My Hamlet

My Hamlet

A Story by texasjane

Owning a potbellied pig.


My Hamlet

Hamlet Arrives

My sister phoned.  Her son had told her that a friend of his had said that if anyone could catch one of his potbellied piglets, they could keep them.  That thrilled me.  I had wanted a potbellied pig for some time, but they were so expensive I had held off.  Today was the day.  Yes, I set out to catch a potbellied piglet and I caught a total delight.

I felt a soft breeze on my cheeks.  The humidity and heat made it welcome.  The smell of honeysuckle made me glance around for a vine growing over a fence.  I spotted it just at the corner of the yard.  It covered the entire corner and had honeybees swarming all around it.  I glanced at the magnolia tree in the middle of the yard with the huge blossoms scattered among its branches.  I closed my eyes and sniffed the air.  I was trying to decide which fragrance was going to win the day when I heard the piercing squeal of a tiny little piglet.


  Now, catching him was not easy.  What looked to be simple; took all day and left me covered with mud all over me and a smile on my face.  Once I got home, Hamlet and I showered off the mud and I was thrilled to discover I had a solid white little pig.  I really did not care but I did see some with spots and some with unusual markings.  They were all so covered with mud it was hard to tell.  Mine a little snow-white bundle of squeaking delight.


My husband was at work and would not be home till late into the night.  He programmed computers during the day and played in a band three nights a week.  This was Friday so it would be a late night.  I had always felt that a new pet needed to bond with me as quickly as possible.  The best way to do that was to sleep with them the first few days.  I had bonded with my dogs that way.  I had bonded with my kittens that way.  I did not bond with the parrot that way so let me clearer... I bonded with four-legged creatures that way.  Hamlet and I were sound asleep when my husband came home at three in the morning.  He did not want to wake me so; he did not turn on the light.  He undressed, put on his pajamas, and slid in the bed beside me.  The squeal was ear-shattering.  My husband jumped out of bed almost instantly.  He flipped on the light and there was Hamlet staring up at him.  He squealed again and got behind me.  I smiled and said, I see you have met Hamlet.


My husband took a deep breath, put his fingers in his ears, and whispered to me, "Babe, I am not going to sleep with a piglet."


I grabbed his pillow, tossed it to him, and replied in a whisper, "You don't have too dear.  Grab a blanket from the closet and sleep on the sofa."


He would have argued further but he also knew I would stand my ground and he would have to discuss this whole thing when he had gotten some much-needed rest.


Breakfast the next morning was interesting.  Somehow, I had gotten myself into a real dilemma.  I had pointed out I had not spent more than the cost of gas to go and get him.  I also pointed out that pigs were supposed to be very smart and easy to train.  My husband is a highly intelligent man.  Somehow, I ended up on agreeing to train him and maybe even make money with him.  Now what was I going to do?  One thing was certain when everyone else looked at him, they saw a pig. When I looked at him, I saw a total delight.  I told him he was a delight and he believed me.  Within these pages I have recorded some of our adventures.


Hamlet did turn out to be very cleaver indeed.  He knew how to untie every shoe in the house.  He learned his name quickly just in case it meant he was going to get a treat.  He played with the dogs uninvited and chased the cats all the way to the kitty box.  I had to train him to use his own kitty box.  The cats did not want him in there.  Although his was always clean.  He did use it properly.  That one surprised me too.  He got particularly good at killing field mice that got into the house.  He would chase them and stomp on them.  Then Tom Thumb, my big tom cat, would lay down beside it as if he were the hero.  My husband watched him kill a mouse one afternoon.  From that minute on Hamlet was also his hero and not just mine.  My husband hated setting traps and dealing with field mice.


I taught Hamlet how to do all the things dogs do; lay down, sit, come, stay, squeal, and play dead.  I decided I would get an animal trainer to teach him anything else.  Sure, enough I found one.  I chatted with one of the people in the marketing department at work.  They knew just the right guy.


  Hamlet and Paul hit it off famously.  Paul even got Hamlet some bit parts on some commercials. We were on our way.  We started working birthday parties, more commercials, and other fund-raising events.  Now it was time to introduce Hamlet to the marketing department.  National commercials paid big money.


