Wilbur and Mole


I want to spend a moment thinking about two of my favorite authors. E.B. White did not just teach us about punctuation and how best to compose a sentence; he also gave us Wilbur, the pig in Charlotte’s Web.

Diane and I have spent the last few days in Kansas City, Missouri and today in Iowa.

Arthur Bryant probably wrote the Bible on how to slow cook and smoke pork ribs. Kansas City may have another 50 barbecue joints but Bryant’s BBQ is what they are all compared to. As Charlotte might say “Bryant’s is some barbecue!”

Carl Sandburg once said that Chicago is the “hog butcher of the world.” Well, Iowa produces them all.

Wilbur is some pig. Arthur Bryant says so. So does Chicago.

Bill and Wilbur at Arthur Bryant’s BBQ

E.B. White also, talked, a lot about commas. I never got quite the hang of commas. Except, commas are not something you end a sentence with he said, I think. Sort of like prepositions…


Tonight Diane and I are parked right next to the Missouri River.

In our travels we have crossed over the Columbia River, the Mississippi, the Arkansas River, and other Rivers too numerous to mention.

In a previous journey we slept right next to the Mississippi, the Big Muddy, in New Orleans. While we were in West Memphis, Arkansas, we slept once again next to the Mississippi.

Kenneth Grahame, in Wind in the Willows, reminds us that Rivers are story bearers; they carry tales of secrets from far away, bring them by you and move them on.

Kenneth Grahame knew of the secret beauty of rivers. He learned about Rivers from Mole.

Kenneth says about Mole,

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before—this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver—glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

Diane and I have joined the Mole and Ratty in journeying by such Great and Small Rivers and have pledged to carry the stories that were brought to us from the heart of the world to the great insatiable sea when we arrive back home.



Here’s to Wilbur, here’s to Mole!


Post by Bill.

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