The swine flu and 3-bean salad

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, May 7, 2009

Earlier this week, we learned of a probable case of swine flu in nearby Shelby County. It’s likely that this news has made some Chilton County residents a little nervous.

Ever since this disease — and news stories about it — started spreading like wildfire, I have heard enough prevention tips to make me sick. Of course, these are mostly just common sense practices we should do every day, such as washing our hands on a regular basis.

But a group of people at my church decided they would face the swine flu head on — by bringing a pig to church. That’s right. When I walked up the steps to our church Sunday night, the first thing I saw was a pig in its cage.

I’ll explain. Our children and youth partnered with a neighboring church to put on a production called “The 50th Annual Polk County Picnic,” a modernized version of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Here’s the plot: At the Polk County picnic, the main character gets accused of spilling three-bean salad all over his brother. After failing to convince everyone that he didn’t do it on purpose, the boy decides he will be better off on his own.

These events transpired in the midst of a much bigger argument over which year the picnic began.

Of course, in one scene, the runaway had squandered all his money and ended up taking care of swine (most of these were played by kids crawling around on all fours, wearing snouts, and making funny noises). But one of them was a little bit more realistic than the rest.

It turned out that one of the kids has a pet pig named Bacon Bit.

No, the church service didn’t have anything to do with swine flu, but you’ve got to admit the timing is ironic.

After the service, we enjoyed a real church picnic, and as far as I know, nobody spilled the three-bean salad.

–Scott Mims is the news editor of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Friday.