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A Surprise for Mama

We lived on a farm with a barnyard full of animals when I was young, but moved to a small subdivision where no farm animals were allowed when I was twelve. Mama often talked about how much she missed the farm and the animals, but sadly accepted that she would not have that life again.

On that first Christmas Eve at the new house, our family gathered for our traditional family dinner and gift exchange. Most of the family was in the kitchen when my brother burst through the door, breathless and wild eyed.

“Mama,” he shouted, “you’d better come outside. Your present is in my truck, and I’m a little worried. Everybody, you all should come, too. We may need your help.”

“What in the world have you done, Billy,” Mama asked as she dried her hands and hurriedly untied her apron. The family followed them, watching Billy wringing his hands, and nervously wiping his forehead.

He grabbed a bucket by the steps and thrust it at our mother. “Take this corn,” he said. “It might help. Now, Mama was starting to look very concerned, but she took the bucket and we rushed toward his camper pickup truck in the driveway.

“Get ready,” Billy said as he put his hand on the latch of the tailgate.

“Everybody, be quiet,” he commanded as we clustered around. “Mama, get the corn ready. It’s okay, it’s okay,” he repeated calmly, as he swung down the tailgate.

Inside the back of the truck was a bed of fresh hay, and nestled there was a family of five black and white pigs, stone pigs, all with red bows around their necks. Mama was ready with the corn, but dropped it on the ground when she saw the little spectacle before her. Mama started laughing, and we all joined in as we stared at the stone pigs in the hay.

Billy hoisted the pigs out one at a time and handed them to family members. Mama directed them to a spot by the front porch where she arranged Mama and Papa and their three little piggies carefully, then stood back to admire the stone collection before her.

Those little pigs have stood sentinel by the front door for many years now, and we never fail to smile when we pass by and remember how my brother brought a little of the farm to Mama for Christmas and created a very happy memory for the entire family.