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The Perilous Journey
She was four years old at last. She was so excited to be considered old enough to go to the grocery store all by herself. It was only a few blocks away, so what could happen now that she was so grown up? She could bring home the bread and oranges for the family, and how important that would be. She was ready to run that errand at the first opportunity.
She had the list and the ration stamps (World War II days) secured by a safety pin to her sleeve and off she went.
At the first corner she encountered a flock of hens and a proud rooster dusting themselves along the side of the dusty street. She thought it would be funny to scare them so she shouted “SHOOO!” while waving her arms at them. The hens panicked and and fluttered away which delighted her until she heard the ticking of rooster feet chasing after her, then giving her a good flogging and a lesson about good manners and respect.
She escaped the rooster and went on. At the next corner lived a black and white dog named Bootsie who objected to her walking past his house, so out he came with lots of barking and intimidating behavior until his owner yelled at him. She escaped and went on her way to the next corner where Bootsie’s brother lived. The barking and chasing was repeated, but she made it and turned the corner. This street passed the Catholic church and rectory which were bordered by a barberry bush hedge. To her dismay she saw that the hedge had been clipped recently and stickers covered the sidewalk. She was walking barefoot so had to stop often to remove a sticker. “OW, OW, OW!”
A snappy little spitz dog lived at the rectory so she tip-toed past hoping he was napping inside. She made it to the corner then turned to walk up Main Street to the grocery store. Her heart skipped a few beats when she saw Big Billy Bully Boy coming toward her from the opposite direction. Sure enough, he pulled her hair, shook her and shoved her down before letting her pass. She brushed herself off and continued to the store where she gave the clerk her note and ration stamps, filled her shopping bag and was ready to go home.
It occurred to her she would have to return by the same perilous route. Using her best four year old reasoning she decided to take a different route. Yes, it was the long way home and presented a few little perils along the way, but, at last, she reached the front porch of the little house and proudly handed over the groceries.
After that special day, however, she was not so anxious to go “all by myself” to the store, but did manage to work out some strategy to avoid at least some of the perils.
After all, “I didn’t promise you a rose garden.” Along with the roses were the thorns. Life’s little lessons…
-Contributed by Marilyn Goodwin