The Runaway Pig

By Ralph Tarr in Animals & Nature, Community, People

Many years ago three Harriston farmers, Norman Dowling, Tom Richardson, and Walter Tarr, shared a travelling boar. He had floppy ears, crooked tusks, and a humped back. Everyone called him Old Humpy; everyone that is except Norm’s daughter Ila Gerrie. She was the farmer in the family and always referred to him as The Gentleman Pig.

As the years passed Humpy got tired of life on the farm – all work and no pay. One Saturday he had had enough and lit out for greener pastures. He wandered the fields, waded the river, and soon was having a whee of a time rooting through gardens and flower beds with women chasing him.

Then he headed right down Main Street, hustled passed Murray Siddal’s Meat Market, and looked in the window of Dorothy’s Hat Shoppe. He had never seen anything like that before!

Then the trouble started. Someone called the cops. Chief Ted Zimmer was soon on the scene and in hot pursuit. This was before tazers were invented so there was only one way to handle an unruly culprit – tackle him, hog tie him, and drag him off to the hooscow. Chief Zimmer’s experience in this handling was soon completed and piggy captured. Trouble was, they didn’t want Humpy in lock-up at the town hall, so the holding pen at Harriston Packers was used as a temporary jail cell. Poor old Humpy spent a long lonely night in the last pen on death row. This was getting serious fast!

Sunday morning Lloyd Ferguson from the Hog Producers’ yard came in looking for the owner of the pig that had caused such a ruckus. That pig was not to be released to its rightful owner until arrangements were made to pay to have big Ted’s police uniform cleaned. It didn’t take a lot of Dick Tracy work to figure it out.

Norm Dowling’s son Joe had a truck, and his son-in-law Jim Gerrie worked at the Packers so he had a key. That hog simply disappeared into thin air. This is one of the few cases that Chief Zimmer never cracked. It seems a shame that a pig heading out for a night on the town would leave a tarnish on the reputation of the local police chief.

Many years have come and gone since Humpy wandered from the farm. Some day when we are old men (which seems to be happening much too fast) Terry Richardson will be asking me if I remember the day Old Humpy went to town.

Terry Richardson and author Ralph Tarr are local farmers and both are sons of Humpy’s original owners