Dad, what’s a boner?

English: A Gloucester Old Spot breed boar (mal...

English: A Gloucester Old Spot breed boar (male pig) at a farm in England. ‪中文(简体)‬: 在英格兰一家猪场的格洛斯特郡花猪公猪。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The family was sharing an evening meal of pork chops – delicious home-produced outdoor-reared Gloucester Old Spot.

Perhaps it was the rather carnivorous gnawing on ribs or perhaps it was all the recent talk about horsemeat that precipitated the nonchalant question from 8 year-old Jack, our shaggy-haired super-sporty son: ‘Dad, what’s a boner?’

Now we are pretty honest here – to the point where one of Jack’s first words was  ‘abattoir’. Well, that’s where daddy was going in his tractor with a trailer-load of sheep.

And the lovely innocent-looking Beth asked some pretty searching questions on what the bull was up to when she saw him serving the cows.  So at 5 years of age she had a pretty good handle on bovine reproduction and it did not take long for her to start to ponder comparative anatomy and physiology.

And Rob didn’t think twice about taking both children around the local abattoir when they hitched a ride in the holidays when mummy was working.  We do have some limits – it was in its non-operational, cleaned-down state – but they had a tour nevertheless.  Was that what was intended by ‘take your kids to work day’?

To answer Jack’s question, farmer Rob, looking at me with a twinkle in his eye, began, ‘Do you remember the cutting room at the abattoir, where they sliced up the meat? Well the man who cuts out the bones from the meat is called a boner…’

He paused… the explanation seemed acceptable…

‘…and its another name for a stiffy!’

This obviously made more sense as Jack smiled, nodding – the older boys at school had been talking again.

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