It was another crap day in Dry Prong and I was fit to be tied. For days on end the weather had been gloomy, gray and wet. Rain kept on coming and not letting up at all and I swore I thought I saw someone pull out their canoe.
I looked over at Willodean Ferris’ house and so far it hadn’t budged off its foundation, not yet that is, but her yard was beginning to look like a pond or so the geese thought so, for there were three of them gliding along the water. I decided to give her a call.
“Hey Willodean, how are you holding up?”
“Oh, I guess alright, but you know, I’m really worried about something?” Her voice got all shaky when she spoke.
“What’s troubling you?” Now, if you know Willodean like I do, then you know a bug could have smiled at her and she’d be having a fit.
“Well, the geese seemed to have found a home in my back yard and . . . well, what’s gonna happen when the water dries up?”
See, I told you so. “I guess they’ll just fly away to some other pond. Is that a problem?”
“Well, yeah that’s a problem, because were like family now. I mean, look how content they are back there! I wouldn’t want them to leave thinking I took their water away from them. I don’t like hurting anybody you know that, even if they are just animals.”
I stood there for a moment, let what she just said sink in real deep and then spoke, “Hunny, I don’t think those geese could care less if you had water or not, because they’re just geese! They go wherever they find water and park themselves in it. They don’t know whose lawn or park it is, they just come!”
“Oh, Charlese, now you don’t mean that really do you? They certainly do know where they’re at. They know it’s me, because I always leave bread crumbs out for them to eat on the old tree stump.”
“Willodean, unless you have a sign that says, The Honkers Bread Tray Café, they really don’t know. To them its food left outside, nothing else.”
There was silence for a few seconds, I could hear her breathing, sniffling . . . sniffling?
“Willodean are you crying?”
“No, I mean, yes. They can’t leave me! Charlese will you help me make a fence around my pond so that they won’t fly away?”
I was afraid of this, I surely was. I could see it coming just as plain as the nose on my face and it did, big time. I wanted to tell her that putting up that stupid fence wasn’t going to keep them . . . they can fly for pity sake! As for the pond, it wasn’t going to stay either, because there was never a pond to begin with, it’s just over soaked ground. Pond my fat brothers ass. Tension was building up inside me.
“Are you serious? Willodean, they can fly, they have wings and all. Putting up that fence . . .”
“Don’t you tell me another negative thought Charlese, you’re gonna help me like a friend should and that’s all there is to it. Now, you coming to help me or are you gonna be impolite?”
She just trumped me, the impolite card. My gran always told me to be polite, to be neighborly, because what you give to those in need you reap big rewards. I like to know what my big reward was gonna be putting up that fence. I would also like to know where Gran learned that from, because whoever said it didn’t know Willodean very well.
“Oh, alright I’ll be over.” I slammed the phone down on its receiver and swore a bunch of times as I stomped into my bedroom to get my work clothes.
Willodean has done some dumb things in her life, but I would have to say that this beat them all. I was testy, tugging at my clothes as I changed and shoved my feet into my crummy old tennis shoes. I was so mad I wanted to just throw my shoes instead. I wanted to throw them at something or someone, Willodean perhaps. The thought made me smile. “No, I can’t do that.”
Then I stomped my way over to her house. She stood there cooing at the dumb geese and talking all sugary to them, made my stomach turn it did. I cleared my throat to get her attention.
“Oh, you’ve come to help me how thoughtful!” She smiled so big that her teeth and gums took up most of her face. Charming.
“Yeah . . . thoughtful. What do you want me to do?” I so did not want to be here. No, no, no!
“Well, see that chicken wire and those metal fence thingies, we need to put the fence thingies in the ground, space them about three feet apart in a nice circle, then we’ll wrap the chicken wire around them!”
I didn’t say anything, because if I had, well, you don’t want to know. I went over took one of the green, metal thingies and began to shove them into the ground. Good thing the ground was soaked, because it just made working easier and faster. There is a God. As soon as I got all the posts in, I looked for Willodean to see if she was ready for the chicken wire . . . she was. I just drooped my head in disbelief. There she was, draped with a chef apron, long, long, green cleaning gloves and goggles. Oh, and shower cap. Her hands held up in front of her as if she were about to operate.
“What in blue blazes are you dressed up like that for?” I felt the pangs of laughter creeping up and I slapped my hand over my mouth when it kicked in.
With the look of sheer seriousness she said, “Why Charlese, when you’re working with wire you should always be safe.”
That’s when I let it rip. “Safe? Safe from what?”
She straightened herself up taller and glared at me. “Why safe from getting hurt by the wire of course!”
I sniggered. “Ok, Willodean, whatever. Let’s just get this done so I can enjoy the rest of my day.”
The drizzle of rain that had been falling just kept on, and I was becoming cold and terse. There I was holding the roll of chicken wire as Go Go Gadget hooked the wire around the posts. It looked dreadful, but Willodean thought it was a work of art. I was just glad to be finished.
“There, see? Doesn’t it look lovely? And my geese will always be here to greet me! I could sit out here and share my lunch with them and watch them swim. Thank you Charlese for helping me.”
Seeing her face all lit up like a candle and hearing how thrilled she was at having them geese in her yard, well, I was happy for her. “Glad to have helped. I’m going now, take care.”
I slowly turned myself around and headed home.
The days of doom and gloom finally left and I woke to find sun shine coming through my windows. It was going to be a great day.
“Come back, come back don’t leave, look I have bread crumbs!”
I didn’t have to look, I already knew what had happened. The geese were leaving, just like I told her.
“Geese . . . “I mumbled to myself.