LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Every now and then a person sees a sight that defies belief. It happened to me Wednesday morning. The perfectly good camera in my hand went unused. I was in full denial.

Around 9 a.m., Buck, Maggie and I walked toward the listing front gate to fetch the morning paper and to paw through ripped up branches, limbs and wild vines pushed to the side of the dirt road looking for our friend Harold’s lost billfold. It was a fruitless search. We were trying to find something old, flat and faded brown in a sea of dead leaves.

We were just at the edge of the stream bed. There were nasty biting , flying bugs driving me wild. Usually if Buck is with me, he – being the sweeter one – gets bitten. Not that day. Those damn critters had a taste for the flesh of a brunette female.

Anyway.

Suddenly, Maggie got a whiff of something powerful. She put her nose to the dirt and took off like a freight train. She dove into the stream bed. “BARK! Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, BARK! It was her “bigger than a squirrel, but not a deer” bark. Stomping, running sounds followed.

Buck blew two sharp blasts on the whistle around his neck, Maggie’s “Come here right now” signal. And so she did, although it took a couple of extra blasts. She emerged from the stream bed, accompanied by  at least 300 pound of huge black wild boar. Oh. My. God. What the hell is that? Buck and I stood in the middle of the road, not believing our eyes. Maggie and the board stood across from us, not more than thirty steps away. The boar’s razor-sharp tusks curved over Maggie’s back. Maggie’s tail wiggled. She seemed unaccountably pleased, and it seemed like they knew one another. Buck called, “Maggie!” in a low, urgent voice. She trotted in our direction, while the boar crossed the road, back into the stream, and disappeared.

We never did find Harold’s billfold. He had to go all over town getting a new social security card and driver’s license, canceling his credit cards, and shedding tears over lost old photos of his youthful self and a sweet young Louise.

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