A common person's perspective on a variety of topics.
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Saturday, July 18, 2015
Wilbur and Us Chapter 1 "Wilbur Comes Home"
Prologue: After seeing the huge success of books like “Marley and Me”, I figured it was my time to cash in on the cute animal/owner genre that seems to be sweeping the nation.….by the way, this is a true story.
Ever since my wife and I have been together, she has always talked about wanting to own a pot bellied pig one day. I would always say “that’s nice dear”, and leave it at that. Since we already had four dogs (two of hers, and two of mine, before we got together), a cat, and three guinea pigs; I figured we already had our plate full of pets.
One cool autumn day in October, right after our fourth anniversary together, I was glancing through the local weekly newspaper’s want ads, when I noticed an ad that read “pot bellied pigs for sale to good owners, not to be raised for food! Females $30.00, males for $25.00”. I mentioned the ad to my wife Rhea, and she immediately started begging me to buy her a pig. Seeing as how it was a nice Sunday morning, and that we had plenty of time to make the 50 mile round trip before football started, and that I am soft in the head, I said yes.
I called the phone number on the ad, and a real nice lady answered. “Hi, I saw your ad in the paper for pot bellied pigs, and I was wondering if you still had any?” I said. “Oh yes” she replied, “but do you want it for a pet, and will you take good care of it?” I assured her that we did, and that we would. She then gave me her address, and I told her we would be there in an hour.
The lady owned a farm about 30 miles away on the north tip of Conesus Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. Since I used to disc jockey at a bar not too far from there, I had no problem finding her farm.
The lady was very nice but a little eccentric. She was very adamant about not selling a pig to someone who would not take care of it, or who wanted to eat it. Either I did a good job of hiding my trepidation about owning a pig, or I have an honest face, but she agreed to sell us a pot bellied pig.
She took us out to the barn where we could see a couple of big pigs, and about eight little fellers. “That’s the father” she said as she pointed out the biggest pig. This guy was quite a bit bigger than I thought a pot bellied pig would be; at least 300 pounds! “I thought pot bellied pigs were a little smaller than that”, I remarked. “Well the males are a little bigger than the females. Most people get the females because they are smaller.”
Well, I work in the airline industry, and it had been a year since 9/11. The airlines weren't doing well; I had been reduced to part-time so money was tight. I could not afford the more expensive female pig. I looked over at Rhea, who was grinning uncontrollably, and asked her “Are you sure you want to do this? I can only afford the male pig.”
Her head was going up and down like some bobble head doll in the back window of a car going down a bumpy mountain road, “Yes! Yes! I want a pig!” I turned to the lady and asked her if the runt of the litter was a male. “Why, yes it is! And he is so cute!” I reasoned that the runt would perhaps grow up to be smaller than his dad, so I said “We’ll take him.”
This was all well and good, but now the lady had to catch him. She spotted the little runt off in the corner covered with hay to keep warm. As she got closer, the little runt sensed something was up, and took off! With the agility of a minx, the lady went after him, cornered him, and caught him with such speed that my jaw dropped!
The little runt was only about three or four pounds, but he could wail like a banshee. His wail was so loud that it literally hurt my ears! The lady walked over and placed the runt in Rhea’s arms. After a minute or two of stroking, and gentle cooing by Rhea, the runt finally calmed down.
I paid the nice lady the $25, and we headed for the car. Before we got in the car the lady said “I recommend that you get him fixed while he’s still small, it’s much easier, and you’ll be glad you did. I know a vet just down the road who will do it for $25.” We took the vet’s phone number, and off we went.
On the forty-five minute drive home the runt was reasonably calm, and quiet, so we talked about what to name him. We decided to call him Wilbur, after the pig in the book "Charlotte’s Web". Wilbur was coming home to meet his brothers... four big dogs!