The weather had turned a little cold.  It was the day Hamlet was to go in for his interview with my company.  The only solution was to take him to my cubical until his appointment time.  I brought his bottles and blankets.  I prayed he would be quiet.  Everything was going great.  I was working and Hamlet was napping.  Only I could hear the soft snoring that was going on under my desk.


"Jane, you better get ready, it is almost time for the staff meeting.  Get it together girl."  My co-workers casual banging with his ring on my cubical wall was all it took to wake up Hamlet.  A squeak, just loud enough to wake up my little bundle of delight.  Hamlet weighed in about nine pounds and stood seven inches tall.  I quickly stuffed one this bottles in his mouth.  He started making the smacking noise.  It took just a few seconds before my cubical was full of on lookers.  My boss came down the aisle.  She pushed everyone aside as she stepped past them.


"What in the world is this?'  A very stern look of disapproval came across her face.  Her black eyebrows looked like a bird’s wings meeting just above her eyes.  "We are all pet lovers, but this is not bringing a pet to workday.  Who is responsible for this?"


"I am," I said.  "He has an appointment upstairs and it was too cold to leave him in the car.


She asked. "He has an appointment upstairs?  You think I am an idiot?  You really expect me to believe you?"


"He has an appointment with Hodges in marketing at eleven.  That is usually when I take my morning break.  I was going to go down and get him, at least that was the plan.  It just turned to cold."  I was trying to explain.  While I was explaining I handed my boss a baby bottle.   Then I took a deep breath and positioned her arm while I placed Hamlet in the crook of her elbow.  She offered it to Hamlet.  Hamlet smacked and smiled.  I actually heard an "Awe" come from the crowd now overflowing from my cubical.  My boss looked at me and decided I had made the story up, so I had an excuse to bring my piglet to work.


"I am going to call your bluff, Jane.  I am going to take Hamlet for his appointment.  You stay here.  Everyone else, get back to work."


I was so nervous.  I waited and waited.  I think everyone in the department was wondering what happened to Hamlet.  I am sure the dear heavenly father was wondering why the comptroller’s office were all praying for a seven-pound piglet.  Maybe not, but it sure seemed like that is what was happening.


The staff meeting was called.   We all went into the conference room.  My boss waited for everyone to be seated.  "Hamlet got the part.  Jane, I will never doubt you again."  The whole room clapped.  His career and mine were safe.  Hamlet had arrived.


Hamlet and The Plumber


I once had a plumber show up in pink jeans and a pink shirt. He was over six feet tall with a beard. His fingernails were painted pink to match his lip stick. I have some very dear friend who are Gay, but this guy took my breath away. He was a Nelly and wanted everyone to know it. He had the swish in his walk and an I dare you to say anything attitude.  He talked a lot with his painted fingernail hands twirling through the air like gay flags saying look at me.


He made it very plain from the git-go that he was proud of being a Queen. He also had no tolerance for my opinion of what the problem was with my plumbing. He insisted on being shown how to get under the house immediately. I tried to warn him/her that there might be a problem.  It was clear he/she did not think I had a brain.  So, I led "the plumber" to the opening which was very small and "her" fanny was not going to fit. The plumber insisted I was not to worry he would manage.


After disregarding my warning, I shut my mouth and just watched. He got stuck. I had forgotten Hamlet was in the yard.  He heard screaming and came running around the corner of the house.  My potbellied pig Hamlet fell in love when he saw that big pink fanny just sitting there.


Hamlet had been ousted to the backyard until after his appointment with the vet because he wanted to love everything and everybody in the house. He squealed with pure delight and headed straight to claim his bride.  He was squealing, the plumber was yelling under the house as Hamlet kept stomping all over his legs with his hooves.  Hamlet only weighed 10 pounds so could not reach his trapped bounty.  Hamlet was stomping all over his own little corkscrew and squealing even louder.


I was on the back deck, laughing my head off. Just as Hamlet had tugged on those pink jeans just enough to show a crack... I rescued the plumber. He or She huffed and puffed her way all the back to her pink truck and drove away. The landlord sent a very skinny plumber to fix my problem. He also made me promise to post signs about my attack pig.


