging friends from time to time over the summer. I should be back to a regular schedule this fall. I realize that it is disconcerting when blogging friends up and disappear, so I wanted to let you know what’s up. Have a great summer, and here’s to being able to travel again. –Curt

66 thoughts on “Who Shot Pavy’s Pig… And— A Summer Break From Blogging

  1. I know what you mean Curt on at least two counts. I like to look back on my youth, but I wouldn’t want to live there. And you know I just wrote that I was giving up on a fixed schedule for my blog – only to find something I wanted to say three days later. I look forward to reading your posts whenever they are posted and rather hope you find something you want to say earlier than you expect.

    • I am sure there will be things, Ray. But I won’t miss the three deadline a week pressure. I am already feeling more relaxed. Peggy and I just went for a walk on the trail, right about when I normally schedule blog writing time. 🙂
      I’ve always appreciated your comments and support. How are you relating to your new “schedule?” –Curt

    • Of course, GP. I’ll be checking in on occasion. Mid-summer, I’ll actually be in Safety Harbor. Tony is retiring from the Coast Guard so we are having a Florida family get-together. Not the best time to be in Florida. 🙂 –Curt

  2. I’ve never been good at sticking to a schedule (in case you hadn’t noticed?) Here’s wishing you a marvelous deadline free summer break! Hoping you and Peggy have a super summer! 🤗

    Perhaps with more folks cutting back on posting, maybe I’ll actually be able to catch up on reading/commenting. How would that be? 😉

    • Laughing about your catching up, Gunta. Reading and commenting on fellow bloggers posts can be close to a full time occupation. 🙂
      Thanks, Peggy and I are excited about the next few months! Here’s hoping you have a great summer as well. –Curt

      • Summertime we tend to stick closer to home, working on the house while the tourists swarms (and nasty north winds) take over. As you’ve discovered some of the best times for travel along the coast are spring and fall… even winter provides some delightful wild storms.
        Wishing you both great summer adventures! You’ll be missed, but I may actually get caught up…?

      • Thanks, Gunta. Who knows what adventures will call to us. One thing we are hoping to do is to catch more of the PCT in Oregon. I’ll be checking in on occasion. –Curt

  3. Have a great break, Curt. Look forward to any post you might shoot our way.
    I am taking breaks in between as well. Love and stuff like that seems to encourage dreaming and vacillating.
    I hear the US has done great with the vaccinating!

  4. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe someone accidentally shot the pig. What are the odds?! I think you are right about the Sheriff not being too hung up on finding the killers, since it was probably obvious it was you kids. I imagine Ernie knew you spent your time shooting squirrels anyway, and realized what had happened. I hope you two have a splendid summer and I know you will. Cutting down from blogging is a good choice, when summertime offers so many opportunities to step away from the screen. I appreciate you giving a heads up because I do worry about “losing” my bloggers, when they stop posting.

  5. The summer is here too, which I’m planning to really enjoy! Anyone deserves a vacation🙂
    Have some amazing lazy hazy days of summer, hugs to you and Peggy!!
    Christie

  6. Lovely last post before the summer Curt.
    Have a wonderful break, and I look forward to welcoming you back in the fall.
    I wish some of my other blogging buddies had let me know they were disappearing 😦
    Alison

  7. I can just see you caught red handed … well almost… talking your way out of shooting poor Pavy’s in the same way you did on the Sermon on the mound Curt.
    Oh those cute little tails and tales❣️🤣
    No… you DID NOT really ate squirrels? My mom’s fav was pigs feet…ewww… Somehow, it just doesn’t seem possible you were from here and not some hick place elsewhere….
    I love pigs too and we had a pot belly we gave to my daughter for xmas. It slept in the bottom of our bed for 6 mo. long story there.
    I will miss your stories in the way that only you can tell that bring a smile and belly laugh, your amazing pictures and Peggy’s but will look forward to more stories upon your return.

    This is such a nice way to view our childhood”

    “The idyllic view of our childhood that many of us have doesn’t quite match the reality. It’s human nature to forget the bad and remember the happy, which is a good thing”.

