One day our family, moved onto Uncle Ed’s farm. Uncle Ed was that: an uncle. He and Aunt Rachel were not really my aunt and uncle but my parent’s. They were slightly older than mom and dad, so not very old. They were very kind people, and interesting.
I don’t remember much about the inside of the house, but the outside, the neighborhood, was an explorer’s dream. My dog lassie, whose name was Snibley, was my faithful companion. Other inhabitants of the neighborhood were geese, the horse, and the chickens. The chickens had a long row house across the yard from our house, tucked enough into the tress so that their indiscretions would not unsettle and excite the neighbors. The horse was rarely out of his house in the early days. I just remember my dad riding him up to the house once. I also remember seeing the horse dead and bloated behind the trees and the pile of farm equipment.
Our neighborhood’s main flavor came from the snobbish click formed by a bunch of geese. The geese were always out, never at home. They belonged and others didn’t. They tolerated others as long as they stayed indoors. When one of us would come out of the house they would peer at us with their “holier than thou” contempt, never quite looking at us, that we might not feel welcome, but overbearingly discreetly glancing with the knowledge that we would make a wicked overstepping into the sacred ground that was their mud driveway. This mud drive was the link to the beyond, to the mailbox and the road that went to civilization: Mingo. But the mud drive was the domain of the geese. One on one, they weren’t all that bad. When together it was an “us” against him. My mom’s desire for mail was tempered by the un-approving honks of the judgmental self appointed guardians of decency. The geese owned the way. Mail and the connection to other eternal souls was only through their domain. We may walk it, but be very careful to keep your eyes straight ahead, keep an even steady pace, and do not get distracted by their threatening hissing. Lassie was like a former cult member, burnt by the self important, self righteous attitude, eager for an opportunity to make feathers fly, and so one day I told my mom I would go get the mail. She was relieved at not having to be exposed to the geese, but apprehensive of allowing her beloved son into the midst of such danger; but I knew lassie (his name was Snibley) would go with me eagerly and as soon as the first hissing threat came from the first gossiping, contentious, critical beak he flew into an ecstatic charge, scattering the old pretentious birds, each to whatever hiding place they could find, and that day the mail went through.