That isn’t a metaphor.  It’s real life.  It’s called the World Champion Wild Hog Festival.  (By the way, I don’t think anyone travels from across the globe to wrestle a hog in a small Texas town, so “world” may be overstating it just a bit).  My husband somehow learned about this competition and it quickly became a dream of his that had to be accomplished.  You can’t live on a franch unless you have a belt buckle with a wild hog on it.  This competition is where a hog is set loose in an arena, then you and a partner chase it, catch it, get it in a burlap sack, and pull it across the finish line as fast as possible.  Yes, seriously.  And these hogs are feral and mean, with the heavy division hogs weighing in at 85 pounds minimum.  My husband was intent on convincing one of his university colleagues to join him on this quest.  But, it’s a pretty sophisticated crowd, and I couldn’t imagine any of them risking their lives to wrestle a hog.  Not many have anything to do with farming or ranching (even though my husband relentlessly tries to convince them to live the franch life!).  So, instead, I planned a quiet day on our franch.  It was looking like I’d finally fulfill my dream of spending an afternoon together relaxing in our hammock and finding shapes in the clouds, and then, not just one colleague, two of ’em were all-of-sudden willing.  Upon arrival at the event, the announcer was pleased to report an earlier contestant needing only stitches from an early morning hog gone wild.  Worried, I scolded his colleagues, “We wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t said yes to being my husband’s partner!  If something happens to him, you are going to help me raise our children.”  But, there was no turning back, I mean, we had driven two hours.  Well, it played out the way it does on the job – my husband basically supervised his colleague tackling the hog, then held the bag for him, and finally together dragged it across the finish line.  Unfortunately, they didn’t win the coveted buckle, but they do have a priceless story to tell.  Even though this one was definitely absurd to a once suburban girl, my husband made yet another franch dream come true.  Before you laugh at all this, remember Theodore Roosevelt’s lesson, “…it is not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…” I don’t see why this can’t apply to an arena full of wild hogs.  Growing up on our franch, our children not only have the usual childhood ribbons and trophies on their shelves, they also have ones like their muddy “I Caught A Hog” ribbon from the junior scramble division.  I think my husband is most proud of ones like that.  Honestly, I am too.  The wild hog festival for next year is on our calendar.



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