I Remember When . .
The Hog Expert
The story of how Raymond Shockley became known as "Big Hog"
I don't remember the first time I met Raymond Shockley, but I will never forget him or his family. Raymond, Lavita and their three children, J. R., Betty & "Moody" Shockley proved to be good and loyal friends to our family when we were growing up at Horntown.
At the time of my story they were living on their old home place a mile east and a mile north of Horntown or vice versa. Raymond was farming and had a few cows, chickens and some pigs. One of these pigs was a large boar hog and it seems that this old boar hog had turned mean. It had become a renegade and acted like it wanted to attack anyone who got in it's pen. One day it broke out of it's pen and got after one of the kids and could have hurt them real bad, but Raymond ran it off down into the creek bottom.
Now this is where the story gets good (or bad, depending on who you are in this story.). Raymond came by the store later that morning telling about his problem with the pig and Lavita was going to shoot that old pig if he didn't get rid of it. She wasn't about to let it harm one of her babies.
One of the men who will remain nameless to protect the guilty, suggested that he just load it up and take it to the Holdenville sale barn on Friday. Raymond told him it wouldn't be that easy because this old hog is so big it pretty much does what it wants to do. Well, I guess this fellow thought he was some sort of expert when it came to hogs, because he remarked that "He had never seen a hog he couldn't handle". So he enlisted several of the Horntown "Regulars" (Farmers) to go back with he and Raymond and he would show them how to catch and load a hog. I wanted to go but my dad believed Raymond's story about the hog being mean and I could tell he didn't have much confidence in the "Hog Expert".
If my memory serves correctly, 4 or 5 grown men left with Raymond and the "Hog Expert" to catch that old pig and load him up to take to the sale barn. This was about mid-morning and by noon we still hadn't heard a word about the hog catching adventure. Along about 3 or 4 PM, some of the men came by the store and they were laughing and grinning from ear to ear. They couldn't wait to tell their story.
It seems that when they arrived at the Shockley farm, the Hog Expert promptly began to give the others orders to follow him as they looked for the old boar hog down in the creek bottom. Somehow or other as they were looking for the boar, the old boar found them.
Coming up from behind the men in a menacing manner, that old boar hog had all the men up a large pecan tree in just a short time. The fellow telling the story said they were up there the better part of 3 - 4 hours. The Hog Expert seemed to be in a daze and kept mumbling something about "that's the biggest hog I believe I have ever seen in my life." It seems that was about the only advice he could think of.
Finally the old hog grew bored (no pun intended) with his quarry and wandered off to lay in the shade by the creek. One by one the men climbed down out of the tree and made their way back to their pickups and left none the worse for wear. We didn't see the "Hog Expert" at the store for several days, but the story made it's rounds through the community. I think he failed to see any humor in the story at all, at least he never brought it up and always left when the talk turned to hogs.
I don't remember how Raymond finally corralled that old hog, nor how he was able to load him in his pickup, but he did. Because the next Friday he came by the store and had that old boar hog in the back of his 49 Ford pickup with the old wooden sideboards and if I'm lying, I'm dying, that old hog's back was as tall as those sideboards and he was as long as the bed of his pickup. The hog had kind of a defeated look on his face as though he knew his days were numbered. He was on his way to the Sale Barn!
All the farmers that were at the store that day came out and climbed up on the side of that old pickup that was almost setting down on the rear axle. They all agreed with the Hog Expert's opinion. . . . . ."That's the biggest hog I believe I've ever seen in my life." And from that day on Raymond Shockley was called "Big Hog Shockley."
For a Cheese Burger and a large Cherry Coke from the Queen Bee in Holdenville, Oklahoma, I'll tell you who the Hog Expert was. You'd get a big kick out the story if you only knew! If you can find one of those farmers they would love to tell you and laugh again at the retelling of this story.
Jerry Summy, Class of '62