Every family has certain traditions that have developed over the years. Frequently they are small, sometimes silly, things that don’t mean much but are fun to have. In our family one of those rituals involves having your picture taken with the pigs in Lippstadt, Germany, my wife’s ancestral home.
The pigs in question are public art of a sort. There are three of them, on wheels, usually found on the main street, the Langestrasse, to the delight of children and their parents. They are both big enough and small enough to sit on and are joined together by a rope. If you like you can pull them to a different part of the street, with or without passengers.
So I was distressed to receive an email in June from my vacationing brother-in-law saying that the pigs were missing. He had looked not only on the Langestrasse but on the side streets – he sent me a map showing where he had looked.
I looked online, and found lots of tourists’ pictures of the critters, but no information as to their whereabouts.
My brother-in-law asked his aunt, who knows everything about Lippstadt. She hadn’t noticed the pigs’ absence. Well, I suspect she probably had, she doesn’t miss anything, but she sees them as just pigs, they don’t hold the same fascination for her that they hold for the rest of the family.
Aunts and uncles though exist to fulfil the wishes of their nieces and nephews (and if my niece is reading this I am speaking metaphorically, don’t get your hopes up). So if the pigs weren’t in their usual haunts, someone must know what had happened. If the children (who are all adults) were concerned then their aunt must act. She contacted the authorities. I don’t speak German, but I could make out the word Kanada in the clip below – obviously she was telling city hall that her guests from afar were concerned. I don’t know if she realized she was being recorded.
Turns out the pigs hadn’t been stolen, which is something we had considered as a possibility. They were at the vet, or whatever the equivalent when you are a wooden pig on wheels. They were back in place when we visited in July.
Someday soon I`m going to write a little bit about the various pieces of public art we encountered in Europe this summer. The pigs are more children`s amusement than art, but there is something quaint about them. I am glad they are once again patrolling the Langestrasse.