December 1, 2013 – A delivery truck on its way to the little store in the center of town, hit a frost heave not far from our home. The jolt sent wooden crates loaded with produce reeling about in the cargo area until they bounced off the back of the truck exploding with a splat on the side of the road. Gertrude, Mrs. Turner’s goat, saw the entire incident unfold. She called me on my cellphone.
“Hap! You’ve got to get down here. Bring the ladies and the red wagon! There are heads of romaine… spinach and radicchio leaves… carrots, celery stalks, apples… oh my! It’s a smorgasbord! I’m filling up my cart right now and there’s plenty more to be had!”
What a great way to start December! I grabbed Addie, Sawyer and Wilma and took off toward the site. I hurriedly pulled the wagon behind me until we hit the crest of the hill on the stretch of road just before the spot where our friend waited. I jumped into it and yelled to the other three to follow suit. The four of us exploded into the biting wind, picking up speed with each passing second. We were traveling so fast that we nearly blew past Trudy. We would have missed the stop altogether if Wilma hadn’t tossed the rope and the bag of sand out the back end. That’s why she’s always last. She’s the anchor hen.
Trudy wasn’t kidding. There was produce all over the place! I even found a few jars of peanut butter and jelly with dented lids. It was like winning the lottery!
“Maybe we should try to find the driver of the truck,” Addie commented as the last head of lettuce was being consumed on the spot by Gertrude. The goat shook her head in disapproval.
“Don’t worry about it,” she replied. “I’ve been through this before. The driver can’t sell the food once it hits the ground. It’s considered contaminated for human use. He’d have to throw it away. Plus, we’re helping him by cleaning up the mess.”
“Still,” Sawyer deliberated, “Addie has a point. We should find him and at least tell him what we’ve done. I wouldn’t feel right about taking this otherwise.”
The girls were spot on. Wilma and Addie agreed to head back home with the wagon, while Sawyer and I continued on to the Center Store in hopes of catching up with the delivery man. We arrived just as he was about to hop back up behind the wheel. We explained who we were and how the crates fell off the back of the truck. He didn’t seem at all distracted by the fact that he was talking to chickens. Sawyer and I get that a lot. It’s because we’re strikingly beautiful and the human doesn’t realize that we’re birds.
Anyway, the driver told us that he saw a couple of crates fall out. He took full responsibility for the mishap since he had forgotten to pull down the roll door before driving away from his last stop. He thanked us for cleaning up and said we were welcome to have whatever was salvageable.
The best part was when he gave us a ride home in his truck! Sawyer was a bit hesitant since we didn’t really know him, but I told her not to worry. I was watching a Kung-Fu movie when Trudy’s call came in. I memorized all the moves. The cab was enormous! I could picture myself at the helm travelling across country. Sawyer must have sensed what I was thinking. She whispered not to expect for one second that she would work the pedals on a vehicle that big.
A minute later and Adam, (that was his name), dropped us off at the end of our driveway. The truck beeped as it backed into the road and we waved goodbye to our new friend. He honked the horn and waved back with his entire arm. Mom was just coming out of the house. Oh, boy.
We came clean, as honesty seems to work best with her. She listened to our story, upset that we had taken a ride with someone we didn’t know. She’s signing us up for an online Stranger Danger class this week. But she checked over the produce and decided we could keep it.
Needless to say that we’re all stuffed tonight. I sent a text to Gertrude thanking her for the heads up. She’s a good kid, that goat.
I wonder what other surprises this month will hold.