In my kindergarten, we had a linoleum floor with the alphabet printed on it in a twenty-six-person circle. This circle was where we sat when we did certain class activities, including something related to the Pilgrim and Indian costumes we wore for Thanksgiving, and including playing Duck Duck Goose. I always did like Duck Duck Goose. I can't tell you why. I did also love it when the chicks and ducklings we'd been incubating in the deep red incubator by the classroom door hatched. We sat on the letters in the circle and passed the duckling hand to hand around the circle, occasionally putting it down and letting it toddle along on its awkward legs and too-big feet. Just as it was coming to me, the duckling shat on the floor. I don't have a memory of holding the duckling, and it's possible that my kindergarten teacher and/or the aide put it back into its pen right then.
I think I would remember holding the duckling, because I remember holding other tiny animals--a black and white kitten named Winston, whom we almost adopted when I was about nine, for instance, but whom our older, tougher cat couldn't stand, particularly since Winston was the one who copped an attitude with Blackjack. I remember holding Winston, and other kittens, and feeling how near the surface of the skin their fine bones were, how soft and small their ears and nose and eyes were.
On my way to the grocery store Thursday night, I passed the Canada geese who live near my doctor's office, on and near a subdivision's pond. The geese were all sitting side by side along the edge of the pond, and sitting there with them were their goslings, still small and yellowy-fluffy. This afternoon, as I returned from getting ingredients to make pie for my department, I saw the geese and goslings yet again: the parents were waddling along, bending their long black necks and beaking the grass around them, while the goslings teeter-tottered along nearby.
Tonight we had a departmental dinner, which reminded me, as if I needed reminding, of how fortunate I am to have the colleagues I do. (And how blessed to have parents who kept their eyes out until they found a pie basket with which I could replace my old cardboard "Pie [Pah] Box.") And what a feast. Now, for some reason, the village coffee shop's counter instructed me this morning that
I suspect that this message may have had something to do with Kenyon's big semester-end festival (which just ended about fifteen minutes ago), or something to do with Tuesday's primary elections. Mainly, I suspect that I need to get a labeler of my own. It certainly did not slow down my inclinations to party with my friends and colleagues this evening.
Home again, I finished making the other pie that I hadn't had time to complete before we left for dinner. That first one was cherry. This late-night project: mixed berry. It has just come out of the oven and is continuing to bubble and cook its innards, there on my stovetop. I have yet to decide what to do with this pie, but I'm leaning toward taking it in tomorrow to feed people during the continuation of our weekend's departmental activities. Just when we were all maybe about to tire too much, here we are getting to talk to and eat with each other like full-on adult people, and it is a pleasure and a sustenance.