As previously mentioned I did a presentation in Red Deer a few weekends back, in attendance were a number of friends including my best friend, Lynda Brown.
At the end of the presentation, the Club presented me with a card and a lovely gift-wrapped box. It is not unusual for Clubs to present a ‘thank you’ gift, but this time, they insisted I open the box in front of everyone. Hmmm…my ‘Spidey Sense’ should have been tingling, but I was blissfully unaware.
I opened the box and found 8 of the tackiest napkin holders you have ever seen. They are wooden cut out pig shapes with a hole in the center, each about the size of a cigarette box. I had been HAD!! See, these pigs are not new to me; in fact I have been in possession of them for various parts of the last 12 or so years.
It all started in November of 1994, Breezy and I won 4 of them as a prize for Group 2nd at a dog show. My buddy Lynda and her Sheltie, Joey also won 4 for a Group 2nd in their Group (Siberians are in the ‘Working Group’, Shetland Sheepdogs in the ‘Herding Group’). Lynda and I spend the rest of the day jokingly trying to give our 4 to each other – after all, you can’t properly entertain with only 4 napkin holders!
That Christmas I received a beautifully gift wrapped box from Lynda and inside were her 4 napkin holders. For her birthday the following year she received all 8 ‘piggies’.
Over the years 'the pigs' have gone back in forth a number of times in a variety of ways. They have been housewarming gifts, get well gifts, they have suddenly appeared in gardens/birdfeeders and more.
In the winter of '03 when I was heading up to Alaska for the Iditarod I stopped and spent the night at Lynda's. The next night when I was digging in my suitcase for my toothbrush I found 8 piggies stowed away with a note that said, "One little piggie went to Market, one little piggie stayed home...but these little piggies are going to NOME!". And one did...
In 2004, I carried one of the pigs 1151 miles by dogsled from Anchorage to Nome on the Iditarod Trail. I mailed the pig back to Lynda from Nome and the remaining 7 pigs have (thanks to the help of many friends) arrived in her mailbox via countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, China and England.
When I received them back a few weeks ago, each of the pigs was sporting a brand new brand on their foot, stating the county they arrived via.
For the last 9 years Lynda and I have lived a half day away from each other and our busy lives mean that we don't talk near as much as we used to, but these 'pigs' and their journeys are reminders to each of us that no matter what is going on in our lives, we are still thinking of each other.
At the time I won them, I thought they were one of the worst prizes I had ever won; little did I know they would turn out to be one of the very best.
So now, I am again in possession of the ‘hot potatoes’ – or ‘hot piggies’. The plotting has already begun….