Farm To Farm

by Spec MacQuayde, October 28, 2011

For years I always joked that my blue heeler bitch was going to leave me for a guy who had a pick-up truck. I was only half-joking, though, and always harbored a deep anxiety that it could easily happen — any time some friend with a truck stopped by the farm in Boonville to pick up milk, or whatever, Lupe would jump in the passenger door if it was left open. Actually she would just as soon have left me for a girl with a truck, as a lot of our farm's friends were women who drove big diesel rigs and pulled horse trailers.

“You got to have a truck,” everyone tells me.

I more or less agree, though seeing an elderly friend driving past in the horse and buggy, a glimmer in his eyes, I have to tell people I'm willing to drive as long as it's necessary to get this farm going, and no more than I have to. My plan in Indiana is the same as it was in Boonville: to gradually get to the point where I never have to go anywhere. So some friends from the city who want to see our yet-unnamed farm haul lettuce, at this point, insisted on helping me purchase a truck, partially because they knew if it was up to me I'd get a rusty Chevy from the '70's with the rumbling 350, and I still wouldn't really be able to drive all the way up north. We chose this Ford Ranger 4 X 4 with a manual transmission, and on Saturday afternoon I wheeled it into our farm's drive, relieved to be away from the city and freeway traffic, happy to be home where I could safely crack a beer, which I did, walking around to get some fresh air.

Lupe seemed unusually happy to see me, and I thought jeez I was only gone for two days — is she hungry? No. What's the matter with her? This dog was dragging herself trough the back lawn, slinking around me as low as a snake, rolling and literally bowing at my feet. Jumping up, barking, nipping, starting to really scare me. “What the hell, Lupe?” This went on for minutes, perhaps some elaborate dance handed down from her Dingo ancestors in the deserts of Australia. She'd never acted like this — NEVER. What, was she deranged? She was certainly possessed. Had she contracted some strange illness? Rabies?

No way. I thought of the truck. You got to be kidding. As I walked towards the Ford Ranger, I knew it was the case. She somehow had inferred this was “our” truck, and wanted to go for a ride. “Lupe, Jump IN!” I said, opening the door, and it was as if she was already on the floorboard.

Okay, I thought. “You're the funniest dog in the world.” Cruised the Ranger for a four mile loop around my neighbors' section of land, past Hollow Log Honey, to the river bottoms and the purple sun melting into the hills, and up the sand dunes to our place, with Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash singing “Walk the Line” together on the cd player. Lupe kept her nose next to the stick shift lever, her eyes on me, no doubt thinking, “What a man! I always knew this would happen, someday, if I stuck with him!”

When I parked at the farm, she dutifully hopped out and crawled under the warm oilpan, curling up and wagging her tail.

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