Javelina In Heaven – A Hog Is Still A Hog!

By RJ Smiley

Growing up in western Kansas our garbage man, “Slop” Johnson, used to come through the neighborhood three times a week and collect table scraps and garbage in a five gallon bucket. Mr. Johnson was known to have a bottle of whiskey hidden in his bucket to help deal with his job. He would deposit the “slop” in a big barrel on the back of his truck (you could tell, without looking, when Slop Johnson was in the area) and feed this “slop” to his hogs.

We periodically visited his hog feedlot to watch old Slop Johnson feed or “slop” his hogs. When he would pour the slop into the low metal feed troughs the hogs would go wild splattering this mess all over the place. Then for hours after the feeding, the hogs would root around in the wet, sloppy mud seeking a delicious hidden morsel.

Sedona, AZ is the home of three golf courses: Oak Creek CC (the oldest), Sedona Golf Resort (a spectacular course, open to public play), and Seven Canyons Golf Club (one of the best kept secrets in golf).

Think you have seen beautiful golf courses and luxury high desert living, think again….. you have not see Seven Canyons. Seven Canyons is a beautifully designed by Tom Weiskopf, It is a very small gated community at the end of the road…. heaven on earth.

As a Golf Digest rating panelist, I had the opportunity to play this wonderful private course. Our interesting foursome included the mandatory caddy, really a man Friday, and three of our wives, who rode along just to see this magnificent slice of God’s creation.

Concentration on golf was difficult and the greens broke away from mountains in every direction. As we approached the 14th green, we noticed some movement in the left shoulder of the green. A huge wild hog (about 60 lbs.) known as a bore javelina, Spanish for sharp teeth, and his family of about ten in various sizes were busy rooting and destroying the damp, soft fringe on the left side of the green.

As we got closer, we felt fear for two reasons: fear the protective bore would attack and fear that the javelina group would retreat back into the dense scrub cedar forest and out of sight. Neither happened. The herd was so wrapped up in rooting the delicious, grubs, worms and grass shoots on the wet, well manicured fringe area, that they did not even notice our curious foursome.

I could not help but remember the hogs of Slop Johnson and the way they rooted for any eatable morsel. A hog is just a hog but the javelina rooted in heaven is a far cry from Slop Johnson’s hogs rooted in the smelly mess of the feedlot.

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