Snout 'n' about in Red Wing
Call him the porker of Pioneer Road.
Since Andrew Jackson, the adopted pot-belly pig belonging to Dan and Lynn Simonson, took to Red Wing streets this summer, he's become a virtual bombshell.
Cars stop to look at him. Children run up to touch him. He poses for pictures.
"He's such a character," Lynn said.
Andrew joined the Simonsons in May after their son Aaron bought him for $100 at an Anoka, Minn., farm as a piglet. Aaron hoped to keep Andrew in his college house, but quickly discovered he was allergic to pigs.
So Dan and Lynn decided they would add to their family, opening their home to Andrew.
"It's been a learning experience for sure," Lynn said.
They've embraced the pig into their lives, learning to enjoy his peculiarities and tolerating his obsessions - primarily, food.
The Simonson refrigerator is stocked with Andrew's favorite snacks: peas, tomatoes, grapes, cucumbers and strawberries. Not to mention the regular diet of pig chow he gobbles up from a doggie dish.
"I guess he likes everything," Lynn said with a laugh.
That includes non-edible snacks, the couple has learned.
One day Lynn, a Sunnyside Elementary aide, returned from work to find a "big fat" pillar candle whittled down to a 2-by-2 inch stem.
The candle was pumpkin-scented. And hidden.
"I guess he smelled food," Lynn said.
Andrew's nocturnal activities also have kept the Simonsons on their toes. Lynn is often awakened in the middle of the night. Not by a snore from Dan, but a snort -- from Andrew.
The housebroken hog gets let out the back door to do his business and is rewarded with a midnight snack. But sometimes he's back at the door suspiciously fast, Lynn said.
"He could be faking it for a treat," Lynn said of 8-month-old Andrew.
The pig has proved remarkably sociable in most settings, the Simonsons said. Apart from a tendency to become territorial in their house, Andrew gets along well with people, enjoying new faces and experiences, the couple says.
Dan, a Red Wing fire department captain, has even brought Andrew for a visit to the fire hall.
"They think it's pretty funny," Dan said of fellow firefighters' reactions to the pig.
Lynn said Andrew received his name after Aaron visited his older brother in Nashville, Tenn. They visited President Andrew Jackson's dwelling there, where it occurred to Aaron that "it would be cool" to bestow a pet pig with the famous name, Lynn said.
But Andrew the pig can point his hoof to least one luxury the late president never enjoyed: Sloshing around in a kiddie pool.
The Simonsons say Andrew likes to cool down in the pool, but they make sure to use it to their advantage. When he comes on the patio with dirty hooves, they toss a grape in the pool and "he dives in there," Lynn said.
Presto. Clean pig.
Yet Andrew's contribution to the household and neighborhood - where he often is spotted pigging out on boulevard huckleberries - has been surprisingly powerful, Lynn said.
A Pioneer Road neighbor was seriously injured this spring after a vehicle struck him. Lynn said the victim's wife logs her encounters with Andrew on her husband's CaringBridge Web site each time she sees the oinker.
"It makes her smile," Lynn said, recalling the entries. "I am grateful for Andrew for that."