    I will have to start reframing or lying about mine lol…💖❤️🌷🤗

    • Squirrel is quite tasty, Cindy, albeit a bit on stingy on the meat side. 🙂
      A pot-bellied pig sleeping on the bottom of your bed! Now there’s a story.
      Thanks on missing my stories and our photographs. Appreciated. 🙂 I’ll check in on occasion to see how you are doing. And I will doe a few posts. I am already contemplating one on UFOs.

      Laughing. From what I have read so far, your youth was much more directed than mine. I suspect you’ve made up for it. Grin. –Curt

      • I found a dead one the other day in the drive and it wasn’t run over but blood from it’s mouth. It was huge… trust me and it was all i could do to throw it over the fence. I dream of shooting them out of my garden tho. wow, tasty hmmmm.

        It was the sweetest thing until it ran after you for food when it got bigger.

        Oh I always look forward to reading your posts.. I’m heating up with client load so I’ve been swamped.
        Of course you are thinking about one… that sounds like a fun one❣️👏

        glad to make you laugh now which ou do so well. No where near catching up with you💖 🤣
        See you around friend🌷🤗

      • Sounds like a sick ground squirrel, which we didn’t eat either. My grey hound survived off of healthy ones when she was living on her own out in the woods before she came to live with us.
        See you around, Cindy.

      • I’m wondering if one of the cats could have gotten it. Oh… I expect they would be good eats for your grey hound and maybe even healthier.
        Sounds good Curt💖

      • The greyhound didn’t mind an occasional jack rabbit, either. But they were a lot harder to catch.
        I caught five ground squirrels the other day before leaving town. I have a special trap called the squirrelinator (after Arnold). I transported them across the river into BLM land to what Peggy and I call Squirrel Village. They get to start a new life there. Of course they have to survive the snakes and foxes and coyotes, and hawks and eagles first. But I figure I give them a fighting chance.
        Plus, they face some of the same hazards at our place. A hawk has been swooping down and picking up the young ground squirrels that venture onto our deck. We cheer the hawk on.
        You should here the ground squirrels cuss me out when I capture them. I didn’t have a clue that they knew such language.:) –Curt

      • Oh I bet that’s true. Hunter’s mom caught squirrels but not him… just deer and coyotes and other than that.. he’s a true husky… slug and I drag him up the hill.
        Oh that is sooo kind of you to trap them and try to move them but I wouldn’t be so sure they won’t be back.. they know a good thing when they see it. 🤣. Laughing at their language and your comment for it is they who might have the last laugh… 🤣🤣🤣❤️
        Good luck with that. I now applaud the hawks now that the cats aren’t kitties nee more.
        Stay out of trouble or share what trouble you get in as I’ll need a laugh over the summer💖❤️🤣🤗🙏

      • Laughing. I’ve thought a couple of times about spraying white paint on their tails to see if any return. But they are either going to have to swim a river, not a ground squirrel type of thing, or make their way down a busy road where they might meet the wrong end of a logging truck. Not much squirrel left after that. If they survive in their environment for a few days, I suspect that they have dug in for the long haul.
        I’ll be posting occasionally when inspired, Cindy, but I confess that I am enjoying my vacation so far. I am playing with a post on UFOs. 🙂

      • hahahaha
        Well you’ll never guess what I did… Of course you will….. We called the pot belly pig I got for my daughter Jewels and I took her to the salon and got her ears pierced. We also painted her nails. She was in a parade and school.
        Oh well blessed be the squirrels you did your duty.

        Glad you’re having fun and playing with your UFO POST❣️

      • LOL… And what did the salon have to say about piercing a pig’s ears! Not to mention what Jewels had to say. I suspect she was a hit with the kids (and teachers as well). 🙂 –Curt

      • Ooooh, I got a damn on spam. 🙂 So I went digging in those dark mysterious folders that offer such good deals on Cialis. And lo and behold , there you were. Mia culpa. I vouched for you however. Now I will go digging through my comments to respond. But not now. Peggy and I are on the road. 🙂

  8. You get the inclination to shoot a hog on your break, come on down to Texas. We’ve got so many feral hogs running around they’re begging people to take them out. Right now, the hogs are winning.

    Enjoy your travels — I know both you and Peggy will. We’ll look forward to an occasional smoke signal.

  9. This was such a good read. I hope you have a marvelous time wandering about this summer. I will spending August in NFLD doing the exact same thing. I hope we both have a lot of topics to write about on our returns. Cheers to you and good health

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