Sunday, May 03, 2009

Swine Flu Musings

While driving I was thinking about Swine Flu. Not in the sense that I was actually concerned about contracting the disease or my family contracting it, but in the sense of the name. Here's how the conversation in my head went.

Why Swine Flu? Why not Pig Flu? What is the difference between a pig and a swine? My grandfather would be very disappointed in me if he knew I didn't know the difference between the two. If he were still alive I'd ask him. But I know how the conversation would go...

Me: Papa, what is the difference between a swine and a pig?

Papa: Why, dummy, (one of my grandfather's favorite terms of endearment - right up there with well, stupid) a pig is blah, blah, blah (read that I have no clue what he would have said) and a swine is blah, blah, blah. Then you have your hog, which is blah, blah blah. And your sow, which is a female pig. The boar is the male pig. And the offspring are piglets.

This whole little interchange with myself made me smile, chuckle and miss my Papa. It also made me remember a similar discussion we had while sitting around the table one Sunday about proper terminology of cows. You've got your calf (baby), heifer (young cow that has not produced offspring), steer (castrated male), bull (non-castrated male, and cow (offspring bearing aged female). I don't remember what a female is called after calf bearing age. Well, it is probably called dinner, but you know what I mean. And I don't remember what a young male is called prior to being classified as a bull or steer.

Oh well, at least some of it stuck. But when I see a field with cattle, I don't say to the children, "oh, look, there are some heifers, steers, bulls, and cows!" I simply say, "look at the cows," and assume they know the cattle aren't all truly females of calf bearing age or that they really don't care.

I miss those wonderful afternoons sitting around the table talking with my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. It is amazing the things I learned and the wonderful family memories I have.

Miss you Papa,

PS So I guess this really wasn't about swine full after all. And in case you are wondering a pig is a young swine and a hog is an older, heavier swine - well that is what I found when I googled it anyway...


Cici said...

Could anyone have been more politically incorrect. I don't get the impression that you were damaged for life or that your self esteem was wounded to badly.

Jenn said...

No I was not damaged in the least by his least than endearing terms of endearment :) I so miss those conversations around that dining room table. They were truly the best.