The Boneyard

"Joe Aarons's Morning Assignment made him the Evansville Courier's superstar for many years.

He won many awards including the National Headliners Club award for writing the best local interest column in the country in 1962. In 1977 his fellow Tri-State Journalists honored him with with the first Distinguished Service Award.

He is the author of five book: A Pig In The Gray Panel Truck, A Dandelion in Winter, Day of a President, Just a 100 Miles From Home, and The Journey in the Red Jalopy.

He worked for newspapers in Santa Fe, N.M., Monett, MO, Beckley WV, and Memphis, TN. He began working for the Evansville Courier in 1957.

Aaron was born in Cone, Texas and reared on a farm in Portales, NM. He attented the University of New Mexico where he graduated with honors with a degree in journalism.

The Pig in the Gray Panel Truck.

by Joe Aaron

Never take a pig on a vacation trip. That is my advice to you. Never take a pig on a trip of ANY kind. That also is my advice to you.

I am in a position, it just happens so, to know what I'm talking about. I know a whole lot about it.

For it came to pass one day, don't you see, that I put a 170-pound gilt in the car with me, told her brusquely to lie on the floor and hauled her from a farm in Spencer County, where I acquired her, to my own farm in Warrick County where, with a weary sigh and a brief prayer of thanksgiving, I put her into a barn and nailed the door shut behind her.

It is of the interim that I wish to tell you, so that you never will go and do likewise.

And I can tell you this - that dopey swine did not lie on the floor, as she was commanded to; neither did she behave herself, unless she has a might peculiar definition of "to behave."

To begin with, pigs get extremely car-sick. Did you know that? Well, they do, and you better take my word for it.

They tend, more often than not, to get car-sick on their master's jacket. If their master, by some miserable mischance, has TWO jackets in the car, they get sick on both of them.

If the master, moreover, has in the car a cardboard box of his newspaper writings - priceless stuff with heart and soul and the distilled wisdom of the ages - then pigs nibble weakly on them, and drool, and gag.

Which may or may not be a form of literary criticism.

Then they look at you with pitiful eyes that just break your heart, all but begging to be shot so the misery will end.

Never before in my life have I felt so sorry for a dumb animal and a fairly intelligent human being as I felt for that hog and me.

But that isn't all. It is scarcely even the beginning.

Pigs don't like to ride in cars. It scares them. No, that's not right either - it doesn't what you'd say SCARES them. It absolutely galvanizes them, hurling them into a squealing, jumping, jerking, rooting, snuffling panic as they try to muscle their way into the out-of-doors.

And that is how it came about that startled drivers along Indiana 61 that day saw a Yorkshire gilt drive - or seem to drive - a Volkswagen bus.

Well, she WASN'T driving, do you hear me? She wasn't. I happen to know my Indiana traffic laws and no hog is going to drive MY vehicle.

Oh, she tried, yeah; she was right up there in the seat with me at times. But is was MY hands on the wheel. I kept slugging her mercilessly in the snout with my elbow, bellowing. "Get back, you #*%%##&***, get BACK!"

And pretty soon she got back while she caught her breath. Then she thrust her head over my shoulder and did everything but criticize my driving.

Then she climbed back on the ledge behind the back seat, casually retching on my jackets and gazing soulfully out the the rear window.

Drivers behind us slowed to thirty miles an hour so they could follow and watch the show, shaken with rude laughter and pounding with mirth on their steering wheels. I kind of hoped they choked.

My "helper" on the trip, a journalistic colleague with a certain ribald turn to his nature, alternately laughed himself into a swoon and apologized with "I'm s-s-sorry, Joe, I c-c-can't h-h-help it."

He became a bit more sober, however, when the swine lunged at him, he stood facing the back of the bus to fight her off, I hit the brake in a moment of panic, when she tacked in my direction and went flying tail first into the windshield, shattering it into an attractive spider-web design.

I don't know what I'm going to tell the insurance company.

When I buy a farm in my NEXT incarnation, I shall raise chickens, I believe.

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