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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Houdini likes to sun himself in the wildflower patch beside the babbling brook....

Submitted: March 22, 2018

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Submitted: March 22, 2018



Here’s a really cute story you can write a song about, and it’s a true story, so it'll make an endearing folk ballad. Years ago I lived near one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it towns away out in the countryside, a charming backwoods place called Hamilton nestled snugly in the picturesque rolling hills and fertile green valleys of north Alabama.

My neighbor there was a gentle-hearted farmer of friendly disposition named Garret Ashbury, and he had a young daughter, a cute little girl named Mandy who had a small potbellied pig she kept as a pet - a tawny pig that was covered all over with irregular-shaped splotches of rusty red, iron gray, ochre yellow, and nutshell brown, with a hilariously rotund belly of eggshell white.

Mandy was proud as a game rooster of her potbellied pig. She loved that chubby runty critter with all her heart and she’d snort and grunt saying she was talking to him. She named her pig Houdini because no matter how secure her father thought he had made the pen, the little pig always got out somehow, and every time Houdini escaped the confines of the pen, he would invariably head straight out into a broad open meadow to lie down and sun himself in a fluffy patch of brightly colored wildflowers that grew beside a murmuring stream of crystal clear spring water that sprouted mysteriously from a stony hole in the side of one of the nearby hills.

One warm summer afternoon when Mandy woke from her nap and ran outside to play with Houdini, she was not surprised to discover that he was not in his pen, yet the sleepy-eyed little girl was surprised to find that Houdini was not in the meadow sunning himself in the wildflower patch. Mandy called for Houdini, but the rhythmic murmur of the babbling brook is all she heard in reply.

Mandy hollered all over the farm for Houdini. Her young voice echoed around the cattle pasture, the horse corral, the old red barn, and the pumpkin patch, but her beloved potbellied pig did not come a running.

Mandy was alarmed and beginning to worry something awful, when, passing by the clothesline where her mother was gathering in laundry, Mandy found her cherished pet pig lying asleep in a basket full of bed sheets that were of a brightly colored floral print.

There was a heaving sigh of relief on Mandy’s part, yet her mother didn’t much like the idea of the little pig lying on her clean bed sheets. Mandy’s mama, with temper beginning to flare, was on the verge of meting out a harsh scolding, but when she saw her daughter embrace Houdini with tears of joyful reuniting, the strong love Mandy felt for her little pig overcame her mother’s wrath so that hearty good-natured laughter ensued.

I have since moved away from the rolling hills and lush valleys of north Alabama to the waving palms and sugar-sand beaches of Florida’s gulf coast, so I don’t know what became of Mandy and Houdini. I like to think that they are still frolicking happily together around the old farmstead in the rustic charming country spaces, serenaded by the gentle harmony of pleasing birdsong amid colorful patches of fragrant wild flowers.

© Copyright 2019 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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