Reflections in My Mirror–“Hog Killing Day”


Daddy raised pigs and we named them Delores and Elsie.  Their pen was up the hollow behind Grandpa McClure’s barn.  Most of the time daddy would feed the pigs, but other times “you know who” had to help out.  Daddy bought this food called “meddling” and you mixed it with water and leftover table food in a bucket and carry it to the pig pen.

I thought pigs were so rude and had very poor eating manners.  You couldn’t get the food in fast enough and they would splash it in your leg if you didn’t move quickly. 

Well, these pigs weren’t too smart.  The more they ate and the fatter they got the quicker they would be killed and be meat on someones table.  I always thought it was sad to just raise an animal to kill it and eat it, but that was the life was at that time.

Several men in the community would come to help you on “Hog Killing Day”.  For one thing, they knew we would share some of the meat with them and their family.  The “Hog Killing” was truly a “man’s job” and the women didn’t go to the barn to watch the beginning of the tradition.  The sharp shooter of the bunch would load the gun, aim and fire right between the hog’s eyes.  You could hear a loud squeal and it was all over for Delores or Elsie.

Being the inquisitive child that I was, I found a way to sneek up to the barn and spy out what was happening.  It didn’t take me long to know that I had seen enought.  The site was sickening and I wanted to go back home.

The men would butcher the hog and divide it into pork chops, ham, bacon and the meat for sausage.  The meat for sausage would go into a grinder and fall out in a pan.  Mother would can some of the sausage and freeze the remainder.  Daddy had a smoke house and he would put salt on the ham and hang them to be used in the winter time.


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