October 5, 2006
Tifton --- Some people enjoy brightening the day for others, looking forward to helping out anyway they can. It happens frequently in Tifton at a place thought of as a stodgy, and rather straight-laced.
When you go to the Tifton Post Office, listen closely when Amy Poore helps you because you will probably get more than what you paid for. "Yes ma'am. Can I help you please," asks Amy, one of four service representatives, to the next person in line.
It takes her less than five seconds to brighten a customer's day. A lady wanted her to weigh a letter, and sure enough, it needed more than a 39-cent stamp. "A little bit too much love in there. It went over the amount," says Amy with a smile. Don't take your ears off of her. She adds humorous value to an ordinary visit to the post office. Take selling stamps.
"Would you like some vegetable stamps? They are colorful and healthy for you," says Amy as she holds a strip of six colorful stamps for a customer to see. Need to pick up a package? "I'll go get your prize from the back," says Amy.
The customer didn't seem to notice her uplifting quip. She's a prize customer service representative with a little humor thrown in. "Going way out of town, to Italy," says Amy to a customer who wanted to know how much it would cost to send the package that far. Her customers don't realize it, but they help her with an obsession.
"Just little sayings people have that just helps me to put into the pig's personality," says Amy about her yearly creative adventure with four-legged pigs. Amy enjoys making special pigs, the more human-looking the better, compete with attitudes. "It looks like her hand is sitting on her hip. So, she has a little bit of attitude while she's dancing," says Amy as she shows how she used Velcro to hold the pig's hoof at the waistline.
She dashes from store-to-store during her lunch breaks, buying or borrowing items for the pigs to wear, always needing something to complete her design.
Her obsession started eight years ago when she created an elaborate booth for a big bar-b-cue festival. "There were 161 teams up there last year," says Amy, referring to Vienna, in Dooly County, where they hold the Big Pig Jig.
Her booth finally won first place in 2005 after seven years of trying. "I'm on cloud nine," says Amy a year later. As soon as she finds the theme for a particular year, she immediately starts working on her booth.
For the past four months, Amy has worked almost every available moment on her new booth, illustrating the festival's Hogaritaville theme. "It's all in the detail," says Amy, as she uses a hot glue gun to put a bead of glue around the edge, and then rolls it in rock salt to simulate salt on the glass's rim.
The margarita glasses, the big sunglasses one pig wears, the dreadlocks on another pig, the bikini under a grass skirt on the female pig, the feet with pink legs, and the hammock have every detail covered.
Exactly how all of it will come together remains top secret. "Keep secrets at home," says Amy.
Why does she spend hours and hours on her hands and knees trying to make stuffed pigs look human? "A form of relaxation," says Amy.
Pigging out has its advantages. Amy always wanted a real baby pig until her parents told her that it would grow up, leaving its cuteness way behind.
The annual Big Pig Jig that Amy enjoys so much continues through Saturday night when she finds out if she's won or not. We'll let you know next week.
Take a look at: http://www.bigpigjig.com for a schedule of events at this year's festival.