Katie’s Big Adventures
Katie com-puh-lete-ly ignored her mother’s call when she rounded the corner at the end of the street and took off to the nearest field. She knew she’d pay the price later, but the gate was open and she took her chance. As far as Katie was concerned, nothing compared to the feel of the wind in her face and hair as she ran at full speed and an open gate was an opportunity not to be ignored – she’d be back later.
The empty field at the end of the street (and around the corner) was one of Kate’s favorite places and always offered a variety of adventures to her. It was a busy place for a field: many other kids used it as a shortcut from school to home, as a miniature dirt bike track complete with kid-made bumps and jumps, and a couple of aged oak trees offered the perfect place for a tree fort, natch. There were always small tidbits of stuff that people would drop along the way and each was given a moment of consideration by Katie. Once, a single cookie left in a bag of what was many was found lying on the ground. Kate had no qualms about eating it. She was only six and her tastes were entirely undiscriminating.
Sometimes one or more of those kids would pass through the field and Katie would run and greet them as if they were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in forever. She just couldn’t help herself, she loved everybody. The trouble was that she was so dang cute that everyone stopped to indulge her. Her perfect button nose and inquisitive brown eyes worked their charm every time. Kids would stop and talk to her and bend down to pat her head and she marinated in their attention.
Often Abby-from-across-the-street would be in the field and she and Katie would play. Theirs was a shallow and tenuous friendship though and play was always a bit guarded. Abby was bigger than Katie for one thing, and Katie always resented Abby because she was free to roam the neighborhood and Katie wished fervently that she was as free. Usually Abby didn’t stick around too long anyways, she had better things to do than to hang out with little, small-fry Katie.
Normally the field was empty and Kate plodded along the well-worn paths which took her around the edges and in a circle back to the street crossing which would take her home. She stopped here and there, as stated before, to investigate whatever novelty was recently left behind. A squirrel or wayward cat made for a great game of chase (Kate possessed an inherent disdain for felines that her mother could never defeat) and there was always something lurking for her in the sweet pea patch.
The usual dogs would bark at her as she made her way through the high grass that was taller than her in places. She reveled in the momentary freedom she had compared to those who were stuck behind their fences. Consequently her walk amounted to a certain proud and healthy strut. Her mom always laughed at her when she walked like that. She called Katie ‘incorrigible,’ whatever that meant.
Now however, Katie’s mom was not laughing and she could hear the anger increase exponentially in her voice with each repeated call of “Kaaaaaayyyyytteeeeeeeeee!”
With great reluctance she turned toward home. She knew that if her mom got too angry she would start off after Katie and if that happened she would be in soooooo much trouble. One last look at an empty soda can and she took off across the road and around the corner at her highest speed, enjoying the wind in her face and hair, her feet kicking up wildly behind her.
Her mom caught sight of her and encouraged her home. Katie ran and greeted her mom with a smile whereupon she was scooped up and vigorously scolded while being smothered with kisses at the same time. “You silly little dog,” her mother said with great affection.
She put Katie down and they went inside. Katie got a drink out of the water bowl and then went to her bed where she circled three times before lying down. She closed her eyes and recalled each new smell and experience she just had. She then dreamt of an open gate and the wind in her face again……