Miss Popcorn has a zoo which is all her own. It’s way behind the playground fence at the back of Tree Lane School. There is a sign saying, “Goatrun, Texas. Population 1.” She is never bored with her job as the school mascot. She was white and fluffy, so she looked like a giant piece of popcorn.
All the students love her and visit her at recess, and once in a while when they take a Gate Walk. A Gate Walk is a special privilege kids can earn which allows them to go to the schoolyard gate and back. The good part is they can choose their path. Sometimes they walk in circles or zig-zags!
It’s kind of like what adults call a coffee break but without sitting down and burning your mouth with a hot drink. So it really makes more sense, and it’s a lot more fun.
During recess Miss Popcorn watches to see if any children will bring her a sticker bouquet, her second favorite snack. They pick them from an unmowed area behind the fence which leads to the Great Rabbit Warren.
Her very favorite snack is fresh roses with thorns included, but no one ever brings her that. She has to escape her kingdom to get that, and she does once in a long while.
Sometimes Tree Lane School throws a party. They all love parties there! It might be a birthday, holiday, or just because Friday came around.
Tree Lane parties are interesting to see. Bubbles fly all over the school yard. Kids are swinging fly swatters and the sky fills with bubbles from the air conditioner too! They just hold that fly swatter dipped in bubbles up to the air conditioner fan and bubbles fill the air.
Game Stations are set up here and there. One has spoons and grapes, and the players race while carrying a grape. If they drop the grape, they have to start again. Some kids do a lot of starting again.
One of the most fun stations is the Goat Zoo. A few children at a time get to sit on the bench and watch Miss Popcorn’s antics. She gives them quite a show. She plays with her pet rabbit which we call Somebunny. But no one knows her real name. The students are still waiting for Miss Popcorn to decide, since the bunny is Miss Popcorn’s pet.
This talented goat lifts the lid on the Rabbit Hutch to say hello. Miss Popcorn seems to enjoy knowing that Somebunny loves her. They both love to touch noses, but the bunny jumps when Miss Popcorn closes the lid. That silly goat doesn’t know how to close a door gently like children can.
Sometimes they all get lucky enough to see a little brown wild rabbit venture out from The Great Rabbit Warren way behind the fence to see Miss Popcorn and her pet rabbit. When that happens, the children hold real still with their mouths open.
Miss Popcorn likes to entertain the kids by running up the slant board. She never gets to the top, but the children agree with her that the very next time she just might make it! The Slant Board is her own huge toy that The Man With the White Hair made for her.
Another way she keeps the kids interested in her zoo is by butting the fence. She has a head which seems to be stronger than cement. She hauls off and slams into the fence like it is an opponent in a goat game of Who Can Butt the Hardest.
Just before the students leave the Goat Zoo to go sling sponges at friends’ faces, they get to toss Goat Food into her feeding trough. If they hit it, they get an extra sponge to throw at the next Party Station. Maybe they can sling it at a teacher! This tired goat zookeeper enjoys having a snack and a break before the next group shows up.
Soon another group of children arrive at The Goat Zoo, and Miss Popcorn can start all over again. Maybe this group will get to see her dance. It’s shocking and funny to watch her twirl around and around. That’s why her breed is the Mexican Dancing Goat. Or she might even show off by trying to knock a few trees down. The trees don’t actually fall but they get real scared and end up with a few scars.
Miss Popcorn Goat is so happy when the children show up. She considers them part of her herd, along with the rabbits. She only dances when some of the herd comes out to play.
Tree Land kids are so lucky. Everyone agrees Miss Popcorn runs the best zoo in town!
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.