It was not long after that my husband passed away.  Hamlet became a pet more than anything else for a long while.  I finally gave up the tiny house in the country and went to live with my mother.  She also lived in a larger house in the country.  She lived next door to her older sister.  My mother was also an animal lover so my dogs, cats, and one sweet potbellied pig were all welcome.  Additional fencing was required.


I had gotten a call for Hamlet to do something in a commercial that required some sort of costume.  When my aunt heard about it, she got excited.  She was an excellent seamstress.  She immediately went to work on Hamlet's wardrobe.  He even had a top hat, coat, and tails, black shinny boots (with rubber on the bottom), the whole nine yards.  My mother and my aunt became infatuated with this little bundle of total joy named Hamlet.



A Christmas in July Pageant


Many small churches and charities have fundraisers.  Mine was no different.  The church board was headed by a noblewoman named Gladys who thought it was her duty to make sure the Christmas in July pageant went off without a hitch.


July in Texas is hot.  Poor Gladys was from Nebraska so poor dear, she just did not understand. She had theatrical experience and just knew we could put on a great show.  We finally got her to agree no one had to wear red wool anything.


Auditions were held and several of the kids in Sunday school were selected to perform different things from playing the fiddle to playing the harmonica.


The night of the pageant we had one exceptionally talented little girl who could sing like an angel.  Problem... she could only sing to Hamlet.  She had been at my house while I was babysitting for the Sunday school class.  She fell in love with Hamlet, my 15-pound potbellied pig.  Hamlet loved attention any time he could get it.  He had entertained the kids all afternoon.  He had untied their shoes, played fetch, and of course, plopped down instantly when someone hinted, he was going to get a belly rub.  Tonia, our little angel started singing to him.  His tail went crazy. He loved her voice.  He followed her everywhere that day.  That is how I discovered her beautiful voice in the first place.


I wanted Tonia to try out for the pageant, but she had such stage fright all 3 attempts had failed.  Gladys was beside herself.  I suggested that we have Hamlet accompany her on stage.  Gladys was absolutely horrified at the idea that a pig would be in the pageant.  So, the rest of the board decided if we had a choice.  If we wanted Tonia, we had to have Hamlet.  Now, no convincing worked when the others tried to convince Gladys that Hamlet was a nice pig.  So, we decided to just keep it a secret.


I put a Christmas hat on Hamlet.  Tonia went out on stage and looked like a dear in headlights.  Hamlet and I were at stage right.  Gladys was just ahead of us.  Suddenly, Hamlet wiggled out of my arms and squealed up to Gladys.  He nuzzled the back of her leg, she squealed, Tonia was on stage and squealed, then Hamlet really squealed as I caught him. Gladys was sprawled out on the floor now, just sitting there trying to catch her breath.  I grabbed Hamlet and told Tonia to sing to him to calm him down.


The whole audience stop as they watched Tonia sing to stage right and then Hamlet slowly came out.  His tail was wagging, and he was


 walked all the way to the center of the stage where Tonia was standing.  No one uttered a sound.  Hamlet just looked up at her and listened to that wonderful voice.  As the song came to an end Tonia squatted down and stroked Hamlet. He nuzzled her.  The entire audience said, Awe...He had learned all about bowing from other performances.  He bowed and snorted then turned to Tonia.  She started humming so he would follow her off stage.


By that time Gladys had recovered and watched the whole thing from backstage.  When it was all over, she asked if Hamlet could perform in a fundraiser, she was doing for her ladies’ club. 


Hamlet or Spook


It was the first week of October. Plans were already being made for the Halloween party at a nearby senior citizen center. Hamlet had been invited as more of a guest than an entertainer. This meant a new costume.


He loved pumpkins too much to have him ware one.  He would eat it before the party got started.


Going as a Pig in a Blanket might not be a good idea... someone might say the "B" word or make him think he was anything other than a star.


We even thought about turning a little box with pumpkins and hay into a ride.  Hamlet did not like that.  He just wants to either eat or play with the pumpkins and like walking on his own.


