“Mrs. Dunn! Mrs. Dunn!” I heard as I left the house to get to the barn. It was little Pickles the goat.
“Earnest says he’s taking a train to the sea?” she said, excited, and she ran back to her barn.
Instead of doing barn chores first, I went to Earnest’s hut. He was in good spirits, enjoying the sun on a chilly morning.
“Earnest, what is this I hear about a train trip?” I asked.
“Oh yes, I want to experience the sea, and also see E.B.White’s house,” he said.
Earnest has been enamored with the writing of E.B. White ever since I gave him a copy of “Charlotte’s Web” shortly before we moved to Maine. He began writing short prose and told me someday he’d visit Mr. White’s writing hut, to pay it homage. I’m not sure what the current owners would do if a pig showed up at the gate, especially when he announced his name was Earnest, not Wilbur.
“Perhaps you would like to accompany me,” Earnest said. “Trains are mysterious,” he said.
For seconds, I thought of the romance of traveling by train, the ocean coming in and out view, and my pig at my side.
Earnest continued, “You could bring Boone and ride on the bridal paths at Acadia, you said you wanted to someday,” Earnest said.
And for a few more seconds, I again thought of the joy of riding on a train, with my pig on one side and my horse on the other.
“You’d have to get to a bus first, and then maybe find a train to Brooklin, and there are restrictions about pigs on buses or trains, Earnest, and horses,” I said.
“I can only imagine what opinion piece Mr. White would write if he knew a gentleman pig who wanted to travel by train was being held back by the bureaucracy of a corporation,” Earnest said. “I so want to stand on the balcony of the caboose, like Lincoln, and wave to the villagers,” Earnest said.
We sat together soaking up the sun, not speaking, our breath showing in the twenty degree air.
“Look Earnest, how about we start off smaller. We’ll hook up the trailer and go to Pemaquid for the day. You can see the sea there,” I suggested.
“No caboose, no man in a black captain hat punching tickets, no bar car...no spirit of Mr. White on arrival,” Earnest said gloomily. And he got back under his straw bedding, leaving me to go do chores.
A few days later, I stopped to visit Earnest. He was out and about but I sat in his hut which has always been a comforting place for me.When we first got to Maine, Earnest had pinned a Maine map, and a photo of Mr. White, on his wall. I looked up to see them still there, but now the map had a dark line drawn from Bremen to Brooklin, and the handwritten word, someday, was scrawled next to it.