Does she scare you, or do you think she's adorable? I get both comments from visitors to the farm. People who have never seen a pot-bellied big are both delighted and repulsed by Dali. She's often confused for a male, but let me tell you, if you saw a full grown pot belly pig boar, there'd be no mistaking the gender. The boys have tusks, heavier bristles, and their fright factor is such that you do NOT want to run into one in a dark barnyard. Dali is positively the embodiment of femininity in comparison. Rubens would have delighted in her generous curves and folds: Dali was brought home as a tiny baby, about 8 weeks old. She was only 10 inches long and a spitfire from the beginning. I remember holding her to try to get a walking harness on her, and she squealed so loudly, she completely freaked out the neighbors. The decibel level coming out of a body so small seemed impossible. Since then, we've let her be, and the best we can do is scratch her back and her ears. Although my friend, Manny, has bribed her into letting him fondle her considerable jowl. He calls it "buche," and claims it to be a delicacy in Mexico (although I've also heard that buche is pork tripe, so if anyone knows definitively, let me know).
All this talk about pork may make you think that Dali is scheduled for the table at Manresa. But no, she's a pet, and alive she will remain. But I have heard the chef exclaim, with more than a hint of covetousness, "Dali, you are looking really tasty, today!"
I asked my son, Zach, to name her when she was a piglet. In the middle of a very interesting seminar of AP Art History, he decided to name her after his favorite painter, Salvador Dali. When I reminded him that she was a girl, he said, "No matter. Her name can still be Dali." When I pronounced it "dahl-ee," Zach corrected me. He said her name is properly pronounced "doll-ee," emphasis on the latter syllable, like Demi Moore. One can certainly make the argument that Dali's belly resembles that of the very pregnant then-Mrs. Willis on that famous Vanity Fair cover.
Besides bringing sexy back with her own rotundness, Dali has another talent. She has an incredible sense of smell, much like her French counterparts, who are trained to hunt truffles. Dali has never enjoyed a truffle, but she can detect a cheeseburger at 200 paces. She doesn't get many treats lately; I found out a whileago that I had been feeding her too much, so sadly for her, Dali is on a diet. Which would make you her new best friend if you brought her a Big Mac should you come over to visit. She may even let you fondle that beautiful buche.