“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

"Honey, GET your camera!"
Saturday, August 9, 2008

I had a normal, safe childhood, except for the time my big brother pinned me down and poured Tabasco sauce in my eyes. In fact, the first real emotional hurdle for me didn't come until I was in seventh grade ... and that was the day my mother brought Iona home.

Iona is the name she gave to the 900-pound cement pig she bought on impulse (Does someone ever PLAN on buying a cement pig?) in Denver. Iona Pig is big. An adult can straddle her like a horse and his legs won't even touch the ground. Iona is so big that when she was delivered we had to get help from our friends at the mortuary, who brought over their small crane they use to lower vaults into the ground.

All would have been fine had Iona been hidden in some private, leafy spot in the back yard. But, oh, no, my mom wanted to share her with the world, so she was set right in front of the house, in a rock garden, enjoying the shade of the box elder tree. Visitors could pat her broadside when they walked up the stairs. Unfortunately for me, an adolescent, it was hard to miss her. At the time, the old hotel across the street from us doubled as the Greyhound bus terminal, and it was not unusual for people to ring our doorbell and ask if they could pose with the pig for a picture.

You can see, then, why I'm desensitized to over-the-top yard art. It takes something colossal to make me go, "Wow!" ... and I found just that something in front of the East Grand Forks City Hall.

I call this one "Ma and Pa Prairie." (Sorry, I haven't figured out how to flip photos yet.) No, the horses are not real, nor are the humans who are bedecked in American flag material.

Yes, this would be Paul Bunyan and Babe, his ox. East Grand Forks, across the river from Grand Forks N.D., is in Minnesota. Now ... if I may direct your attention to the large park across the street.

It may look like REAL WATER, but don't be fooled! The two swimming birds are loons. And I think the third is a Canada goose. Looks like we caught him in a little catnap. But now ... my favorite ...

Albino buffalo! Or is it ghost buffalo? Or maybe ... this is North Dakota/Minnesota, after all ... maybe he's simply frozen buffalo.

Hey, Mom ... I'm thinking a 900-pound cement pig would look pretty nifty in this scene, hmmmmm?


Blogger Ad Hudler said...

I'm posting this for my mother, who is having trouble posting comments. She sent this to me via my email....

"Her name was Iowna Pig, dear boy.
I named her after my first pig, which was my "big" present one Christmas when a blizzard was raging outside while we opened presents. There wasn't anything major for me, until someone noticed a tiny note at the top of the tree which said: Your baby piglet is waiting for you in the Quonset. I was so thrilled, I was beside myself.
"Hey, you guys! I own a pig!! Did you hear me? I OWN A PIG!"
The rest of the evening I kept saying that phrase over and over, perhaps to make me feel better at not having anything to open or perhaps to rub it into my older and younger sisters.
"Gosh, I wonder what I'm going to name her . . . " I mused.
"I thought you already did," answered Mother.
"You keep calling her Iowna, don't you?" she grinned. "I assumed that was her name."
And so it was.
I Own A Pig
Just a little point of clarification.

August 10, 2008 at 3:05 PM  

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