Wild Kingdom

My daughter and I were driving home from a music rehearsal recently and we saw a flock of black, wild pigs cross the street in front of us. They ran - if that’s what you can call it when a pig goes really fast - and I think the one in front looked both ways and waved on the rest.

We sat in the car dumbfounded. We were in a fairly busy area, right near an elementary school. But the town name where we were? Green Acres. This is the problem with naming towns. You could have a fairly urban area, with a cosmopolitan feel or even a ghetto with a Taco Bell and a Best Buy, and you can absolutely kill it by naming it something pastoral. Next thing you know, you’ve got wild pigs roaming around your school bus drop-off/pick-up.

I already knew there were wild pigs in Florida, roaming free, because our friend Dave went pig hunting, got one, brought it home and made homemade sausage out of it for a new year’s party we went to. I’ll admit, I didn’t really believe him when he said he hunted down the pig used in the sausage. I thought it was like one of those controlled hunts that Africans take rich Americans on, where they take you into a pen and say, “OK, shoot this old, slow one that we’ve injected with Dimetapp.”

Dave assured me that there are not only wild pigs in Florida, jaywalking and stirring up trouble at elementary schools, but that it’s a big problem and the sausage-making pig hunters are welcomed and treated like heroes in this state.

When I heard that feral pigs were the third largest problem in Florida (next in line to con artists and 110-year-olds with driver’s licenses) I thought it was one of those Florida jokes. When you’re new to Florida and you don’t know squat about the geography or the people here, you hear stuff that is so outrageous, that you think it’s made up. Within weeks of living down here, I was told that Kimodo dragons walk around Coral Gables and get into people’s garbage cans; that there’s a tree species native to Florida that can sense that a hurricane is coming and will suddenly and instantaneously drop all of its leaves in a couple of seconds, about a day before the storm hits; that we have killer bees here.

It got to the point where if someone with at least eight teeth told me that at midnight during a full moon, the crabs come out and hold hands in a circle on Juno Beach, I would not only have believed him, I’d be out there taking pictures with my night lens.

My daughter did manage to snap a couple quick photos of the pigs. If nothing more, to show people back up North that there’s more to this place than beaches and barbecues. Where did you think we got our sausage?

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