When I was about 16 I liked to get into mischief with my friend Mary. The mischief was always of a harmless nature. We liked to sneak onto the golf course for a swim, in what we later learned was non-potable water. Or jump into hotel pools and other such Tom Foolery. One such night ended with a new companion for myself, Chestnut. No I did not steal Chestnut from anybody's yard---and that's all I am going to say on the matter.
Anyway, Chestnut the pink lawn flamingo had no legs. Initially I tried to fashion some legs for my flamingo, but all of my attempts were disappointing. Somehow along the way I became a bit obsessed with this legless flamingo. Chestnut found his way onto (not into, ONTO) my backpack. I had one of those backpacks with an unnecessary bungee cord on the back so I used that to secure Chestnut. I would walk proudly through my high school with Chestnut on my back. If you want an explanation for this I am sorry to disappoint, but I don't have one. I did this for a couple of years and then I stopped carrying a backpack when I went to college.
Chestnut found his way into my room and there he stayed. I moved to a new state and he moved with me, one of my few possessions at the time. Several times I thought I should get rid of that pink flamingo, but I couldn't. For the longest time I couldn't even tell you why I was unable to part with him; I just had to keep him. Eventually I came to think of Chestnut as something of a personal mascot...but now I realize that he is even more than that to me. Chestnut serves to be something of a reminder of the person that I really am. I may have found myself in this life, with this family, with these responsibilities. I may start to take myself seriously as a mother, artist, art historian, professor----but then I spot Chestnut and I remember that I am still the girl that wants to get into mischief and is happiest being a little odd.