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Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Wilbur and Us Chapter 8 "Road Hog"
At the end of January my station at Rochester closed. I was the last employee to leave except the supervisor assigned to lock the doors. It was a bitter cold night, and as I walked across the ramp for the last time I took in the scene. It was snowy, and everything was white; there was a bitter wind blowing across the open area of the airport. The snow on the ground crunched underneath each foot step. I turned to bid Rochester one last farewell; I blew her a kiss, then, walked out the freight door to go home.
I knew the next time I went to work, everything would be different.
Back at home everything was in turmoil; everything was on the verge of change. My son Mitchell decided that he didn’t want to move to Miami, so he had made arrangements with his mom for him and Toby to move in with her and my daughter Nicole. I had smartly taken a vacation week after the closing to give myself nine days before I had to report to MIA.
This was not going to be an easy transition for anyone. The plan was that I would leave on February 4th by myself with Dylan, drive down to Miami, and stay with my old roommate Tom, until the house closing on the 7th. Then I would live in the house by myself for a month until Rhea closed the house in Rochester in early March. Then Rhea, Sean, Jeff, Wilbur, and Samantha the cat, would drive down to meet me.
Bright and early on the fourth, I kissed Rhea goodbye, and left in an old Thunderbird that Gerry had restored and given to his mom. This car was loaded to the gills with everything I would need to spend a month by myself. I had a mattress, a TV, clothes, uniforms, stereo, myself, and Dylan crammed as tightly as possible into this sports car. The car was so packed with things that I could not move the driver’s seat back far enough, and would have to make the 1500 mile drive a little scrunched up. Dylan had to lay on a pile of bedding and pillows that took up the other front seat. Dylan and I made the drive in about a day and a half, with a stop over in South Carolina, where I snuck Dylan into my motel room when no one was looking. Fortunately my trip was pleasant and uneventful; much easier than Rhea’s. I guess that’s because I didn’t have to transport, and worry about a seventy five pound pig and a cat cooped up in the back of a truck.
In early March, after Rhea and Jeff had got all the furniture ready for the movers, and the house closed up, they were ready to make the big trip. The plan was for Rhea and Sean to drive her Mustang, and Jeff to drive my old Dodge truck with Wilbur, and Samantha in the back. The problem with transporting a pig, and a cat, was that once they were put in the back, they would be there for the duration of the 1500 mile journey because we could not take the chance of an escape by either one of them. I had a cap on the back of the truck, so the animals would be sheltered from the elements, and relatively warm for the drive. There was one problem with the cap; the latch to keep the back window closed would not stay closed, as the vibration from the road would loosen it. They did not think it would be a big problem.
On the trip down Wilbur and Samantha got along reasonably well considering the tight quarters. Samantha had her cat box, and Wilbur had the rest of the bed to do his thing in. Every rest stop Jeff would check in on the two, feed them McDonald’s hamburgers, and water them; but the further they went, the stronger the odor in the back became.
While driving through Georgia, Jeff noticed the drivers behind him flashing their lights, and waving at him. The drivers kept pointing at the back of the truck as they passed by. Jeff got worried that something was wrong with the truck, and motioned to Rhea to pull off at the next rest stop. After they pulled off and got parked, Jeff went to the back of the truck to see what the problem was. There was Wilbur; he had his front legs up on the tail gate, and had pushed the window open with his head. I don’t know if his own smell had finally got to him, or if he was just sight seeing, but all the cars behind them were looking at a pig looking at them! Fortunately the tail gate latch held Wilbur’s weight, and we did not lose either of the occupants back there. Jeff closed and locked the rear window for the rest of the journey.
What a relief it was for me to get home from work that day and to see that they all had made the trip safely. Samantha, was glad to be out of the back of the truck, and was already exploring her new home; mean while Wilbur was out back snouting his new yard. I was fearful that Wilbur would not remember me after a month away; but those fears were quickly dispelled when he saw me, and came up to rub against me. My pig remembers me! We all had a great reunion with a barbeque on our new back porch. Everyone was a little sick of hamburgers by that time, so we celebrated with beer and pork ribs. Everyone, especially Wilbur feasted well that night.