Lately I’ve been asked by a number of people to write another guest column before I leave for Sarasota/Panther Ridge, Florida, for the winter. I promised I would try. I went through some of the 120 columns I wrote for PN over the years, hoping I could get a good idea for another column. Of all the columns I penned, I think my favorite was titled “Going south with the birds.” So rather than writing a new column this month I am plagiarizing myself. Hope you like it because it is based on my experiences as a youth.
When I was a young boy growing up in the south, I always looked forward to late autumn, early winter and the migration of the geese.
In late November after the crops were harvested and the scarecrows stowed, the geese would descend upon the corn fields on our farm in flocks.
For weeks on end, the geese would launch out of the field daily and fly around for an hour or two, seemingly practicing for their long journey south. I always imagined they were having tryouts for the head goose position. Or maybe they were just trying to figure out their formation to make sure everyone knew their position in the V.
I’d often lay on my back in the warm Alabama sun and wonder what it would be like to be goose number one for the 1,200-mile flight to a warmer winter climate. I always made sure I visited the corn field daily so as not to miss the last take off and the joyous honking as they headed south.
What’s wrong with our Naperville geese? Are they lazy or just spoiled rotten? Going south to them is taking a short flight from Naperville Country Club to White Eagle. They’re so unorganized they don’t even fly in V formation. There’s no lead goose. I’ve even seen them flying in a reverse V where the lead goose is the laggard goose desperately flapping to keep up.
My editor says our geese are lazy and have no ambition to go anywhere because we do-gooders feed them all the time. Well, heck, Stephanie, what are we supposed to do with all the popcorn we have left over from The Lantern as we stroll the Riverwalk?
As I write this column I’m sitting in a cornfield in Myakka, Florida eagerly waiting to hear distant honking and to see my childhood buddies from Hamilton, Alabama, come crashing in. I’ve spent the last 15 years in Florida and they have never disappointed me.
Editor’s Note: Ed Channell led the way with his co-chairmen to raise funds for the Riverwalk 2000 Extension and Fredenhagen Park development. He supports the NEF Golf Outing every year and many other worthy causes. PN appreciates that he also contributed Ed’s Many Hats for a decade.