Every year, I look forward to the annual craft fair in Norco, California.
The craft fair starts the day after Thanksgiving and draws huge crowds. Today was no different. Hubby dropped me off at the entrance while I scurried off anxious to see all of the wonderful handcrafts displayed in an old chicken coop, a big barn, and the farm’s grounds.
Mmm. The arroma of freshly baked cookies wafted from the barn where there were more artisans selling their wares.
But as I walked past each table, nothing popped out at me. Nothing begged me to buy it and take it home. I felt a bit let down, then hubby found me in the crowd and we strolled the grounds featuring more crafters. There was everything from beaded jewelry to wooden toys to handsewn aprons. I desperately wanted something to say, “Buy me! Take me home!” Nothing.
…something caught my eye. Something large. Something with ears, a snout, and a tail that waggled like a happy dog. It was a pig! A big, beautiful, black potbellied pig. And his name was Stuart. I had never actually petted a pig before, let alone put my cheek next to one. But Stuart was friendly and loving all of the attention he was getting from me and other passersbys.
Stuart was a very popular pig!
I was beaming. Smiling. I whipped out my camera and started clicking.
Then his owner, Curt Mills, of Corona, California, explained how he had rescued Stuart three and a half years ago along with Stuart’s mother from an abusive breeder. Sadly, Stuart’s father didn’t make it.
I was captivated by Stuart’s story. Ping! My writer’s mind kicked in and I soaked up every word as he spoke of how he found a happy home for Stuart’s mother, and how Stuart likes to hop in the shower with him every morning for a scrub down with a bristly bath brush. And get this, Stuart is learning how to play the piano. Yes! Play the piano! I’m telling ya, this is one smart pig!
As a kid growing up on a farm in the Ozarks of Arkansas, Mr. Mills’ parents wouldn’t allow him to give their pigs names or become attached to them as pets. So, he never imagined himself ever owning a pig let alone two pigs. Yep. Stuart has a sister at home. Her name is Bella.
You see, thanks to Mr. Mills and his wife, Susie, Stuart really does have a wonderful life!
Before leaving, I wished Stuart a Merry Christmas, then hubby and I headed back to the big barn to buy our baked cookies. And all the way back to the truck, all I could do was talk about Stuart and what a terrific pig he was.
As for the craft fair. It was the first time in about 10 years that I didn’t buy anything. (Ornaments made by Susie Mills starring Stuart were sold out.) But I realized I was going home with something far more special. I had met one terrific potbellied pig that I’ll never forget!
Merry Christmas, Stuey!