R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s. Whatever.

razorback postcardIn July, 1970, my father loaded all of us into a blue, 1968 Chevy Impala sedan with newly-mounted, under-the-dash AC and headed west to Cal-ee-forn-i-a; swimming pools, movie stars, and the American Postal Workers Union Annual Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

He decided that since this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we should hit all the highlights. On the itinerary were The Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Yosemite, Sequoia, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and the St. Louis Arch. We even ventured off the beaten path and got a few kicks on Route 66 at some kitschy attractions like the Fort Courage Trading Post in Houck, Arizona.

But first, to get to all those iconic, picture postcard destinations, we had to pass through Arkansas.

That would have been Day Two of the trip. I remember because the first night we stayed on the Memphis side of the I-55 bridge in what was then a brand-spanking new Best Western but is now an abandoned, burned-out shell that you can stare straight through, front to back. The Brady Bunch was on TV that night, and Marcia, as usual, was reaping some praise or award while combing her flowing, golden locks and Jan, in a fit of jealous pique, had collapsed on the floor in one of her patented meltdowns.

The next day, we crossed the bridge into The (a la) Natural State and continued toward Little Rock. Accustomed to the towering Blue Ridge Mountains, I remember being appalled at the profound flatness of it all and watching out the window, slack-jawed, as I saw nothing but miles and miles of water, soybeans, alfalfa, rice, cotton, and for the first time in my life, houses on stilts.

But finally we reached Little Rock and civilization–such as it was. And I remember stopping for gas and a snack, and that’s when I saw the strange, exotic creature for the very first time.

It was a red pig on a postcard. I picked it up and stared at it and slowly read the caption–Arkansas R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I asked my Dad about it and if we were close to Fayetteville. He said no, that Fayetteville was up in the Ozark Mountains in another, very different-looking part of the state and that we wouldn’t be going there unless we got very, very lost. Then I asked him about the red pig: What is a R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k, Dad, and why is there a postcard with a picture of one on it?

He explained to me that a R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k was not like the ugly, gray, fat pigs that Granddaddy McGuire slopped back home. No siree, a R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k was instead a proud, ferocious, wild hog that the good people of Arkansas had chosen as the mascot for their university to symbolize that same wildness and ferocity their boys brought to the gridiron every fall.

Then he told me that before each kickoff, the good people of Arkansas, both in the stadium and throughout The (a la) Natural State, would “Call the Hogs,” just like Granddaddy McGuire did whenever he filled the trough with slop. Woo Pig Sooie! he called out, right there in the middle of the gas station. Several people turned toward us, gave us a smile and a thumbs up, and Woo Pig Sooied right back.

I was impressed and intrigued. I asked him if R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s lived in those houses on stilts that we saw on the drive from Memphis to Little Rock, and he said, no, that they ran free and lived in the forest. I said, What forest? and he said, Oh, never mind.

Then I looked up at him with my pleading, 8-year-old eyes and asked, Dad, can I have this? He looked down on me with one of those loving, “Better give ‘im what he wants so he’ll be quiet in the car” looks of his and said, Sure Son, why not? And he bought it for me.

But here’s the deal: I have no idea where that postcard is now, and I don’t care.

R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s. Meh, whatever. Roll Tide, Roll.

  1. greg

    that’s a shame. you were so close… 🙂

  2. Kristi Sweeney

    Be careful. It would stink to turn out to be this week’s USC.

  3. Mike the Eyeguy

    Carolina Girl on Facebook says:
    “ME – that scenic trip sounds as if it was the goal of every American family who ventured to Cali-for-nia in the 70s. Can’t say we made the Arkansas stop, however.”

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    Liz on Facebook says:
    “Woooooo Pig Soooie! 🙂 I’ve called the Hogs many times through the years of living in Fayetteville and after moving. I use to sell peanuts at the games because Dad, who was a professor there, knew the guy in charge of the concessions. There was good money in selling peanuts. Once in a blue moon, Dad would get tickets and we could go to the game with him. (Mom isn’t a football fan.) What memories!”

