Chapter 20 - Clearly Define the Obstacle before considering Solutions…

 

We camped that night under a large tree in the forest, for there were no houses near. The tree’s bough made a good, thick covering to protect us from the dew. Furthermore, there was enough dry wood and kindling for a raging campfire. Tired, we retired early with the intention of rising at first light.

 

I awoke to crimson rays creasing the horizon. I nudged Dorothy and after she wiped the sleep from her eyes, we made our way to a nearby rippling brook, where she washed her face. Upon our return, our tiny contingent was packed and ready. “Head out,” I barked, “Emerald City here we come.”

 

Our spirits were high, as we looked forward to putting the forest behind us. For reasons none of us could describe, the woods made us wary. After a bit, we came upon great ditch that cut through the road and divided the forest as far as we could see.

 

 “It’s a gully, though not especially wide,” said Scrobins.

 

“It’s a ditch and what’re we going to do to get across?” replied Dorothy, “Besides, if it were a gully, it would be more like a ravine.

 

“No it’s a rift,” said Manticore as we crept up to the edge and looked. “See how very deep, and note the many jagged rocks at the bottom, thus a rift.”

 

The sides are too steep to climb down; thus, it’s clearly a gorge,” insisted the Metal Woodman, “the rocks and rough sides make it so.”

 

William ate while our debate raged; but her humor got the best of her. She pushed a mouthful of leaves and stems out of the way to reveal her toothy smile.

 

I looked at William sternly and said, “No!”

 

Of course, she ignored me.

 

 “I do believe this qualifies more as a canyon,” William said with glee in her deep solid voice and mischief in her eyes.

 

 “A canyon, Kind Sir, it is not. Canyons are great and wide…more wide than deep,” insisted the Metal Woodman.

 

 “Kind, I am,” replied William, “Sir, I am not. Furthermore, if I had to choose otherwise, then I would go with” rift” rather than gorge, but remain firm in my position that it is indeed, a canyon.

 

 “What you’ve described, William would be called a chasm in Kansas,” Dorothy said. “While I agree that this is more of a gorge and less indeed, a ravine, your description, however, isn’t one that suits a canyon in any manner, shape, or form.

 

 “A chasm would be appropriate,” agreed Scrobins after a bit of thought.

 

“And what’s a chasm if not a deep ditch,” choked William, doing her best to stifle her chicken-chuckle.

 

 “A ditch,” replied the Manticore with continuous snaps of his tail, “is a man-made contrivance that’s been dug out and relates to the drainage of water...besides, this is my hunting ground, and who’s lived here the long…?”

 

 “Manticore, wouldn’t your description be more fitting for a dike or waterway?” William said.

 

 “If I may interject,” said Scrobins “Perhaps, but not likely, in that a dike seems more apt to hold water or restrict its flow whereas a waterway and a ditch is of such design to direct water. What say you, Dorothy?”

 

 “In Kansas…”

 

 “Stop…stop…enough…enough is enough. Once again, all of you are being tossed and tumbled by a whirlwind of words,” I said. “Gather yourselves and focus on the problem, which is crossing this….”

 

 “Chasm…,” insisted Dorothy

 

“Gully…,” said Scrobins

 

“G-O-R-G-E,” said the Woodman with a scowl.

 

 “Stop,” I shouted, “It doesn’t matter what the thing is, what matters is crossing it!”

 

 “Very well,” said Dorothy. “As Uncle Henry says, I’ll be the better man. You may all call the G-O-R-G-E, whatever you …”-hoo,” interrupted the scarecrow as he waved his red hanky at us. Once he had our attention, he continued. “You’re all wrong, quite wrong! There’s a stone memorial here and though it’s covered with bramble….”

 

Scrobins pulled vines aside, brushed off crud that made some of the words illegible and said, “The monument heading says Gitchy’s Gobble. So it’s a gobble and goes by none of the names that the lot of you foolishly argued about.”

 

The scarecrow looked up from his reading to gauge our reaction and continued, “Do you hear me? It’s a gobble and rest of the inscription says:

 

The East Fork of Goober Gulch,                                                  

Till the Quake of ’89

 When the Gulch Gobbled Gitchy,

Well Before His Prime

 

Chip Chopper scrunched up his nose and remarked,  “That’s foolishness. There’s no such thing as a gobble.”

 

“Try telling that to Gitchy,” replied Scrobins with a waggle of his straw forefinger. 

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