So a few weeks ago, I drifted down to a neighboring town to see my friend Ken, who has a photography business and framing shop that is overrun with memories and things from the past. There are old film cameras, film, and lenses none of which work on my Nikons. It is a place that seems frozen in time. Yet somehow, I always end up spending lots of money with him, and while I am there he tells me the craziest stories—stories that seem more like fiction but they’re not.
I think I have mentioned how people in Stephens County love to tell me things that frighten the heck out of me. It’s a game people play and it is called: “Let’s scare Angie half out of her wits!” Sadly my old buddy Ken continued that tradition. He knows I love to hike so he began his story by asking where I planned to go with friends over the weekend. I commented, “Somewhere north of Toccoa,” and then I told him I was worried about seeing bear this year. “I’ve already seen two trees with deep bear claw marks on them.”
“Bears,” he said with a question in his voice. “I’m telling you what you need to worry about is wild hogs. Yes, ma’am, you need to be concerned with those guys. They are all over the area and they’re really mean,” he said with squinty eyes that danced and even contained a slight glimmer of laughter.
“Wild hogs?” I replied knowing that I had fallen for his very tall tale of adventure. “Where have you seen wild hogs?”
“Right here and right over there,” he said pointing out the front door of his shop to a place near the Lavonia train station.”
“Yep and here’s what’s left of him to prove it.” He said pointing back over his shoulder. “I wouldn’t want to meet that guy on some hiking trail.” Then he laughed and winked.
I had hoped he was teasing me but then I ran into my neighbor at church, who was eager to catch me up on the latest hometown news.
“You know we have a new thing to worry about around here, don’t you,” he said with the same twinkle in his eyes. “Wild hogs!”
And no sooner had I returned home from church than another neighbor came loping across my backyard. I noticed a “by-now” familiar laugh. “You know,” he began, “We got wild hogs in the area!”