Pigs CAN Fly

A road-trip with my oldest sister comes to a hilarious, um, outcome

My two big sisters were my world. Born a decade and a bit ahead of me, they were only ten months apart.  Known as Irish twins. They were born, then three boys, then me and finally our littlest brother.  After the three boys I seemed like an angel.  I was just so easy.

One of the mysteries about them was this incredible suite they shared in the basement of our red-brick bungalow in Barrie, Ontario Canada. It was paneled in an slightly orange faux wood and had super cool and trendy wall-to-wall carpeting.  But get this, not only were they twins, kinda, their bedrooms were adjoined so that if you wanted to go into Eva’s room, you had to first walk through Amy’s.  Their rooms were also just steps from the large bathroom which had a bright blue long vanity for makeup and hair brushes as well as mirrors that could be adjusted to see the back of a person’s head.

Eva had a single bed in her room with an afghan on it that she crocheted herself. She was (and still is) very creative and multi-talented – always making something, or writing a poem, baking, painting a paint-by-number or organizing a get-together or a birthday celebration for someone who is lucky enough to know her or be related to her. Eva’s zest for life is contagious.  People flock to Eva, wanting to be apart of her exciting and enthusiastic life.

Eva also had throw cushions on the bed with hand-stitched whimsical hippos, frogs and turtles.  Her room was so interesting that I would love to just sit and look at everything and wonder at how she must have made it.  Eva was eleven and a half years my senior, and my God-mother.  I adored her.  I was so lucky.

Amy’s room sported a double bed and a walk-in closet that had its very own light and light switch.  As a little girl I would imagine it to be my play house and I would wish I was big enough to wear some of Amy’s great clothes.  Amy is a very gentle soul. She has many friends and many we call Amy’s Men.  She listens well and can empathize with just about everyone she meets.  She hears her clients all day while she expertly works on their hair and makes them feel good about themselves.  People love Amy from the moment they meet her and look into her beautiful blue, kind eyes.  She is one of those soft-spoken, nice people that everyone wants to associate with. Amy 11 years older than I and I also adored her, she was the most beautiful woman, on the inside and out, that I knew and I was very proud to be her little sister.  Amy and Eva pretty much raised me from the time I was a tiny.

One night when I was seven years old, I was curled up beside Amy who was reading her homework assignment to me aloud. She was attending the Barrie School of Hairdressing at the time.  I shared Amy’s double bed with her. Eva walked in, all excited, and announced that she was going to Windsor to attend Mark’s graduation from Law School.  Mark was a school friend of hers who lived down the hill and who just loved Eva.  He wanted her as a girlfriend but, unfortunately, Eva really never could muster up those kinds of feelings for him.  Eva however, still really liked him as a friend and was looking forward to the adventure of going down to Windsor to attend his grad.  We would, of course, stay with our relatives and not at his apartment (which he shared with some other guy).  I guess I was a type of chaperone for this mission and would keep Eva, my big sister that I was in awe of, company while she drove.

We started out early in the day in Eva’s new, green, 1974 Maverick know as “The Mav”.  The plan was that we would pull off the highway about once every hour so that Eva wouldn’t be too tired by the time we got there.  It’s about a six-hour road trip to Windsor and sure enough we pulled off for a break each hour.  Eva would buy us a treat and we would sometimes gas up the Mav and then we would be on the road again.  The trip took us on multi-lane, fast 400-series highways all the way to Windsor which is situated on the border with The States.  We sung all kinds of great tunes.  Eva is a talented singer and loves to entertain.  We sang Band On the Run, Country Roads, Out on a Date, Maggie May and more.  My big sister Eve was so much fun!  I could hardly believe the adventure I was having and how lucky I was (compared to my four brothers and Amy who had to stay at home).

We arrived in good time and I was amazed at the absolutely largest bridge I had ever laid eyes on.  Eva said that was the bridge to The United States and that it was a mile long. “Holy Cow!” I thought.

We found Mark’s apartment and he and his roomie welcomed us in with open arms.  There was lots of smiling and some cute teasing going on.  Eva was an expert joker and loved to wittingly poke fun.  Mark would get all shy, blush, wave his hand and say, “Oh Eva!”

