Ten Things About SonnyeBoy
Yes, It's Real

He Ain't Heavy; He's My Porker

My circus pals warned me about this act before they arrived on the show.

"Wait until you see Uncle Heavy," they said. "It's one of the best animal acts out there." Or something to that effect.

"What kind an act is it?" I inquired quite innocently.

"Pigs."

"PIGS?"

Oh yes, indeed. Uncle Heavy's Pork Chop Revue was a trained pig act, comprising Uncle Heavy, Aunt Heavy, Heavy Junior, and more bacon on the hoof than my suburban eyes had ever seen. At first I though that the pigs in question were going to be sweet little Piglets -- but no.

We're talking hogs, kids. Two huge hogs and one smaller pig. One of the hogs might have been a sow; I never asked about their genders nor did I have the desire to get close enough to find out for myself.

Heavy1

The act itself was basically a dog act.

"Dog act?" I hear you cry. "What means this dog act?"

Oh come on, you know. The trainer walks across the ring as the cute lil doggie weaves in and out of his legs. The dog pushes a barrel across the ring, climbs up and slides down a sliding board, jumps through hoops and over teeny fences, that kind of thing.

Now imagine all that stuff with big giant hogs, in slow motion, to the tune of a manic racing version of Turkey In The Straw.

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The big finish occurred when the big hog pushed a baby carriage across the ring to Uncle Heavy, who reached in and pulled out the little pig, who promptly "peed" all over the ring, courtesy of a squeeze bulb and tube that ran up Uncle Heavy's sleeve.

The audience loved it. Loved. It.

The Heavys traveled and lived in a converted school bus. It was a pretty nice arrangement, with a living room set up just behind the driver's seat, a complete kitchenette with a fold-down dining table, and a bathroom and sleeping space for the family just past that. And back behind the wall of the sleeping space?

Yup -- the pigsty, at the very back of the bus, accessed through what used to be emergency back door. They really only stayed in the bus while travelling; once the family got to a lot, they set up a pigpen right outside the back of the bus.

I didn't care much for Uncle Heavy -- he was a big blowhard who drank too much moonshine -- but I got to be pretty good friends with Aunt Heavy. She was his second wife, much younger, and stepmom to Junior. She made all the costumes and helped in the act, but she didn't muck out the sty or feed the pigs. That delightful little chore fell to the males of the family.

As the season wore on, Aunt Heavy got more and more unhappy with Uncle Heavy. He was drinking too much, he was always yelling at her, he was (dare I say it?) a pig.

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