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Donna on Facebook says:
    “Roll Tide Roll!!! I used to think the name of Keith Riley’s blog was whoopsie pig….I like that better….”

  6. Mike the Eyeguy


  7. cg

    Maybe some can tell a similar story about traveling to Florida, and along the way, finding a postcard with a funny red elephant and big capital ‘A’ on it.
    “Dad, what’s a Crimson Tide?”

  8. mmlace

    You can “Whatever” all you want to, brother, and act like you didn’t live in this beautiful Natural State for a few years, right?


  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    I knew that would get a rise out of you! RTR!

    Hey, 51 other weeks out of the year, Arky is just fine by me.

  10. David U

    ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!!!! The Crimson Tide better win this weekend, because my life becomes a living #&!! when the Tide loses that game! 🙂 Thanks for the memories, Mike.

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yur welcome, DU. Like I said earlier in the week, Dont’a and Rolando have got your back.

  12. That Girl

    I’ll never call the hogs but my days of RTR are long gone, too. I was a young, impressionable child and I soon learned the error of my family’s ways. War Eagle!

  13. Whoopigsooie

    Be sure to put Fayetteville on your Bucket List. If you’ve not been there, you haven’t see the best of The Natural State.

  14. Mike the Eyeguy


    So I’ve heard, and I do plan to make it up there one of these days. Maybe next year when we come back up there. Can you help me get some tickets? 🙂

    Tell That Girl of yours that all this allegiance-switching is making my head swim and is worse than trying to figure out which Bama defender is going to blitz you next! Just ask Mallett after today! RTR!

  15. Whoopigsooie

    Based on your comments, it seems you have an un-natural fear of Mallett – you realize it’s 11 on 11, right? 🙂

  16. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey, I’ve heard about that “115 mph” fastball! I hear he’s 7 feet tall and consumes opposing teams with “lightning from his eyes and balls of fire from his arse!” (h/t “Braveheart”)

  17. Greg England

    As I leave my comment, the game has long since been over and there was never any threat of “ark-can-saw” doing much damage to Bama. The fourth quarter, Bama had to actually refrain from taking advantage of all the scoring opportunities given them by those ferocious R-A-Z-O-R-B-A-C-K-S

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    I thought I heard a long and loud Roooooll Tide emanating from the western horizon. That must have been you!

  19. Bill Cobbett

    For a minute I swear I was in the middle of a Flannery O’Connor story.

    And we had a 1966 Impala SS with factory AC! How I wish I had it now. I remember as a 4 year old standing in the backseat as we rocketed down the highway. Backseats, we don’t need no stinkin’ backseats. We would even climb up behind the backseat on the shelf beneath the slanted rear window and lay there gazing up at the clear blue sky.

    One year we had my little brother jerry-rigged in a carseat that spanned the bucket seats in the front and he thought it would be fun to put his foot on the Power Glide transmission shifter and jammed that thing into park going about 70 down the road. Ground that transmission to dust.

    Good times.

    RTR. Dante is done, huge blow, can’t overcome loosing a player like that. Only hope that a defense that is less will still be enough.

  20. Mike the Eyeguy

    Bill, my new BFF (anyone who evokes O’Connor in relation to anything I write earns the title), you’re a pretty good story teller yourself.

    Factory AC! Seriously? I was so jealous back then of anyone who had it already “in the dash.” That must have been a great car, and I laughed out loud as I imagined the sound that car must have made when your brother stepped on the shifter. Although I’m sure at the time it was anything but funny.

    The car that I wish I still had was the white, 1960 Impala Sport Coupe with the “bat wings” that Dad had prior to the time when he had to go get all domesticated on us and get the 68 Chevy sedan (click here).

    I have home movies of him driving it into the driveway (Mom filmed it apparently) and of me as a baby and my sister, all dressed up for church, getting into it with my Mom. She had me on her lap in the front seat, of course. Car seats? We don’t need no stinkin’ car seats!

    Yes, losing Dont’a is a huge blow, but one I think we can weather given the large stable of LBs we have. But it has to stop here. Although we have more depth than we’ve had in years, injuries will suck the lifeblood from a championship caliber team. And I believe that we are just that. RTR.

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