Fragility and the Geese

If you park your truck facing the sun and leave your beans and rice on the dashboard the Texas summer sun will warm it to eating temperature and melt the butter by lunchtime.

We’d heard the geese but couldn’t see them. Climbed down from the roof, dropped our tools somewhere they wouldn’t get hot, got our Mexican food from his truck and sat in the shade to eat.

I said something almost funny. Probably about as witty as “Duck, it’s the geese!” though it’s been so long I don’t remember.

The geese went wild. The gaggle made a squawking noise that sounded like 23 old men laughing.

He said something, probably actually funny because he’d had a moment to think.

Even the crickets didn’t chirp.

I made a smug comment about his joke, and the geese went wild.

We played this back and forth all through our 10-minute lunch. The geese loved my jokes and ignored his.

We’re both storytellers like our father was, and we both think we’re pretty good, but I’d never have thought that I’d be so pleased and he’d be so miffed that a bunch of geese were more agitated at the sound of my voice than his.

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