Julie Thorneycroft • Norwood, CO
During the four months I lived with my boyfriend James in his home country of New Zealand, I learned all about hunting the elusive, wild pig.
Captain Cook brought the pig to New Zealand in the 1700’s. Following brief domestication by the Maori, the pig has been running wild through the island for 300 years. Pig hunting is very extreme in New Zealand, comprising packs of dogs and days spent running through the forest in pursuit. The hunter never sees the huge pig’s tusks — only signs of its droppings or scratch marks.
On my wedding day, I drove to the chapel with my mother, sister and my future mother-in-law feeling more than a little apprehensive. Three months earlier, while James was away working for the National Park, and while I was critically questioning our relationship, I discovered I was pregnant. When I told James, shell-shocked, whirl-winded and far from home, we grabbed a 6-pack and went down to the lake to discuss our options. Of all the practical possibilities we came up with we chose the riskiest: to get married.
I questioned myself throughout the three months of wedding preparations. Even though we’d been dating for a year, I didn’t know James that well. I didn’t really know myself that well. I felt nauseated, and not just because I was pregnant.
During the tense car-ride to the chapel, filled with more silent trepidation than small-talk, a wild pig dashed in front of the car! A wild pig isn’t something anyone ever sees; this was an extreme rarity. I thought right then and there that this is a sign of good fortune, and this marriage is going to work. Spotting that pig got me through the ceremony, and even comforted me later on as we ate our potluck wedding feast — pig included.