Pigspittle, so named by a dear friend, is a small town in Ohio. I’m not sure where my friend came up with “Pigspittle,” and I’ve never seen a pig’s spittle, but it doesn’t take much imagination to grasp the link if you’ve lived here for even a little while.
Thirty minutes from the nearest freeway. Flat land interrupted by the occasional Appalachian foothill. Land of churches, churches everywhere. A church behind our house, in fact. We call them the Davidians, though that’s probably snarkier than is necessary.
Feed stores and tractor suppliers. Dollar stores and Wal-Mart. A manicure salon called “Le Nails.” Why the “le”?
Amish buggies on the highway, in the Kroger parking lot, and, rumor has it, at a strip joint, which is located across the road from a pie shop ten miles outside of town. I’ve waved hello to them more than once, but they never wave or smile back. They wear black dresses and suits and hats, and ride their buggies in the wind, snow, rain, and they never ever smile. So now I make assumptions about their happiness—mainly, that they’re not happy.
We live in a two-street subdivision built in the 1950s. To the south of us lives Sylvia, a little woman bent by osteoporosis, probably in her 70’s or 80’s, who is unfailingly cheerful and mows her own lawn. To the north is Poke—not his real name but I’ve forgotten his real name—who also mows his own lawn, to a fault, really, as the grass barely gets a chance to grow. Poke is nearly deaf and never hears when I shout, “Hi, Poke!” Across the street is a house filled with kids, parents, grandparents. We don’t know the relationship of any of them. We don’t know their names either, but we call the pudgy kid “Whistle Boy” because of a particular fall day when I was trying to take a nap and he was out in his front yard, blowing and blowing with grating repetition on a toy whistle.
Lately, the ice cream truck has been touring through our neighborhood, even though most of the people who live on our street are octogenarians. Maybe that explains the morose music the driver plays. I hear him come up the street, playing this melancholy melody, over and over again as ice cream trucks do, and think, “Damn, that is some sad ice cream music.” How can ice cream music be sad? I don’t know, but it is.
More on Pigspittle tomorrow, maybe even mention of the giant cartoon Jesus hand sign with a nail driven through the palm.