My mom’s cousin died a couple of weeks ago. He was my cousin, too, but he and Mom grew up together and were about the same age, so I think of him as her cousin. I didn’t know him well, but I always liked him, and I’ll never forget the story he told about the time he threatened to open a hog farm and slaughterhouse in his backyard
Morris lived out in the country. I don’t know how many acres he had, but it was a big backyard, big enough for a hog farm, anyway.
Some developers bought the land behind his and applied for a change in zoning so they could put up a subdivision. The county said OK, as long as the developers built a berm around the subdivision and planted enough trees to give the surrounding homeowners some privacy.
The developers built the berm but planted only a few trees and called it a day.
Morris didn’t like that. He complained to the county and the developers, but they didn’t do anything. The developers said they’d followed the letter of the agreement with the county and they weren’t going to waste time or money planting any more trees.
Morris didn’t think that was right.
He lived out in the country, on land that was zoned agricultural, so he went to the county and pulled a permit to build a hog farm. Then, he paid a guy to make him a big sign that he mounted on his side of the berm, positioned so everyone who came to look at lots in the subdivision could see it:
Coming soon: HOG FARM and world-class SLAUGHTERHOUSE!
Ands he listed his phone number.
Pretty soon, the developers called.
You’re bluffing, the developers said.
I just pulled the permits, my cousin said. They’re on file at the courthouse, if you want to check.
You’re not really going to build a slaughterhouse, the developers said.
Sure I am, my cousin said. It’s gonna be great, too. State of the art. Gonna have a few hundred hogs, make a lot of money.
Pretty soon, the developers sent a crew around to cover every square in of that berm with trees, and Morris pulled down the sign.