We had a small practice party and invited some of Hamlet's pig friends. It was great fun. Adjustments were made to Hamlet's costume after we watched him move around in it for a while.


My aunt was a wonderful seamstress. Several simple costumes were created but Hamlet decided on the last one, he was going to be a unicorn.


We arrived early, as usual. We were quickly ushered into a private room so Hamlet could dress. What we did not know was what was going on in the main dining hall. The senior citizens were all decked out in costumes. Punch was setup on a long table at one end of the room. In the middle of the room a woman sat in the center of a horseshoe type half circle created with chairs. She was decked out with a wrap around her head and a long flowing gown. It also looked like the jolly green giant's cuff link was sitting on the table before her. The lights had been dimmed except the one on a side table next to the woman.


She began to chant and moan as she waved her hands over this big glass ball. The music was soft but eerie. She had asked for silence as she wait for direction from the spirit world.


I did not realize that Hamlet had gotten out. He quietly moved around the room without making a sound. Everyone was watching the woman. Hamlet came up behind and under the woman's chair and softly brushed past her leg. She suddenly gasp. "I feel a presence." Then Hamlet made his way around the horseshoe (under the chairs) and brushed each occupant on the back of the leg. The gasps traveled with him. The Psychic gazed into the glass ball and asked the spirit to answer yes or no. "Are you female?" She asked. (nothing happened) Hamlet was still wondering around under the chairs. I could not go get him without interrupting the proceedings.


 He was so quiet. The carpeted floor helped eliminate any clicking of his hooves. "Are you a male?" She asked. There was again silence, but Hamlet had made his way back to the chair where the physic was sitting. He had discovered her purse sitting beside the chair. His snout touched the CD player running just inside. When the music stopped... everyone gasps.


"Please," she was trembling, and her voice was shaking. "Please communicate with us." She picked up the glass ball just as Hamlet decided to lick the back of her leg. She screamed, as the ball went flying into the audience. Several people caught it and immediately tossed it to someone else... as if it were alive and being controlled by a hidden spirit. It was finally returned to the center table as everyone backed away from it.


Everyone had a short scream as the commotion built. Which of course scared poor Hamlet. He suddenly squealed and started running around the room looking for a place to hide. I then tried to catch him as the psychic gasp, "What is that?"


You are the psychic I said, this is the spook you woke up. You have been talking to a pig dressed as a unicorn. Didn't you know?


Everyone started laughing and Hamlet once again stole the show. The poor woman was so relieved to know she had not actually contacted a spirit. Hamlet got his share of belly rubs and all the pacemakers went back to normal.


We found out later that the slide show the lady had prepared never got shown.  It was full of ghosts she was going to project out of the crystal ball.  She never got around to it.  Like I said, Hamlet stole the show.


Hamlet and Quack Quack


Hamlet loved playing with my dogs in the yard and even the cats when they were out. But no one wanted to curl up with him. He was a snuggle bunny in a pig’s body.


Now, I did have a cat named Tom Thumb because he had too many toes. He loved Hamlet. Whenever Tom Thumb was trying to impress one of us, he would tease a field mouse into the house. Now, Hamlet was a real mouse catcher. He would kill the mouse and walk away. Tom Thumb would lay by the mouse as if he was the hero. This worked on me a few times until I witnessed the routine in action. Tom Thumb would let Hamlet snuggle with him on occasion, but not when anyone was looking. Tom Thumb got out one night and the coyotes got him off the front porch.


I heard the cry but was too late to save him. Hamlet was very blue. I could tell (this was before Idabell came to live with us) he needed someone to be his buddy. The dogs would run away because his hooves hurt when he tried to climb on their backs. The hooves were his problem. I put booties on him and that helped. It also helped him cross slick floors.


I went to a flea market one day and found a beautiful lamb. I bought him and brought him home. He instantly took to Hamlet and the feeling was returned. They romped and played inside and outside for hours. Then they would curl up together in a little shed I had put in the backyard. I only left them out when I was home. I did not trust the coyote situation.


