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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Funny (10/04/12)

TITLE: Obsolete Appellation Numerations
By Beth LaBuff


The crash of shattering glass and a scattered floral bouquet severed the somber mood at the Worthington house. Three sons and one daughter had gathered to discuss the future of the family business when Rocky’s elbow unintentionally encountered the crystal vase. Lying atop the sodden lilies was a small card with the imprint, “In sympathy in the loss of your father.” A rush to tidy the situation led to another encounter; this time Rocky collided with his sister China Worthington. His sudden expulsion of breath immediately preceded her sprawling form. The laughter from the four cheered the moment.

The Worthington siblings came from a lengthy and proud line of military families. Each Worthington man was named using a title or military rank. Names like Colonel, Baron, Duke, and Admiral were used as Christian names. Then each successive generation reused the names, recycling them as one might recycle glass or plastic. Some families reversed the order; others repeated the names and added a Roman numeral. They were a prestigious family with a proud heritage; that is until Margrave Caesar Worthington IV shattered tradition. That break didn’t scatter fragrant blooms that needed regathered and water sponged. Margrave Caesar Worthington IV announced to his father, Duke Viceroy Worthington II, that he was going to be a farmer. Not a furrow farmer, but a farrow-to-finish hog farmer. The ensuing eau de cologne smelled anything but sweet.

When Margrave put his mind to something, he immersed himself, it became his passion, he went whole hog, so to speak. In his first year of farming, he perfected the skills of clipping needle teeth and docking tails of the piglets, along with giving the necessary vaccinations. He married during the summer of his second year and was pleased when the farm made a small profit. He expanded the herd . . . and his family during the fourth year. The succeeding years saw profits or losses, depending on the mercurial markets. Three additional children completed the family of Margrave and Mattie “the wife.” Hamp was the oldest, followed by Rocky, then Chester, and one little sister--China.

With the lighter tone of their meeting, the siblings told escapades from their father’s hog farming days. Chester recounted a story that occurred during his high school years. They had a tame boar named Behemoth. One crisp fall afternoon as he’d helped move the boar to another lot, his dad decided to ride Behemoth, sans rope, sans saddle, just a bolting bewildered boar at their own private rodeo. The piggyback ride lasted a full five seconds before his dad’s backside created a smooth depression in the craggy loam.

Then a memory resurfaced, that of a dog long-gone. She was a white German-shepherd named Lark who was aptly dubbed a “hog dog.” Each sibling added to the memory. “Remember how Lark rode in the back of the pickup with her head to the wind.”

“Don’t forget the time Dad and Mom were away for a week and Lark never left Dad’s pickup.”

“Who would have believed that a dog could shepherd hogs, but Lark just instinctively knew what Dad wanted by the tone of his voice or a short command.” Lark’s white fur was usually stained from the mud of the hog lot. The family jokingly referred to the color of her coat as “dark white.”

The fragrant lilies in the newly recruited Mason jar were now safely situated in the center of the scarred farmhouse table. In their final moments together the siblings said a prayer for their future and gave thanks for their heritage. The memories of their father, Margrave Caesar Worthington IV, were like a sweet aroma.

Margrave had three passions in his life: his faith, his family, and the hog farm. He broke with tradition when he chose a hog farm over a military career. But he demolished tradition when his love for raising hogs gave him inspiration in naming his children; Hampshire Worthington, Duroc (Rocky) Worthington, Chester White Worthington, and Poland China Worthington. There was no need for Roman numerals to follow their names.

Author’s note: Hampshire, Duroc, Chester White, and Poland China are all registered breeds of swine.

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This article has been read 694 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/11/12
I loved the story, hog names and all, particularly the one daughter's name. It was interesting start to finish.
It's neat when something funny happens to relieve a little of the tension at a sad time.
Noel Mitaxa 10/11/12
Very entertaining material, though some readers may be boared by sow many references to pigs. It was sad to start with a funeral, for if you had set the story in Scotland, it may have connected with their end of year celebration of Hogmanay. :-)
C D Swanson 10/12/12
Funny, interesting, and comnpletely different. Thanks for this creative take on the topic.

God bless~
Leola Ogle 10/13/12
I think this just may be some of my relatives, since my ancestry was traced to Scotland. LOL Loved the story. Very well written and flowed perfectly. God bless!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/17/12
This is great. You had me chuckling here and there. The note at the end was the absolute best and spoke volumes about the character. I really enjoyed this clever well-written piece.
Loren T. Lowery10/18/12
Not only was Margrave Caesar Worthington IV resilient, he was passionately resolved (probably an inherited trait, actually). I admire his backbone, taking the less traveled path, believing in what he saw to be his calling. Margrave, an example for us all!
PS - I can see why the progenitors need not have worried about numerations after their names : )
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/19/12
Congratulations for ranking 10th in Masters and 16 overall!