Friday, June 24, 2011

Cup with a Theme Song

My wife & I watched a movie last night called The Gift. We realized within the first few minutes that it had been filmed in the Deep South, where we live. We like to guess filming locations: we'll freeze a frame to discuss the fine points of trees, topography, flowers, architecture, any detail that helps us nail down an anonymous location. In this case, the Deep South coastal plain, but not Louisiana or Mississippi; maybe around Mobile Bay; not Florida; most likely somewhere between the Okeefenokee in Georgia and the Pee Dee in South Carolina. Beaufort? No, Beaufort's too much of a city. Savannah? Again, too built-up. But around there. Low Country. Around Edisto? Yeah...those roads look like the roads to Edisto:


And the swamp scenes look like swamps around Edisto:


Like lots of South Carolinians, we vacation on Edisto Island. It's very isolated and there's only one grocery store. Part of the Edisto Island experience is unloading the car at the rental house, then heading over to the Pig to buy groceries. That is, the Piggly-Wiggly:

Pay no attention to the lower case p and w.

Piggly-Wiggly is a regional chain, founded in Tennessee in 1916. Just based on the name you might've guessed it was Southern: where else in the 21st century United States could such artless charm be profitable? Here's an old logo:


Is that corny, or what? Reminds me of Betty Boop. But even in the Information Age, the Pig is still the Pig:


I have liked the Pig since I was little: he was happy and friendly and helpful and about my size. And in my adulthood I appreciate that no-one has tried to make him cool, clever, sexy, sophisticated, or God forbid, pretentious. Being happy and friendly and unaffected is enough. The Pig is just a decent human being, so to speak; a citizen, transcending both cool and corny.

So anyway, in the movie there is a scene where Cate Blanchett is toting some groceries...and the Pig is on the bags! Ha! We knew they filmed it around Edisto! But as the credits rolled, we learned that we were wrong. They'd filmed The Gift near Savannah after all.

A few Edisto summers ago the house we were renting didn't have enough coffee mugs, so my wife picked up a few at the Pig. The mugs of course had the Pig on them. Every morning that week I'd get up, pour coffee into a Pig mug and go drink it out on the beach; and in some winsome way the cartoon pig on my cup supercharged the natural optimism of those beach mornings. I enjoyed seeing his shiny happy face each day, and when the week was over, the Pigmugs came home with us, along with the mustard, ketchup, spices, cereal, and other nonperishables that we didn't finish off.

Now I drink all my coffee from a Pigmug. I must sound like a happy idiot (which I am in many ways not related to coffee cups), but each morning the unassuming Pig still sparks in me a microburst of cheerful energy. Other coffee mugs don't do that.

There's an old song that comes to mind when I'm out on a morning beach: a morning-beach-theme-song.  It's one that I sing to myself more often, now that the Pigmug bears summer beaches year-round into my Upstate world. In fact, as much as that theme song belongs to the morning beach, it belongs to the Pigmug even more:

All Year Permanent Beach

Oh, yeah...I almost forgot: the Beach-Pigmug Theme-Song.

6 comments:

Michael Davis said...

I will be getting my 4th of July cold beer from that very Pig.

jdonliturgy said...

Now that made me smile! I remember the old logo. When I was a kid, my mother used to shop at the Piggly Wiggly in Dixon, IL... northwestern corner of the state. Unfortunately, they went through a corporate "reorganization" in the mid-late 80's and moved out of Illinois and some other northern states. (My ex-husband was actually their reorganization attorney.) Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!

Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

must have the pig mug. must have the pig mug.

kkollwitz said...

"must have the pig mug"

“No—no—I reckon it wouldn't hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly's awful particular about this fence—right here on the street, you know —but if it was the back fence I wouldn't mind and she wouldn't. Yes, she's awful particular about this fence; it's got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain't one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it's got to be done.”

Nicole and Mon Voyage said...

I used to love going to any Piggluh Wiggluh when I was small. How can a kid not like going to pig-branded grocery store?

Allison said...

My husband's first job was at a Piggly Wiggly! He still speaks fondly of it even though there are no longer any in our area (SW Virginia)...