You really only have to be chased by a goose once to understand, but I was given the lesson repeatedly.
We lived about a mile from town. The road was quiet. People were quiet. The town was even quiet, so I was allowed to walk there alone at a very young age. The only real obstacle was the extended family of Canadian geese that lived on the shores of Lake Agnes. To get to town I had to pass directly by, more often through. And they were never happy about the intrusion. They watched me get closer. Their necks got higher. As I neared I could hear the hissing. Pink tongues rattling, warning, get away! But I had a shiny quarter in my pocket, which could buy a frozen candy bar from Rexall drug – my favorite summer treat – and I wasn’t about to give up. They barricaded the road before the railroad tracks that crossed just before the edge of the town. I could turn around or barrel through. I rubbed the quarter for luck and ran. The hissing rang in my ears. I could feel their breathy beaks so close to my chubby thighs. I ran. And I ran. All the way to Rexall’s. If I had turned around I would have seen they gave up long before I had stopped running. (Perhaps our greatest fears always do.)
Summer was meant for long walks in the sun. I walked to town almost every day, usually without money, often without fear, always happy to make the journey. Life will teach you everything. Sometimes again and again. And I am going to live it with all the chubby thighed enthusiasm of youth!