I checked. Borkowski Wrecking is still there.
Sunday, there were four generations sitting around our dining room table. We had a good meal, and everyone was still seated an hour and a half later. We gathered from several different towns from a couple of different countries and there were stories that had never been shared.
Or, if they had been shared, we’d forgotten them. More likely, everyone was well mannered enough to pretend the stories were fresh.
At one point, our son reminded me of one of our more epic road trips.
A few decades ago, back when I was still raising hogs and selling breeding stock, our son and I drove all the way across Minnesota to an auction in Wisconsin. We had a little trailer we pulled behind a little car. It was late fall and when we headed west on I90 it was spitting rain, which rapidly turned to ice.
To make a long story short, a semi passed us, changed lanes, and smashed the car flat, starting about three inches in front of my left foot.
The next few seconds were a bit of a blur. I do remember the lug nuts on the truck tire being at about eye level and getting rapidly closer. When things calmed down, we were sideways in the middle of the freeway with the trailer full of pregnant hogs upside down next to us.
I checked my son – undamaged. Checked myself – okay but just a tiny bit frazzled. I went to see how the hogs were faring. As I looked through a crack in the end gate, I heard a puzzled, “Oink?” It had already been kind of a long day for the hogs, and they seemed a little put out at the latest development. Luckily, the trailer was full of straw which had acted as a low-tech airbag.
After a while the good folks from Borkowski Wrecking showed up. I imagine it was just a normal day for them, other than the upside-down trailer of hogs, but I certainly appreciated their calm competence.
A vet I knew agreed to come get the hogs. They didn’t want to leave their trailer, for which I didn’t blame them, but climbing in the tiny trailer with them and pushing them out one at a time was a little less fun than it sounds.
When we checked into the motel, I tried to stay downwind of the night clerk. I didn’t want to take the chance of having to sleep in the parking lot.
It was about 10:00 p.m. by now, which put us at ten hours since our last meal. We ordered a pizza and that made the day complete for our son. He was about eight years old, the perfect age for this experience. He got to ride in a police car AND a tow truck, had a whole lot of strangers be nice to him, and then got to spend the night in a hotel and eat pizza at 11:00 p.m. He went for the home run. “Dad,” he said, “can we stay up really late?”
I said no.
I may have said it with emphasis.
I washed my clothes in the bathtub and went to bed.
The Greyhound bus for home left early in the morning. I had no trouble getting up on time.
We didn’t have much luggage - all our worldly possessions fit in a grease-stained cardboard box labeled “Borkowski Wrecking.”
My clothes were wrinkled, still smelled like hogs, and more than a bit soggy. No one sat by us on the bus.
I settled my son into his seat and went back into the truck stop to use the bathroom before we left.
The door stuck.
I heard the bus engine start up, through the closed bathroom door. My wife had been very understanding so far, but I had a feeling if my eight-year-old son rode the bus all the way home by himself while I crouched next to the toilet in a bus station bathroom in Winona, she might disapprove. I pulled out my only credit card and picked the lock and ran for the bus.
Only three hours to Minneapolis, a four-hour layover, and then five hours home.
Did I mention I ruined my credit card?
When we got off the bus in Minneapolis, my son thought it would be a good idea to have a hearty meal. I thought so as well, but we settled for a bag of licorice and three gum balls, because that’s all the money we had.
It was a long day, but our luggage, the box from Borkowski Wrecking, held up well.
Copyright 2021 Brent Olson
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