Cookin', Critters and Chillun

‘The music goes zoom-zoom…’

Just anybody under 80 can probably sing at least part of the Valleydale pigs song.

“The music goes zoom-zoom. The drummer goes boom-boom, and everybody shouts, ‘Hoo-ray for Valleydale. Hoo-ray for Valleydale, all hail, it’s Valleydale!’ ”

You’ll have to do your own cymbal crash and drum accompaniments, but you get the picture.

You won’t be seeing the Valleydale pigs at Salem Memorial Ball Park any more, or sponsoring the Salem Rodeo. The pigs are leaving town.

Well, not really, but Valleydale Packing House’s parent company, Smithfield, has decided not to spend money on Valleydale sponsorships, and the three remaining Smithfield sales employees will be working from home from now on.

So the stuffed pigs, the records, the T-shirts with the jingle and other memorabilia have been donated to the Salem Museum. Look for an exhibit someday after the collection has been cataloged.

Meanwhile, the little pigs keep on marching, just not around here. The brand’s bacon and hot dogs are available farther into southwest Virginia, Northeast Director of Regional Sales Kirk Barrett assures me.

Since I grew up in Georgia where we had Armour & Co. and Swift meat packing, for the most part, I didn’t know until last week that each of the little pigs in the Valleydale commercial had names. Of course, they’re named Zoomer, Boomer, Zinger, and the relative newcomer, the only girl is Val.

I don’t know if somebody in the company decided they needed equal rights, or if they just wanted a majorette to lead the three-pig band made up of Zoomer on trombone, Boomer on bass drum and Zinger on cymbals.

When Kirk Barrett, Salem Museum Director John Long and I were looking at some of the Valleydale collectibles last week, we were musing about how the boy pigs started out looking like they were wearing pants but no tops. Now they have tops – band jackets – but no pants. Val, of course, is wearing a short skirt and a shako, one of those tall, furry hats that drum majors wear. But she’s twirling a regular baton, not a drum major’s baton. How’s that for a sexist stereotype?

My daddy was a plant manager for Armour & Co. The jingle I remember was, “Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs, What kind of kids eat Armour hot dogs? Big kids, little kids, kids who climb on rocks, fat kids, skinny kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs, Armour hot dogs, the dogs kids love to bite!”

By the way, in case you were wondering, the rest of the words to the Valleydale song are: “Valleydale Sausage! Valleydale Weiners! Valleydale Bacon! Zing-zing-zing zing Valleydale. Hoo-ray for Valleydale, all hail it’s Valleydale.”

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