Carin was working, cutting her stepsister’s hair at the salon her mom owned. Her cell phone vibrated. She never took calls during work. All of her friends and family knew that. It vibrated again, a second call from the same number. She picked up. It was her ex boyfriend, Rob.
Rob was two ex-boyfriends ago. Several family crises occurred that weighed on Rob and Carin’s relationship, splitting them apart.
He sounded out of breath.
“I’ve been working at a ranch in the Tassajara Valley. And I am heading your way. Do you have a cardboard box?”
“Yes. What for?”
Carin’s mind was racing. He said he was calling from outside of Carmel.
What could he possibly need from me?
“A wild pig, a baby,” he said. “Thanks, see you soon.”
Then the call ended.
Thirty minutes later, Carin looked out into the parking lot of the salon. Rob’s blue pickup truck had pulled in. Rob jumped out and extended his lanky frame headfirst through the open window of the truck’s extended cab.
All Carin could see was his blue-jeaned bottom wiggling around.
She smiled to herself. I remember that.
Rob was fetching the baby pig that was squealing. Carin panicked. Rob scooped up the piglet into his arms and headed toward the salon door at a fast stride.
Carin told her stepsister she needed to take a break as she ran out the salon door.
“You can’t bring that pig into the salon!”
“Where’s the box?” Rob pleaded.
Carin hurried to get the box and jabbed breathing holes in the top with her small hair cutting scissors.
Rob put the squealing piglet in the box with two clean salon towels that Carin had grabbed. Piglet stopped squealing and snuggled into the warm towels. Rob cradled the box in his arms and looked at Carin.
“I was in the barn, shoeing the horses owned by a Tassajara rancher who was clearing his pasture when he found a mama boar with her babies. The rancher enlisted my help in capturing them. We tried but Momma and the rest of the babies took off faster than we could run.”
“A wild pig?” Carin asked.
Rob put his rough hands on her upper arms and continued the account.
“At the last possible moment before we were going to give up, I saw Piglet and ran off to grab him. I got him! He rode in the second cab of my pick-up truck all the way here. He’s been running around the seat, making the highest pitch pig squeals that I have ever heard. “
Rob called Carin the next day to say that Piglet-in-a-box went to work with him to Petaluma.
“I kept him there while I was shoeing the horses.”
Piglet lived on Rob’s friend’s ranch in Byron, where he ate fresh but bruised vegetables and fruit every day. He was adored and spoiled, for a while, anyway.
Piglet lived next door to the ranch that Carin and Rob rented for six years in Byron, four hours away, when they had lived together.
Rob lives close by, and Carin lives on her horse ranchette in the rural part of the East Bay. He is protective of her by providing feedback on the work of the constant stream of contractors she has hired for her horse ranch. Rob comes by to help build fences, dig holes and to do what he does best, to shoe Carin’s seven horses.
Couldda Wouldda Dldda
Carin will never forget the day that Piglet came to her salon.