Friday, April 13, 2012
It's A Goose!
Before Amy died, I made her several promises. One I wrote about here. Some others have taken me longer to fulfill. The two I'll mention in this post are 1) she wanted me to put some of her ashes in Lower Lake at Mt. Holyoke College (picture above) and 2) she didn't want us all sitting around crying when we talked of her. She wanted to be remembered with smiles or not at all. I easily promised the first of these, but was unsure if I could pull off the second. Turns out, these two promises are related....
When I first met Amy, we were firsties at Mt. Holyoke College. We lived right next door to each other in a dorm down on the lake. Now, in the lake there lived a sizable population of ducks. All of the ducks were mallards, except one. There was one white duck in the lake. Once, fairly early on in our first year, I was talking to Amy about something and she mentioned the swan in Lower Lake.
"What swan?" I asked.
"The white bird," she said, "the swan!"
"Amy, that isn't a swan," I replied, "It's a duck!"
After several retorts in which she insisted it was a swan, I explained that it was a domestic duck living among the mallards and that yes, normally ducks are brown (as she always thought they were), but that domestic ducks were actually white. It took some convincing, but she finally realized her mistake and we joked about it. For the rest of our time together, the punch line for every joke became, "It's a duck!" Anything we couldn't identify we would shrug and say, "It's a duck!" For graduation, I gave her a picture of the duck and I had the frame engraved with (you guessed it!) It's A Duck.
About 5 or 6 years ago, there was an article in the MHC Alumnae Quarterly about how this white duck that lived down on Lower Lake had died. It was very sad! Amy called me immediately and we laughed, sharing our memories of this duck that lived in our lake.
This is the story I shared with Erin as we went to MHC this past Friday to fulfill promise number 1 above. As we walked across the bridge to the lake, I was sharing the story and pointing out to Erin where we had lived and what fun things Amy and I had done in college. Taking Amy's ashes out of my bag, we gathered on the edge of the lake as I opened the box they are in. I was fighting back tears (breaking that second promise) as I reached in for some ashes. All of a sudden, this HUGE white bird comes charging out of the bushes and ATTACKS us! I'm NOT kidding! It came right at us, hissing and spitting and making a really ugly honking noise! It was a big-a@# GOOSE! Not knowing what to do, I flung one small handful of Amy's ashes into the lake, grabbed my child and stumbled up the small hill towards the dorm. Erin and I stood there looking at each other. We spent the next several minutes trying to put the ashes into the lake--Erin would go to one side and distract the duck and when it went after her, I would put in more ashes. When I approached the lake, it would turn away from her and come after me. Then Erin would get its attention again while I backed off and then when it went for her, I could go down to the edge again. Finally, when we had gotten enough of her ashes into the lake, we backed off for good. Geese are VERY territorial and, frankly, quite mean!! Erin and I were laughing as we were doing this and, as we crossed back over the bridge to the main part of campus, Erin said, "I don't know were Auntie Amy is right now, but I'm pretty sure she is laughing!"
Yeah, she is! Leave it to Amy to find such a creative way to help us fulfill the second promise!