Yesterday the three little pigs went to market.

I’m not an overly emotional man (my wife may say otherwise), but I will admit that the process of raising those piglets with the knowledge of their demise did not affect me until the moment I loaded them onto the trailer. At that point I succumbed to what I imagine any one of our rational ancestors would – who spent a substantial amount of time caring for an animal, ensuring its safety and health, protecting it from the elements, and feeding it the highest quality rations available.

The pigs went willingly into the trailer, following the feed trough I pulled ahead of them, which daily assured them of sustenance, and took their places beside one another for their last supper.

I’ll remember these three, my first, forever, I imagine.

While I refused to name two, one came with a name, “Fast Eddie”. He infuriated me, with his pushy demeanor, that ‘me first’ attitude, and stubborn unwillingness to relinquish just the smallest amount of space beside him at the trough for the runt of the litter. But he was admirable, as a pig goes, for his size, and color, and commanding action in the pen. And that runt, always off doing something else when it was feeding time. Never paying attention to the fact that the other two were half done with their breakfast before he even bothered to get down to the trough. The third, well, he’s probably the one I liked most. Unnamed, average in size, with no distinguishing marks, but curious about everything, daily testing the electric fence, always the first to jump up to greet me in the morning, and willing to share a bit of space with the little guy, even stepping back and waiting for me to fill a second trough as they all got too big to share just one.

They say pigs are smart, maybe even as smart, or smarter, than dogs. And they’re funny too. Even cute. These three were no exception. Good pigs, the lot of them.

As I look out into the yard and see their empty forest pasture pen, it’s uncomfortable to acknowledge to myself where I know I sent them, and I wonder if other farmers ever feel, or felt at one time, the same way, or if maybe I am an overly emotional man…