I just had a Pepsi and pulled pork pig sandwich in Culdesac, ID at Shebang Days 2010, where the motto is Going Hog Wild. The mascot is a porker, and the population is 387… minus the former mascot.
My too kind and loving wife is grossed out because there is a young teenage boy pulling the pork off the roasted pig. The entire pig was roasted for 18 hours in an above ground roaster, complete with an apple in its mouth. I guess it had never dawned on her why they called it a “pulled pork” sandwich. I am certain it wasn’t because they pulled the pig’s tail.
Sometimes it isn’t the time spent traveling but rather the distance traveled. Hello, friends. It feels like it has been forever and then some since we last visited. You may have wondered what happened to me.
I have been on a walkabout. A walkabout is a rite of passage where Australian Aborigines undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period of time. They often trace the paths their ancestors took and imitate to some degree their heroic deeds. Okay, perhaps I wasn’t imitating heroic deeds or living in the wild by my cunning alone.
But I have photographed the sea lions at Morro Bay, watched the whales migrate and then ate a fish taco and watched the sun set over Monterey Bay while I wrote a sophomoric but sincere poem to my too kind and loving wife.
I took pictures of a sow bear and her two cubs in King’s Canyon National Park, camped along the Lochsa River, floated down Hell’s Canyon and took photos of bighorn sheep and a mountain goat.
I caught brook trout in the Clearwater River, measured 20 arm lengths (nearly 110 feet) around the base of the 2,000-year-old Grant’s Christmas tree in Sequoia National Park, hiked Yosemite National Park and pondered my place in the universe at the base of the course grained granite that reaches 3,000 feet and is called El Capitan. And then I watched Bridalveil Falls plunge 620 feet and spray water mist all over and make rainbows.
I picked a lemon, orange, and grapefruit off my trees in California, ran a race with Daniel in Las Vegas, played golf in the Sherwood Golf Course, hiked the Orange Blossom Trail in Sanger, CA, hiked the San Joaquin River Gorge, and ran the Chinese New Year 5K race with Daniel.
And I flew to Salt Lake City to hold my first grandchild, a chubby cherubim, that watched me as I watched him, and then I cried for no apparent reason.
I went to a Tim McGraw concert in Fresno, CA and honestly, I got teary eyed when he sang the song “Live Like You Were Dying” even though it was a rock version that brought the house down.
I ran the St. Patrick Day’s Race in Fresno CA, then flew to meet my too kind and loving wife in SLC, helped Matthew buy a house in Las Vegas, read a book a week for six months, drove up the curvy California coast highway and stopped and toured the Hearst Castle.
I walked through a sea of Camas that the Nez Perce still use for subsistence food gathering, and I finally got my mother-in-law to admit that she missed me.
I played golf at the Bonneville Golf Course with my two sons-in-law, drove to Cedar City and watched Nikki graduate from college and wondered how the time had all passed so fast.
I played golf in Utah, California, and Idaho. Just when I thought I had seen it all, Bubba stopped by and gave me a big bear hug and came damn close to saying that he missed me.
I got to hold my second grandchild, this time a baby girl and then I cried again for no apparent reason other than she was the closest thing to proving to this jaded old man, unequivocally, that there is a God and that inspite of my many short-comings, He still loves me and offers me tender mercies on a daily basis.
When I left Monticello in February, the wind was howling and snow was blowing in through the smallest of cracks. When I returned in June, the wind was still blowing; this time the red dirt of Monument Valley came through the smallest of cracks.
I could not believe how hard the winter must have been, but almost everyone I talked with agreed that they were glad to see it go.
And then the choicest of experiences was to go over to my mother’s for breakfast and eat fresh tortillas and chili. Honestly, if I could have rolled around in a batch of tortillas I would have been happier than Turbo rolling around on a carcass.
Never has anything tasted as good or reminded me of the million reasons that I love all of you and everything about this stupid wind-blown town without a movie theater.
So, on my first trip back to Monticello in four months, I was just past Green River and decided to call my Editor, who by all rights should have been concerned for me and relieved to know that I was still alive and perhaps worried about my welfare and well being.
But the first words out of his mouth was not what you might expect. No, he didn’t answer like most normal people do by saying “Hello” or “Hi this is Billy-Bob, how can I help ya?” No, he merely says, “Kill the fatted calf, the prodigal son is returning”.
Smart aleck!!! Everyone thinks they’re a freakin’ comedian.