Many years ago I kept chickens. I didn’t keep them to eat them. I didn’t even care if they laid eggs. I just liked chickens. Like many things in my life, they became a collection of sorts. Everyone should have a chicken collection at least once in their life. But I’m not here to talk about chickens, I’m here to talk about geese.
Since I was keeping a coop anyhow, why not have a couple of geese? We found a place not too far away that bred Pilgrim geese and I was hell-bent on having some. The cool thing about Pilgrims is that you can tell the sexes apart. The males are white and the females are gray. I picked up my goslings, one gray, one white and named them yin and yang. I brought them home in hopes that they would flourish. And flourish, they did!
These geese terrorized my poor husband Bill. He would get out of the car and they would be right there hissing at him with their necks extended. He was not a fan of the geese, and the feeling was mutual. In an effort to win them over, he would feed them bread a few pieces at a time. It didn’t work.
Let me just make it clear that I realize Bill is dressed rather oddly here. It’s not often you can see a man feeding geese while wearing a postal uniform shirt and red shorts that look like skorts. Oh, how I hate those ‘skorty shorts. He says they are perfect for bike rides. I think they are the perfect contraceptive fashion statement. We won’t even talk about the moccasin slippers, but hey…Look at those socks!!!” How can you NOT look at those socks!?
To be fair, that shocked look on his face is there because he didn’t expect me to take a picture of him. That face is very much like the face he gave me when I showed him the picture and told him I was going to post it. He truly is a long-suffering husband.
Obviously, I’ve digressed. As you can see in the photo, he would tear up the bread and feed them the small pieces. I have since learned that his feeding ritual wasn’t always so peaceful. Apparently, when he fed them those bread bits, the geese would often hiss at him and sometimes even charge at him! My mild-mannered husband would then take the slices of bread, ball them up into goose-seeking projectiles and proceed to take his shots! The geese were not amused. I think it’s safe to say that goose-bombing did not improve the Bill/goose diplomacy issues. He tried to win them over and failed. He tried to bomb them and failed. All that resulted was an escalation of force.
You will notice that there are three geese in the top pic, and they are all gray. That’s because my white gander ended up in a fight. Somehow a skunk got into the chicken coop. The gander obviously was not happy with the unwanted interloper. In the scuffle, the chicken door closed behind the skunk, and suddenly and they were in a cage match to the death. From what I found in the aftermath, it was quite a skirmish. The combatants were serious. Dead serious. Neither survived. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see it. As it was, I thought I’d have to put 9 chickens through psychotherapy because they were never the same. Psycho Chicken…ok, let’s not go there.
I was down to one gray goose. Yang was gone and Yin was a lone widow goose. At least she was until the morning I looked out the window and I was seeing triple. There were three gray geese out there! Three! We asked if any of the neighbors were missing two geese. Truly we asked one neighbor. There is only one house close enough to make a goose pilgrimage feasible. No missing geese, however, it was postulated that people up the road had a pair and perhaps they ummm “lost” them on our lawn. That might be true because one of them had a wing deformity as you can see in the pics. Perhaps they only wanted mint condition geese.
These three geese, named Yin, Winger, and Goozilla, were well known by all who traveled our road. They loved the side of the road, especially when it was raining. If we met someone new and we were trying to describe the place we would always start out with “white cape with the rose hedge….” and by that time they would interject with “You’re the people with the geese!” I always interpreted that excitable tone to the fact that they liked geese, too. Bill pointed out that perhaps they had some car-swerving-to-miss-goose excitement near our house and that was the cause of the excitable tone. What did they know? I just saw the geese as fun moving lawn ornaments. Who doesn’t love a moving lawn ornament when it’s fun?
Then the unthinkable happened. Ok, Bill said it was very thinkable. Everyone thought it was very thinkable, except me. I was shocked when Yin was hit by a pulp truck. She was standing between the rose hedge and the road and had nowhere to go. I picked up her limp body and placed her on the lawn and went looking for a shovel so I could bury her. Shovel in hand, I came around the corner of the house and there she was, walking across the lawn! I won’t say she would have passed a sobriety test because she was pretty wobbly, but she was walking! By the next day, she was fine. I never did find out how the pulp truck fared.
This last bit will seem rather far-fetched, but I swear it is true.
I had an online friend who got a kick out of my descriptions of rural life. He lived in Atlanta and he couldn’t wrap his head around the workings of a town as small as Cornville. I proposed a test. I told him to send a postcard addressed like this:
Linda with the geese, 04976
That was it. No number, no street, not even a town. That last part was particularly impressive because our town doesn’t have a post office or its own zip code. Our mail comes out of the next town over. That meant that a mail carrier, in another town, had to figure out who I was. I got the envelope in two days. Not bad from Atlanta. That wasn’t bad even if it had been properly addressed! I guess my geese really were famous!
I told my friend I had received it and he asked what the message was inside to prove that I truly got it. I read it back to him and it said: “If you get this, I will be astonished.” Yup, he was astonished.