Monday, March 4, 2013


I ran across a family story the other day
in which my German great grandfather called my uncle "an old goose"
for playing an April Fool's joke on him.
There is something vaguely humorous about the word goose in any context.
Words like goosebumps, loosey-goosey, and gooseberries 
 fall somewhere around the borders of funny.

photo courtesy of

I found a website called Backyard Chickens
where people shared not chicken, but goose stories.
There are tales of a goose eating jalapeno peppers out of the garden,
his secret passion betrayed by mangled peppers
and seeds clinging to the offender's beak;
another story was about a goose
who would repeatedly grab the garden hose from its owner
and let the water run down its feathered breast--
not such a big deal except that the goose
wouldn't relinquish the hose once he got it;
and one concerning a young goose that imprinted on a little red wagon
and followed it everywhere the child took it.
The goose refused to go in the pond to swim
until they floated the wagon out a short distance from the shore.
Those were the most interesting.

photo courtesy of

For most of the rest, I would say "you'd have to be there"
since the majority of the stories involved geese chasing chickens, dogs, children,
and other geese, or about geese "goosing" someone who got too close to the goslings.

The geese I've observed around here never seem to be up to any unusual or funny antics,
but I wondered if Shire geese are just particularly staid
when compared to geese in other places.

When we lived in Wisconsin many years ago,
our apartment looked out over a pond inhabited by two Canadian geese.
We got in the bad habit of occasionally tossing them bread
and later, a handful of dry dog food flung out into the grass.

photo courtesy of

One morning we heard  knocking on the  patio door.
We pulled back the blinds and there was our goose,
peering through the glass panes, trying to see if someone was home
to serve breakfast. It's a funny memory to us--
a Canadian goose jonesing for dog food on a cold winter morning.
I guess you had to be there.

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