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Posted by on August 9, 2012.

Brookhaven cityhood: The meaning behind the flying pig

When pigs fly: Brookhaven Yes President J. Max Davis, left, Rep. Mike Jacobs, center, and Rep. Tom Taylor hold a toy flying pig as they celebrate the news that Brookhaven will become Georgia’s newest city. Voters approved incorporating Brookhaven in the July 31, 2012 primary.

Of all the images from the July 31 primary, the day Brookhaven became a city,  one stands out.

It’s a picture of Rep. Tom Taylor holding up a toy pig with wings. Rep. Mike Jacobs and J. Max Davis, president of Brookhaven Yes and now a candidate for mayor, smile as Taylor tells them the story about that flying pig.

It’s a story that began with Sandy Springs.

A Democratic official told Republicans that Sandy Springs would become a city when pigs fly, the story goes.

As a quick side note: the expression “when pigs fly” apparently has its origins in an old Scottish proverb, according to the World Wide Words website.

“It seems to have been a traditional Scottish proverb, which was first written down in 1586 in an edition of John Withal’s English-Latin dictionary for children,” writes website author Michael Quinion. “This had an appendix of proverbs rendered into Latin, of which one was the usual form of the proverb in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: ‘pigs fly in the air with their tails forward’. If they did indeed fly, the proverb argues, flying backwards would seem a small extra feat.”

Accounts differ surrounding which Democrat in question made the bold claim about Sandy Springs. A recent New York Times profile of the city credits the source as an unnamed Democratic legislator. An old story from the Sandy Springs Reporter attributes the quote to an unnamed Fulton County commissioner.  Another article, from a 2005 edition of State Legislatures magazine, attributes the comment to various Democratic officials.

Rep. Joe Wilkinson gave Mayor Eva Galambos the flying pig in 2005 when the city incorporated. Since then, the image has taken off, both as a cheerful reminder to Sandy Springs of its victory over naysayers and as a mascot for other new cities.

Brookhaven is Georgia’s seventh new city. The flying pig gets around.

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