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The Thurmond, West Virginia Pork Licking Festival

Thurmond, West Virginia Pork Licking FestivalI was in Thurmond, West Virginia two summers ago attending the semi-annual pork licking festival that has been taking place there now for close to one eighth of a century. It really is quite an event — worth making the trip for, if you’ve never been. Five dollars gets you in the gate and with the purchase of a twenty-dollar arm-band you can lick pork all day at no extra cost. Or, at least, until the pigs come home to roost — whichever comes first.

On this visit, two years ago, the attendance was overwhelming — as far as regular attendance levels regularly go for the Thurmond pork licking festival. On the day that I attended, there must have been at least thirty people there. I do not know what the total combined attendance was over the entire span of the three day event.

Marjorie Habbenshnacker ended up winning the “Make a pie out of anything” contest that day with her ground shovel and peppermint-wine cured garden gloves recipe. Marjorie has taken home the trophy for that contest five of the last seven times.

All in all it was a very good time. Much pork was licked on the day I attended. And, I’m sure much more pork ended up being licked by many, many people over the entire three days.

The event closed up for the night at nine o’clock in the evening. A voice came across the loud speaker and announced that the grounds were closing up for the night and that all event-goers would now have to make their way to the exit gates where they would be given a free bacon flavored lollipop for having attended. I made my way toward and out the gate, received my lollipop, and began heading toward town with the massive pork tenderloin, which I had earlier licked and then purchased, wrapped in gold foil and tucked under my arm.

However, with me being as incredibly dunder-headed as I am, it wasn’t very long before I realized that I had become completely lost. I had thought that I had been walking the correct road leading back into town. As it turned out, though, I hadn’t. I was, in fact, heading down a dirt path that led ever deeper into the menacing and lonely hills that surrounded Thurmond. The pathway soon came to a vanishing end and I found myself surrounded mostly by wilderness. It was exceptionally eerie. The dark night was silent and still and I felt not at all at ease.

I turned and began heading back along the path in the direction from whence I had come.

I hadn’t walked very long, however, when the pathway in front of me lit up like daylight — brighter than daylight. A beam of light — a circle of light — approximately twenty feet in diameter was illuminating the path and surrounding grasses up ahead a ways. I froze stiff and immediately dropped my pre-licked pork tenderloin. I looked up toward the sky — up above the circle of light — and there, to my astonishment, I saw a small, spinning circle of tiny red lights. They appeared to be orbiting the outer circumference of some sort of disc shaped craft.

Then, a weird sort of spark appeared on the brightly illuminated ground in the dead center of the beam. A weird sort of greenish flame that made a strange cracking sound as it appeared and an even stranger sizzling sound as it quickly faded from view just a moment later. But, there, now, where the spark had appeared and then again disappeared just a second ago, was what looked to me to be some sort of wild boar. It stood motionless, facing me, in that beam of light. And I stood motionless facing it for what seemed like an eternity. Then suddenly the boar stood up on its hind feet. It pointed a hoof at me and spoke.

“Is that your pork tenderloin?” It asked in a voice that resonated with porcine fury.
“Uh… yes.” I stuttered back, “I, uh, I… I licked it at the festival. It’s mine. I bought it.”

The boar dropped his hoof and returned to standing on all fours.

“Heed the rabbit’s words.” The boar then said.

And, no sooner had he spoken that final sentence when he and the circle of illumination he had been standing in was suddenly gone. I then heard a bizarre and oscillating rushing sound — like that of someone swiftly rubbing their hands together at an increasing speed in order to warm them. My eye then caught the red lighted craft quickly speed away, out of sight, into the dark and starry night sky.

I stood puzzled and still for quite some time. Then, when I had managed to gather some semblance of my wits, I continued on my way down the path. It wasn’t long however before another equally bizarre event befell me. As I walked through the darkness I became aware of a strange clicking sound up ahead. It was faint, but it seemed to be increasing in volume and pitch. Something was coming toward me. Again I froze and stood still in my place.

Within a couple of second another weird animal slowly hopped into the illumination of the soft moonlight and I found myself standing perhaps thirty feet in front of a giant brown rabbit. It stopped and looked at me. I looked at it. It was perhaps six feet tall — perhaps slightly more. Then, it too spoke.

“You saw the Boar?” It asked.
“I did.” I responded.
“That pork tenderloin, it’s yours?”
“It is indeed.”
“Leave it here. Drop it.” The rabbit commanded, albeit in a soft and unassuming tone.

I complied with the animal’s request and let the tenderloin fall to the earth beside me.

“You shouldn’t eat pork.” The rabbit said. “It can be dangerous if you don’t cook it properly.┬áTrichinosis and all that, you know.”
“That’s mostly a myth.” I replied. “These days, what with governmental regulations regarding the feeding of pigs and improved health standards with the commercial handling of meat…”
“Yeah, yeah.” The rabbit interrupted. “Whatever. Just, listen, alright? The Boars don’t like it. Ok? The Boars don’t like you eating pork. Just lay off pork. Got it? There are things going on that you couldn’t understand.”
“Ok.” I said.
“I guess we’re done here, then.” The rabbit remarked.
“Ok.” I repeated.

And with that the giant rabbit stood up tall upon his hind legs and uttered a final sentence.

“Please pray for me.” It said, and darted off into the blackness.

I bent down, picked up my pork tenderloin, tucked it back under my arm and began making my way back toward the town.

“I paid good money for this hunk of pork!” I said to myself. “Fuck that rabbit!”

I never dared speak a word of my strange encounter to anyone, lest they think me mad.

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