Things went along swimmingly until the day the lamb was snatched right out of the backyard by a neighbor’s dog. He was killed instantly. I was crying and trying to console Hamlet when there was a knock at the door. It was my sister with a baby duck. Someone's pet duck had babies and they were going to have to move or something, so she volunteered to find a home for the babies. Quack-Quack arrived. I called her that because she never just Quacked, she always, repeated herself.


Now, you must understand I had a potbellied pig, a duckling, 3 dogs, 4 cats, and two parrots in my living room the day my new mother-in-law arrived. Brutus (a 250-pound great Dane) was on his sofa in the den taking a nap.


She was my husband's father's new bride. She came without calling first, without notice of any kind. I did not even know they had gotten back from the honeymoon yet. Low and behold the doorbell rang and everyone stopped and looked at me. I am alone in the house with my zoo. And we were having such a good time too.


I answered the door without opening the screen. I did not want to take a chance someone would get out. I recognized her from the picture we had from their Vegas wedding. I told her that' "the animals were in the house so if you would”. That is all I had time to say. She opened the screen door and came inside.


Well, the welcoming committee went to work on our new guest. Tilly, my husband's African Gray parrot, flew over and sat on her shoulder, then George the Yellow-Headed parrot landed on top of her head. The dogs instantly ran over to lick her hands and Baby Girl even grabbed her by the wrist and lead her to the sofa. Winston jumped on her which pushed her down on the sofa. Then two cats meowed at her as if to say we were going to sit there lady. They did not move they just stared at her. The real problem came when Quack-Quack came in and started yelling at her and Hamlet came in and tried started untying her shoe.


All this greeting took place within 90 seconds after she came in the door. She gasps for breath. Her eyes were about to pop out of her head. I was trying to get control of the situation when she suddenly jumped up. I said, "Please, give me a minute."


She would not hear of it. She started to run but could not. She was blocked. You would have thought this was the only Indian and the wagons had surrounded her. About that time Tilly yelled out... "Brutus". Instantly, our great Dane jumped over the back of the sofa and landed right beside her sending two cats scattered to the floor. Now, if you remember, Brutus is cross-eyed. He sees two of everything. He kept twitching his head back and forth trying to figure out which screaming lady was the real one. The poor thing was in shock.  The lady was in shock, not Brutus.


I clapped my hands real loud, and everything stopped. I held up my arm up and Tilly landed on it. I yelled, "George. Go Home." George flew back to his perch. I pointed at the back door and the dogs, including Brutus one by one walked quietly out the back through the doggy door. The cats went under the sofa. "I said I would introduce you, but I think you have met enough of my children." She looked down at Hamlet and said, "And what about your"...she paused. Then cleared her throat and said, Pig and your... another pause... Duck?"


I said, "It is OK, they don't mind." She looked at me like I was crazy. I said in a nice voice, "You should have called, I ...pause (thinking fast) would have made some coffee cake for us. Let me make some coffee." She bent down to try and retie her shoe. Hamlet looked up at her and gave her a lick on the back of her hand. Quack Quack waddled over and introduced herself again. I saw the woman let out a tiny smile. Hamlet caught it too. He instantly flopped over for his belly rub. She looked at me.


I said, "It is how we initiate all new members of the family. You must rub the pigs belly." Without saying a word, she smiled and did. Hamlet smiled. The lady signed. Quack Quack again introduced herself and stretched her head up so she could be stroked too.


After about 5 minutes, Hamlet had won the day. Bernice finally told me her name. I chatted with her for a while and then she got ready to leave. I did remind her that in the South it is best to call first to let someone know you are coming. Just in case the welcoming committee gets out of hand. I guess they do not do that in New York. Poor thing was a Yankee... I should have known... she just did not know any better. I really am just joking about that. That is something my grandmother would have said. To her, you were from Texas or you were a Yankee. No, matter. The lucky lady is in the South now.


She came back the next day to get pictures of Hamlet and Quack-Quack so she could tell the girls at the bridge club all about my welcoming committee. She called first. Hamlet and Quack Quack greeted her properly. She sat on the sofa and rubbed Hamlet’s belly... stroked Quack Quack's head and then took pictures.


