I hate geese. I am an animal lover extraordinaire, with the exception of geese. You may wonder why this particular species engenderers such anathema, what could cause a sane, rational, mature woman who is otherwise very kind, to feel the way I do.

When I was five years old we moved from the coast of Oregon to Montana. My Grammy and Grandpa had moved there to homestead and my parents decided to go out too. The ocean air was hard on my lungs and I was sick all the time. There was a 100 acre farm for me to run around on, to build up my strength.

We drove to Montana in a chartreuse 1950 Ford. Mama filled the back seat with pillows and put my baby brother in an apple box beside me. I was in charge of him because I was reliable and loved babies. I could change a diaper as well as women four times my age. There were no seat belts back then, so our nest was for safety as well as for sleeping.

I was so excited the day we left. We were going on an adventure. To a sickly little girl who only attended four weeks of 1st grade, and spent the remainder of the time in bed, ill with fever, this was the best thing that ever happened. I had been put in first grade at five. By then I read out of medical books and huge mysterious tomes. They passed me to second grade by having teacher give me a skills test. I loved school, read everything and made up rhymes all the time.

My brother Richard was my obsession. Unlike an older child who resents the newcomer, I fell right into taking care of him and would rock him by the hour. He was four months-old when he rode to Montana in an apple box. Everything about him was sweet-smelling and fascinating. Mama had given me two coloring books and a box of crayons, but I spent most of the trip fussing over the baby.

As we were crossing the mountain pass, getting close to our destination, I heard my Mama gasp and the next thing I knew she was over the back of the seat, holding my face into the pillows, shrieking,