One summer, many years ago, we nearly gave away this wonderful place that is my home in the middle of nowhere. After years of growing up here, enjoying vacations and long weekends, learning to swim in the river, building a cabin and spending hours and hours playing in the hillside, Mom was ready to sell and move on.
Here’s the story …
Dad and Jamie came up for a quick couple of days one summer to mow and clean up the meadow so the place wouldn’t be so out of control for an upcoming two week vacation. Back in those days there were no cell phones and Dad refused to have any type of communication device here at the cabin. When he was here, he was unavailable. Neighbors up the way agreed to take emergency calls for us, but otherwise, he was incommunicado.
This meant that we didn’t hear anything from them until they returned. They had left after youth group on Sunday evening and returned late Tuesday evening.
Two things occurred that Tuesday evening that set Mom on edge. Dad brought in freshly dressed meat and the front of our van had been badly dented. She was pretty upset about the whole thing. She’d worked herself into a frenzy until Dad finally told her what had happened.
He and Jim had stopped at the top of the lane to open the gate so they could drive in. It was late evening when they got here, darkness had set in, but when in the light from the van’s headlights they saw two gleaming, red eyes. Dad heard snorting and and pawing in the dirt. Neither he nor Jim wanted to accost whatever beast was in front of them, but they knew they had to deal with it.
He drove forward and realized that it was a wild boar and it was not going to give way.
Now, Dad didn’t give Mom too many details about the occurrence. They’d gotten home late and he had an early morning prayer breakfast at church. He insisted that she let him go to bed. They’d talk about it the next day.
He went to bed. My brother went to bed. We all went to bed.
Mom sort of went to bed. All night long, she worried about a herd of wild boar living in the woods of the hillside behind us. If she’d been on edge the night before, by morning, she was in a frenzy. As soon as Jamie came down for breakfast, she began questioning him.
Now … Jamie was ready to tell Mom the entire story and he did. He told her how an angry and terrifying boar had pawed the ground in front of them, daring them to charge forward with the van. Dad thought that if he did so, he’d scare the boar enough so that it would run up into the hills and they could get all the way in to the cabin. But it didn’t happen that way. Dad drove forward and the boar held its ground. Finally, Dad and Jim decided that the only thing they could do was to ram it – head on.
It took several tries, but they finally killed the boar, dressed it, and brought the meat home.
Jamie left breakfast to do whatever it was he was doing that day and by the time Dad got home for lunch, Mom was done. She fluctuated between anger and fear. Fear that for the last sixteen / seventeen years, our family had been in danger. Anger that my Dad would put Jamie in harm’s way. As soon as Dad sat down at the kitchen table, Mom demanded that he find a buyer and sell this place. We weren’t going to have anything to do with land that was home to a herd of wild boar.
Dad was flummoxed. What in the world was she talking about? He finally uncovered the story that my brother had spun off of the initial joke from the night before. Jamie had not woke up that morning intending to extend the story, but as any good story teller is wont to do, the moment he saw a sucker, he dropped the hook, set it and pulled her in. Then he walked away, not knowing that her reaction was going to be quite so severe.
It took Dad a while to convince Mom that there were no wild boars in the state of Iowa, much less hiding in the hillside behind the cabin. They had actually hit a deer on the way in, made sure it was dead and then dressed it while they were here. There had been no confrontation on the lane, no one was in any danger.
My brother is still an amazing story teller (he writes books too – check him out at fickledragon.com) and since Mom is no longer around for him to entertain with his stories, he is safe knowing that I will still buy nearly everything he tells me and I will always be entertained by the stories he spins.
However, if you ever hear about wild boar in central Iowa, don’t believe a word of it.