It was not long after that the Coyotes got Quack-Quack. Hamlet was beside himself with grief. I finally got a toy duck. He carried it everywhere. He slept with it, and it had to go with him on all commercial gigs and all parties. I just called it Hamlet's Quack-Quack.



Idabel’s Wedding Day



It was Idabel’s wedding day.  Last-minute preparations were being made.  Her adopted mom could not have done more for her.  Idabel’s aunt, her mom's sister, had made the wedding gown her mom had designed.  She was going to wear a baby's breath wreath holding a small veil to cover her head.


Now, everyone knew that Idabel’s mom and her aunt were remarkably close sisters (and not just because they lived next door to each other) and loved each other very much they argued about almost everything.  Today was no different.  The arguments had started early while they were on the phone.  Idabel’s mom hung up the phone and was mumbling something about more bows on the gown.  Idabell had just gotten out of her perfumed bubble bath when she heard a loud crash.  I left Idabell with a towel and ran to the hall.


My mother, Idabel’s mom, had fallen in the hall and hit her head.  I noticed she was unconscious.  I immediately called 911 and went back to her.  I was so scared.  My mom was 82 and her sister was 86.  These two retired ladies had been looking forward to this day for an awfully long time.


Since Idabell is my child I guess I should tell the rest of the story.  I called next door and let my cousin, Tina, know what had happened.  When the ambulance got there, they worked on mom for just a minute or two before she regained consciousness.  She kept saying she was fine.  Her age and the fact that she had hit her head made it imperative she go to the hospital.  I followed the ambulance in my car.


My aunt and cousin both arrived a few minutes later.  The ER team had ushered Mom into an exam room.  We waited and waited.  No one could tell us anything.   Three hours went by and I finally decided to demand to know something. Finally, a doctor came out.  He apologized for making us wait.


He then proceeded to inform us that Mother had suffered some brain trauma.  The hit on the head had brought on some dementia and he wanted to send her to a nursing home and put her under the care of a psychiatrist.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  I asked if we could see her.  He said what he wanted was for us to sit in his outer office and listen to his conversation with her.  Maybe you can shed some light on her delusions.


We all followed him into the outer office.  He put his figure to his lips as if to tell us to be silent.  He went inside and left the door slightly ajar.


"Now, when can I get out of here?" My mother asked in a very impatient voice.  "I have a wedding this afternoon."


"Ms. Jane," the doctor said in a soft, patient, patronizing voice, Tell me more about Idabell."


"Idabell, dear doctor, as I have explained fifty times is a pig."


Again, in the soft voice the doctor responded, "And she is getting married today?  And this happened when she was in her bubble bath?  Are you upset because she to put more bows on her dress?  Tell me, Miss Jane, have you and your sister always argued?"  He asks with an incredibly determined voice, "Have you always called your sister a pig or do you call her other names?  Does she call you names?"


"Idabell is getting married, my sister made the wedding dress.  I designed it and she made it.  I was arguing about putting more white satin bows on it when I got frustrated.  I went down the hall and did not pay attention to water that had gotten on the floor when Idabell got out of her bubble bath.  That is why I fell, Doctor."  My sister is dress maker.  Now my mother was shouting.  "My sister and I fight all the time.  I repeat, Idabell is a pig."


"Please, Miss Jane,"


"You may call me Mrs. Walker or Jane, but don't call me Miss Jane again like I'm some sort of throwback from eighteen hundred."


"Please, Mrs. Walker," the doctor continued, "Can you tell me why you think your sister is a pig?"


"Boy, have you got it all wrong.  Idabell is a pig."


"It is Idabell you do not like?  She is the bride, and you don't like her?"


"Doctor, read my lips, Idabell is a pig."


I could not stand it any longer.  I entered the room.  My aunt, cousin, and I had been laughing our heads off.  I quietly handed the doctor an invitation to the wedding.


"Doctor, there is nothing wrong with my mother.  The wedding is scheduled for 3pm this afternoon at this nursing home.  Idabell gets married twice a week to Hamlet.  They are two very well-trained pot-bellied pigs."


My mother rose from her chair, picked up her handbag, and patted the doctor on the shoulder.  "You should get out more Doc."


