The Great Escape
Even squirmy squally piglets have opinions. It wasn’t my fault this one would choose not to ride forty miles in the back of a pickup truck in a bran sack but it was my responsibility to supervise his passage. The stage was set for drama and a clash of wills.
Unaware that this pig was a thinker, I settled comfortably into the capped bed of Grampie’s old blue truck with my prized Bobbsey Twins book and Grampie’s prized pig.
All was peaceful and life was good for a time because it took the pig close onto an hour to reason that there was more to life than riding to Great Grandmother’s in an old feed bag. Suddenly I was jolted unceremoniously from the adventures of Flossie and Freddie Bobbsey into an adventure of my own as a small head poked from the sack and a body quickly followed the head.
Instant free-for-all! I dived, and the pig dodged. I grabbed, and the pig slipped from my grasp. I screamed and the pig squealed, and when I blocked his way, he sailed right past me. I watched in amazement as his curly tail cleared the tailgate. He was free and I was in shock.
By now Grampie understood that the screaming he heard probably wasn’t from children playing in the yards of the hamlet we traveled through; it was following him. Perhaps some investigation was in order.
His investigation revealed a sobbing grand child and a runaway pig. He was a loving grandfather but now he had no choice but to prioritize the porker. Down the road and into the woods they flew. He was later to report that once the woods offered respite for the fugitive, he knew it was all over. But then a small black and white dog burst from his doghouse, drawing the escapee‘s attention.
Perhaps he thought it was a sibling? At any rate, he stopped to look…pausing just long enough for Grampie to end the chase and return breathless to the truck with his wiggly prize. By that time I had been soothed and pampered by the gathering crowd. A kind person had even bought me a double scoop chocolate ice cream cone.
A lady who had fainted (believing that a child had fallen from the traveling vehicle) had come to and was responding well to the ministrations of concerned onlookers.
The excitement was over, but the memory has remained remarkably vivid for nearly sixty years. A snippet of life, only a few minutes’ duration, but it captures a snapshot of the ups and downs in life. Sunny days, rides in pickups, and the joy of a good book, accompanied by the pride of responsibility. All is well; life is good.
Then the unexpected catches us unawares, panic sets in and things go wrong in spite of our frantic effort. We don’t know the outcome. Spirits fail, tears fall, life is hard. We are down.
The Psalmist was well familiar with the up and down pattern of life. In Psalm 43:5 we hear him ask, ‘Why art thou cast down O my soul and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God for I will yet praise Him.’
Things seemed scary and bleak when the porker made a run for it. God answered with full restoration of the pig, the comfort of caring people, an ice cream cone…and a story for us to tell many times over.
He lifts us up when we are down in big and little ways every day.
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