He opened the fridge to offer us a refreshment.  Eva politely declined but, I couldn’t help but notice that all of their food, even the peanut butter was in there.  Yuck! Cold peanut butter, I thought.  We were big peanut butter fans in our household.  Mom would buy peanut butter by the gallon. Someone would usually just leave their butter knife in the peanut butter pot so as to make getting some more efficient, I suppose.  But make no mistake we NEVER put peanut butter in the fridge!

I had to ask.  I was so curious.  Why do you have all that food in the fridge?  It turned out that their apartment, which was actually a flat in a really old huge brick house, probably out of the Victorian era, had bugs – cock roaches.  Keeping food in the fridge deterred these pests.

Suddenly I had to use the toilet.

Eva said she would come in with me to freshen up while I used the toilet.  As we walked into the bathroom I noticed that the bathtub was different from ours at home. This tub had high sides and feet.  Everything looked different and old, but really neat at the same time.  Eva explained antiques to me as she applied some blush, mascara, then some blue eye-shadow and a bit of pinkish lipstick.  I can remember feeling like I was learning a lot on this trip.

I did a poop, wiped, and hopped off the toilet, yanking up my jeans and turning to look at it.  There, floating in the bowl, was the biggest, fattest poop I had ever produced, or seen, in my young life.  It was huge and it curled all the way around the toilet bowl!  I pointed at it and cried, “Wow, Eva, take a look at this!” Then I noticed the look of utter horror on my big sister’s face.

“Flush it, Martha!” she ordered. “Before it stinks up this place really bad!”

I reached over and pulled on the ancient flushing lever.  I couldn’t figure out why my oldest sister wasn’t as amazed by what I had produced as I was.  The massive, man-poop was going to be gone in an instant so I watched it closely as it was going to disappear down the hole.  Around and around and around it went but…






Instead it proceeded to float up even higher to the rim of the bowl.  Geez! I was amazed at its size and bulk.

Eva hadn’t been watching. She had been brushing her long, dazzling hair.

“Look Eva, it’s not going down,”  I said.  I wasn’t the least bit disturbed by this.

“Oh NO Martha,” she said in dismay as she pushed her shiny, straight brown hair behind her ears, “They’re gonna think I did that!” indicating with her head nod my big prize poop.


“Oh never mind. You’re too young to understand.  We’ve got to do something before they wonder what the heck is going on in here!” she exclaimed.

Teen-aged and gorgeous Eva, with slightly flushed cheeks and a look of consternation on her pretty face looked frantically around the bathroom. Her eyes fell on a white plastic bleach bottle scoop beside the toilet.

The rest of it happened pretty quickly: She opened the window. She grabbed the scoop. She fished out the huge poop coil and, she tossed it straight out the window!

When I looked out to see where it landed, there it was: a large brown lump, below the window, on a small roof, about ten feet away from my wide-eyed wondering face.

Eva simply closed the window and the curtain, took one last glance in the mirror as she quickly washed her hands. She then plastered a somewhat nervous looking smile on her face, took my hand and opened the bathroom door.

Years later, after recounting this story to my best girl friend Kelly, she was doubled over laughing then stood straight up and while smiling widely said, “Who says pigs can’t fly?”

Oh dear. We both laughed and laughed.


When in Australia in 1994, I told this story to a group of women with whom I was working at a tomato and garlic farm.  (At the time, Dean and I were doing our best to make money in order to be able to continue our travels to Nepal and India.)  We were standing in a circle around a huge wooden crate of fresh picked garlic and we were cleaning it of it’s extra layers and roots.  It was mind-numbingly boring work, but better to be in the barn doing this work than out under the scorching sun. We began to share stories so I asked the ladies if they wanted to hear one about poop.  Of course they did and said, ‘Ah mate. Let’s hear it!’.  A few minutes later they were bent over double laughing at this story.  Some manager came over to ask if everyone was okay.  They all waved at him that we were fine, breathless with hilarity. I was quite pleased that they found it that funny. Anyway, I will never forget relating this story to those ladies in that Ozzie barn up near Bowen Queensland.