Life in Homestead/Miami was idyllic, but very different from our life in Rochester. The weather was sunny and pleasant everyday, and I adjusted to working at MIA quickly. The one major adjustment we had to make was the language; almost everybody spoke Spanish, not English. Sure, most of the Latinos could speak English when they wanted to, but most of the time they chose not to. It was the first time we experienced what it was like to be, and to be treated like a minority. It was indeed an eye opener! I tried to take it all in stride, but Rhea had great difficulty trying to accept being treated like a foreigner in her own country.
Life at home was a little different. We were blessed to have two great next door neighbors. On the east side of our house we had Ed, a retired Air force lifer, who now worked the midnight shift for the postal service. On the west side we had Mrs. Pulee, and her son James. They were Indian Hindus who had become American citizens. Both of our next door neighbors spoke English, which was a great relief to us.
Mrs. Pulee was indeed a delight to have as a neighbor; she was very nice, and very polite, and she adored all of our animals, especially Wilbur. She was in her middle seventies when we moved in, but she was quick of mind, and loving in her personality. She took a shine to Wilbur from the day they met. Everyday she would get picked up by the SeniorCenter bus, and everyday she would bring treats home from the SeniorCenter for Wilbur. Since Wilbur adores treats, he quickly took a shine to Mrs. Pulee.
One day after work, I was sitting on the back porch having a beer and relaxing. Wilbur was over by Ed’s side of the house sunning himself, when all of a sudden I watched him get up and start trotting across the back yard. “This is strange” I thought to myself, I had not seen Wilbur move this fast since we were trying to catch him as a piglet. As Wilbur crossed the yard his speed picked up. “What the hell is going on?” I thought to myself. I looked all around to see what the hell spooked Wilbur in this way, but there was nothing to see. Wilbur got to the fence next to Mrs. Pulee’s yard and stood there with his tail swishing back and forth excitedly. Just then, the back door of Mrs. Pulee’s house opened, and out walked Mrs. Pulee! “Hello Wilbur” she said, then she saw me, “Hello Michael, how are you? I hope you don’t mind but I brought home this cheeseburger I couldn’t eat, and thought I would give it to Wilbur.” Wilbur just stood there with his tail swishing, and I just stood there with my mouth agape. “No, no not at all” I stammered. She proceeded to unwrap the cheeseburger, and broke it into pieces that she fed to Wilbur.
I looked on with mixed emotions as Wilbur scarfed down the cheeseburger. My first emotion was astonishment, “how in hell did he know Mrs. Pulee was coming out that door?” My second emotion was extreme envy “Damn, I’m hungry, I wish she had offered me that cheeseburger!” The thought that Wilbur might be psychic seemed ludicrous, but I could not figure out how Wilbur knew that Mrs. Pulee was coming out that door with a treat for him.
To this day, I still haven’t figured that out.
That whole first year Wilbur got bigger, and bigger until he got over 300 pounds. Money was tight, and we fed Wilbur the same dog food we gave the dogs. We didn’t realize that Wilbur should have a diet more digestible for a pig than dog food. By the time our first Christmas in Miami approached I remarked “Santa should bring Wilbur some leg extensions because his belly is dragging on the ground.”
Not only was Wilbur getting big, but his hormones were kicking in. Wilbur was starting to get amorous with the dogs, and the furniture. We now began to understand why the lady who sold him to us recommended strongly that we get him neutered. Ooops!
Next: Wilbur becomes an outdoor pig.