About birthday presents

Around 1986-87, Nikiski, Alaska and Boulder Point homestead

“How in the world are you going to haul a pig?” one of my friends asked me. “Besides, Susan and her boys were coming from Fairbanks to help celebrate Gail’s birthday.” (June 13)

“I’ll just put it in the car, take out the backseat and put in a box for the pig and two milk crates for the boys to sit on.” I will never be able to describe the look on his face! If I would have said a chicken or a rabbit or a duck, a cat or dog… but a pig!

I went to pick Susan and the boys up at the airport. But first I had to take the back seat out of my old green LTD. I struggled, tugged, pulled and pushed and finally got the huge backseat out, got in my car and headed for the airport in Kenai. I had the foresight to put the milk crates in the back for the boys to sit on, in the absence of a backseat.

Joe and Mike, ages 7 and 4, came running out of the airport to greet their grandma.

When I explained they had to sit on milk crates in the seatless back seat because we were going to Sterling to pick up a pig for Gail’s birthday, Joey looked at me with great suspicion, and with eyebrows raised, looked right in his Mom’s eyes and said, “Dad’s not going to like this!”

I was so glad to see Susan and the boys and busy jabbering that I did not pay much attention to the total disgust of two little boys that had lived in the city all their lives, dressed in nice slacks and cute shirts with perfect manners, being pushed into the bare cavern of a back seat. Then their Grandma telling them “just sit on the milk crates, we are going to go to Sterling and pick up a pig for Gail’s birthday. But first we have to pick up pig feed at Cadre’s in Soldotna.” Again, total silences. Off we went stopping to pick up a bag of pig feed, drove on out to Sterling to pick up the little birthday piggy!

We picked out the little pig, but there was a problem! The two milk crates, the bag of pig feed, and the box for the piggy to live, did not all fit in the back of the car. So this old Grandma in all her wisdom, took out one of the milk crates, parked Mike on one crate and told Joey to sit on the bag of pig feed next to the little pig in the box and off down the road we went to deliver the birthday pig! But not before I heard Joey tell Mike, “Dad really is not going to like this!”

We delivered the little piggy to Gail who lived back at Boulder Point on a homestead. To get there was a 2 mile rutted, dusty trail that sometimes had big holes full of standing water. So the trip was most difficult I am sure for two little boys trying to sit on a sack of pig feed and a milk crate. Gail was totally surprised, the pig was happy to be out of the box. The boys were very happy to run around looking at all the animals Gail had in her yard. It soon came to an end, they had to climb back in the seatless backseat, get back up on their milk crates for a ride to Grandma’s place.

Back then in the days of “do what you can to get by,” we had to make do. But in today’s world, I would have been put in jail for child endangerment and animal cruelty!

This story has been told many many times in our family, and was requested by friends and family for me to write this. Yes, it is a true story!

Happy Fourth of July and God bless America!

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self-taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci.net.

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