The wedding went off without a hitch.  The doctor showed up and shook his head in disbelief.   Idabell and Hamlet had been performing the same wedding ceremony for nursing homes across East Texas for almost a year.  My mother and aunt had found a new excitement in their retirement as wedding planners.


Developing a Phobia


Developing a phobia is quite simple when you are a pig named Hamlet.  Now, please understand; I told Hamlet (when he weighed 6 pounds) that he was 50% angel and 50% total delight.  I never told he was pork, nor once did I mention he was a pig.  I also made sure it was never mentioned in any of his reviews.  He was always referred to as "the star".


My mother and I were having breakfast out in the gazebo one morning.  My cousin, who lived next door, had come over to visit while we ate.  She had already had her morning meal with her mother, my mother's sister, earlier.  My aunt was on the riding lawn mower mowing our little 5 acres.  My mom did not have on her hearing aids.  The roar of the lawn mower made it even more difficult to communicate with my mother that morning.


The gazebo was in the middle of a fenced in area and Hamlet was playing and rooting around the yard.  My mother had asked my cousin what she had for breakfast.  The timing for this conversation is the key element here.  My cousin shouted over the roar of the lawn mower to make sure Mother could hear her.   She was listing the menu and shouted the word "Bacon".  At that instant Hamlet let out a squeal that could be heard all over the neighborhood.


We all instantly ran see what in the world the problem was.  He had rooted up a fire ant bed.  He had fire ants all over, inside, and out of his snout and mouth.  We washed him off, made the paste with the meat tenderizer we had and slowly brought things to a calm.  I rubbed his belly while the tenderizer took out the sting.  We did not know then that the word bacon (from that time forward) would bring back the memory of the experience instantly and send Hamlet into squealing hysteria.


A couple days later Hamlet and Idabell were scheduled to have yet another wedding.  It was to be held at a senior citizen center not far away.  When we arrived, Hamlet and Idabell (the bride and groom) were in harnesses as they made their way around to greet the members of the audience.  Also, at that time a woman was being checked into the center by her daughter and a man was being checked in by his kids as well.  The woman had refused to say a word to anyone during the enrollment process.  The administrator had used all her talents of persuasion trying to get her to respond.  Hamlet of course thought they were there to see him so greeted them both with a snort and a wagging tail.

The lady reached down and started rubbing his tummy.  He instantly fell to the ground to make it easier for her to get to the whole thing.  He loved tummy rubs.  Now, you must understand the woman was in a wheelchair and so was the man.  Neither one had said a word to each other.  They had been there for a couple hours yet not even a Hello or head nod between them.   The man watched the lady scratch Hamlet and slowly rolled his wheelchair over to them.  He reached down, joined in the tummy rub and said, "Aren't you the cattiest little piece of bacon I've ever seen."  Hamlet instantly jumped up and went into total panic mode.  He started squealing and running everywhere.  The woman took her handbag and bashed the man over the head with it and shouted, “How could you say that to that sweet baby?"  Total chaos followed as we chased Hamlet, took away the women's weapon, and rescued both Hamlet and the poor man.


Later, the man and woman watched the ceremony in total silence with their wheelchairs next to each other.  When the snout kiss came, they both looked at each other and just said, "Awe."  Apologies followed and a friendship was born.  By the time Idabell and Hamlet got to the wedding cake all was forgiven.  From that point forward no one ever even whispered the word, "B", in Hamlet's presence.  Maybe I should have told him he was a pig when he was little, nah he would not have believed me.  He knew he was a star.


Peek a Boo, I See Me


All creatures react differently the first time they see their reflection. When I first saw myself in a mirror, I screamed my head off.  That kid in the wall did everything I did and would not stop.  That kid in the wall screamed just as loud as I did.  What did I do?  I hid and peeked out.  My new foster mom gently took me by the hand and lead me back to the mirror.  I saw another her there too. My mouth flew open, and my eyes got wide.  She said, "That is you”.  I grinned and the kid grinned.  I suddenly got excited.  I put my hands in front of my face and peeked out from between my fingers and said, "Peek a Boo, I see me."  I laughed... the kid laughed.  This was fun.


