Home » Gate Guarding » Do You Hear Dualing Banjos?

Do You Hear Dualing Banjos?

When ye proffer the pigge, open the poke. ~ Fraser’s Magazine, 1858

Pig in a poke is an idiom as in ‘Don’t buy a pig in a poke’. If you don’t know, a poke is a sack or bag. While I’m unfamiliar with it, apparently the term poke is still in use a lot in Scotland and in certain parts of the US to describe just the sort of bag that would be useful for carrying a piglet.

Which begs the question, what sort of person would be inclined to carry a piglet around in their bag? This is how the story goes: In the Middle Ages when meat was scarce, folks would go to the market to buy a pig (piglet) in poke (bag), take it home unopened, only to discover they’d been tricked with a dog or cat instead (thus the expression: Don’t let the cat out of the bag – really).  A pig that’s in a poke might turn out to be no pig at all.

After 13 months in Texas, I’ve seen a whole lot of  pigs, including some pretty scary pigs on a poke! I’ve seen javalinas (which actually are a peccary, not pig), feral pigs (wild boars, wild hogs), pig cookies, pigs in a blanket, and pigs in a pig. The only pigs we haven’t see are regular domesticated farm pigs.
Now a days, whenever I think about pigs, I think about the wild guys of Lantern 16 and our very unusual jungle-like gate between Nixon and Smiley.
For weeks and weeks the topic was pigs.

I would guess most of you have had pigs in a blanket. They’re usually hot dogs or little sausages wrapped in croissant dough (unless you’re at Denny’s, where they’re wrapped in  pancakes). Pigs in a blanket are kind of a church potluck hors d’oeuvres.

You might think a pig in a pig is an expectant sow, but that would be lots of pigs in a pig.  At least in Texas, a singular pig in a pig is a sausage or hot dog wrapped in bacon, which is still a lot of pig. They do love their meat down here!

There are several million feral pigs in Texas and a very large, noisy herd of them lived right behind our RV at our second jungly gate. They proved to be a daily conversation starter.

Having  them running around behind the RV was one thing. Taking the back roads to the post office in Smiley was a little like a scene from Deliverance.

I asked the guys why there were so many pigs on a poke (fence posts). They didn’t seem to know. In all fairness, many of them were from Louisiana and some from Mississippi, where it’s likely things other than pigs are placed on pokes.

Below you’ll find a few of their answers:

Don’t know, why do they put  pigs on a poke?

I got this a lot. Everyone thought it was a riddle. 😀

Other answers:

Probably was just catfish. They grow ’em real big down here.

Well, shoot, it’s just a time honored Texas tradition: pure sun-dried hide tannin’!

Y’all aren’t from around here, are ya? That’s just plain ‘ole bored rednecks for ya.

I leave you with these inspirational words from John Heywood:

 I will neuer bye the pyge in the poke: Thers many a foule pyge in a feyre cloke.

To that I would add my own rendition:

I will neuer go to Smiley bye the pyges on the poke: for fear the foule pyge ther maint give me a stroke.

22 thoughts on “Do You Hear Dualing Banjos?

  1. I rented a “pig in a poke” one time as a “gift” to my future husband (at the time) presented at the office (bank) Christmas party (joke). He is now my x.

  2. I’m jealous, all these guards getting some time off, We are permanently attached to one rig since last march and haven’t had a day off since. and from what we’re told, we won’t have a day off for at least another 3 years. (The oil company just renewed the rig’s contract.) If you ask the our support guy, Larry, with Gate guard Services, he might tell ya how we accomplished it. But only if your nice to him. Its suppose to be super hush hush.
    Just tell em Bigbird sent ya

    • Bidbird – I’m sure you know that you can have time off anytime you want and GGS will put a sub on your gate. After reading your post, though, I would pity the sub! No wonder they love you guys! WOW! You’re amazing! 😀
      ~ Debbie

    • Oh, shoot! Don, you’re so right! That would have been a perfect pig fit! 😀 Just shows my ignorance of the oil field business. I had to read your link to know what you meant. Thanks!
      ~ Debbie

  3. Reludf wegin druun bloshstat stegel splosh! ~ Pot Pie talkin’ like a Texan

    Thanks for this wonderful post, Debbie. Please don’t ever share your bucket list with me.

    • mt – you and Pot Pie made me laugh so loudly I woke up Henry (it’s kind of a slow day here at the holding tank)! I don’t have a bucket list – and I bet after reading Fork for a little while now, you have a pretty good idea why! 😉

  4. Texans like their meat. Don’t look for a “Country Ham” they are rare in this neck of the woods. While home for the Holiday Rickey got a country ham to bring back with him.
    Also you will not find “White Lily” flour. I got 4–5 lb bags to bring with us back in Aug. They are in the freezer. We don’t like buying a pig in a poke either.


    • Hey Betty!
      Heidi, who is only about a half a step away from being a vegetarian (not on principle, just because she doesn’t like meat that much) is consistently floored by the meat on meat in meat Texas dishes. It’s just fine by me! 😉

    • Bobbie – When Heidi and I were speakers, we always gave our CEU classes unusual names like Beyond Here Be Dragons instead of productive conflict resolution and Sometimes You’re the Windshield, Sometimes You’re the Bug, instead of how to work with your opposite. We found that off beat titles attracted more fun participants. If you can keep humor clean and inoffensive, you draw the nicest folks – like you!
      Are you guys in Texas yet? The weather is supposed to be a little wicked tonight. Be careful out there!

      • We have been on the road since Monday and will arrive in Whitsett TODAY. Going to stop for groceries somewhere first to stock up. Hopefully our app is OK and supposedly will be “approved” by Monday. Sure would like to meet you and Heidi sometime, somehow. You’ve taught us a lot through your blog.

  5. OK, any time you say Scotland … i’m here! Right? Those crazy Scots. Crazy Texans. I love a hotdog wrapped in more pig. Hanging pigs, not so much.

    I’m having trouble translating your Texas 😉 … Actually it’s quite good. I’m craving a pancake. Once again, pigs not so much.

    So bored rednecks whack a pig and poke it for fun!? Ewwww! How did you get used to this? JEESH …

    Ok off to a regular old job for me xoxo m

  6. I saw three Javalinas yesterday, some of the guys were talking about gittin them and cookin ’em in the ground. Funny thing, I haven’t seen a single one today. Is that bacon I smell? LOL!

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