September 18, 2013 | « back



Here’s a blast from the past — James Taylor’s distant past.

In 1971, living in a house he built himself on Martha’s Vineyard, Taylor kept a pet pig named Mona — both were pictured in a Time Magazine cover story that year.

In a New York Times Magazine article this past Sunday, author/activist Michael Pollan recounted how his own pet pig, amusingly named Kosher, had a close encounter with JT and Mona during summer vacation on the Vineyard.

Pollan’s porker, weighing in at 150 pounds, had outgrown Manhattan apartment living. So, after a 1971 agricultural fair where both pigs won blue ribbons, Taylor agreed to pig-sit Kosher until the following summer at his place, which Pollan, 16 at the time, depicted as a “vaguely gothic hippie house.”

Mona did not take kindly to the porcine intruder into her territory, so a separate, makeshift pig-pen was hastily built in the woods nearby. However, it was too late —

Pollan’s account described how Kosher had succumbed, literally scared to death of Mona.

Taylor, through his wife Kim, assured County Fare that he had tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in what turned out to be a futile effort to save Kosher.

Years later, Taylor composed an ode to his own pig, then near the end of her life, titled — naturally — “Mona.” We’ve never heard him perform it at Tanglewood, but it’s included on his 1985 acoustic-folk album, still in print on CD, titled “That’s Why I’m Here.”

We’re told no pigs are in residence at Chez Taylor high in the hills overlooking Lenox, but Ray the cat and Ting the pug are buddies who share sleeping quarters.