I look back on the experience now and remember my mother always made me look at myself before any disciplinary action.  My grandmother made me look at myself whenever I could not make up my mind about what to do.  She would say, "That person right there looking back at you is the one who has to live with whatever you decide.  There may be other people; but the person in the mirror is someone you live with every day."  The practice of looking at myself before making decisions helped me through many, many, life altering decisions.


Through the years I loved to see children and animals also discover themselves for the first time.  Becoming self-aware was one thing but to see proof of your own existence was something else.  My sister's first sight of herself made her laugh and point at the kid in the mirror and then at herself.  She danced with the reflection she saw.  Then while Grandmother sang the Patty Cake song my sister sat down in front of the mirror and played patty cakes with her reflection.


Once I asked Grandmother what she saw when she investigated the mirror?  She would grin and bat her eyelashes at her reflection and always say, "You are pretty foxy to be retired."  According to the cartoons of the day a fox was sly and sneaky.  I had no idea at the time what retired was but according to my grandmother it meant she could spend lots of time with me.


I asked my mother once what she saw in the mirror?  She would look at her reflection, pluck at her hair line and say, "It is time to get out the peroxide.  It is time to become a natural blonde again."  I asked my daddy the same question. He rarely ever looked at himself in the mirror except to see if all his clothes lined up.  He had a burr haircut that was started when he went to his barber the morning after a party and the barber was still drunk. My father came home with a burr and it stayed for many years, but he did change his barber.  When I asked Daddy what he saw in the mirror he would always say, "Someone who needs a haircut."  All in all, humans all react to their reflection according to how they felt about themselves.


My cat was too clever... she looked behind the mirror trying to find the other cat.  I have seen birds peck at the side mirrors on cars.  As if to try and warn the other bird that they needed to escape while they could.  I have seen other creatures discover themselves including a squirrel in my own yard.  He had been raised by a cat and did not learn he was a squirrel until he saw his own reflection in a puddle of water.


I had thought on all these things as I tried to prepare Hamlet to see himself for the first time.  He was to do a TV commercial or public service spot about teen suicide.  Hamlet had to get it right.  The spot was about a kid who saw herself as a pig because her mother had continually criticized her about her weight.  Her mother called her a pig so that is what she saw when she looked into the mirror.  It was an important commercial and I wanted Hamlet to do it.  Now, Hamlet had to dress up like a girl.  All in pink and fluffy netting covered him.


I was so afraid he would run from the reflection.  How would I help him understand he was seeing himself?  Now, you must understand... I never told Hamlet he was a pig.  He was always my "Delightful Hamlet."  I am sure he knew he was a "delightful" whatever that was.  He also knew his name and identified with it and all the attention "Hamlet" got.


Hamlet loved the spotlight any time he could get it. He always had to be the center of attention.  He was sure everyone was there to see him. I was worried he would not like dressing like a girl.  No problems there... it was just another costume to him.  It was time.  I had a full-length mirror along one wall in the living room. I opened the door and let him inside.  Hamlet was not sure of what he saw in the mirror.  He grunted and looked back at me.


The cameramen got ready as Hamlet saw himself for the first time.  He did not squeal... he squeaked, walked slowly up to the other pig, and kissed it.  Needless to say, he did not get the part.  He was thrilled at being a "delightful" Hamlet, he thought that was wonderful.  He even squeaked a little when he saw his tail wiggling in the mirror.  After that, Hamlet never passed a mirror that he did not stop and kiss the "delightful" staring back at him.


When you look in the mirror do it with love.  What you see was created by God and is loved by God. Make sure you tell yourself that and pass the secret along to anyone else looking in the mirror, especially a child.


Hamlet went on to play in a couple of movies and a few more commercials.  He is gone now but his memory brings a warm feeling to me.  I hope you have enjoyed meeting a hero I called Hamlet.

© 2022 texasjane

Author's Note

I have no idea how or why the lines are with this story.

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Added on January 27, 2022
Last Updated on January 27, 2022
Tags: pets



Hawkins, TX

I a retired Texas widow. I live alone with two dogs. I love to look for the humor in almost everything. I like to pass along a giggle when I can. Wisdom is also fun to pass along. I like to pro.. more..