Monday, March 9, 2009

Ralph the Goose

This beast, which belongs to my mother, is named Beelzebub. Well, if he had a name that's what it would be. The evil goose and his twin Ralph have tortured this family for years on end. Ralph, alas, has passed away, but this devilish relative still hisses and spits next door.

I'm still not feeling right after being sick for over a week but it's back to work today so I am even less motivated to write anything. Thankfully Chesapeake Bay Mother has written about one of the hundreds of animals next door in her nature preserve, a killer goose.

Ralph the Goose
An Introduction
by Chesapeake Bay Mother

Sometimes well-meaning people give little children Easter gifts of baby animals, instead of candy likenesses, which are more practical. Usually the baby ducks, geese, rabbits, etc., grow to become problems with feathers or fur. I fell heir to some ducks and geese who failed to fit in well with the first owners; my thought was that I could manage to give them a pretty good life and, for the most part, that was the case.

Everyone settled in: fences were erected, plastic pools were provided* and those who got along stayed together. As every poultry person will attest, male birds just don't know how to get along with anything but an ear of corn; something to draw parallels from in that. Therefore, the two male geese were separated from each other and all else.

Occasionally the largest goose, already named "Ralph" by his former owners,was allowed the run of our 4-acre yard. Ralph was pure white and truly enormous and when his wings were spread they looked like those of an angel pictured in my Bible story book. The comparison ends there, however, though he was the most people friendly goose I have ever known. We never weighed him, but 25 pounds would not surprise me.

Although affectionate, a goose is a goose, is a goose; and a goose by any other name will still pinch hard enough to stop your heart! He had his uses and we were always grateful when he prevented the well-meaning but always intrusive Jehovah's Witnesses from paying a call. They took one look at Ralph, wings spread, coming at them with head in battle station mode and drove on.

Each of us has his own special Ralph story, including the grandchildren who learned to run very fast with Ralph as a personal trainer. Granddaughter owes her basketball defensive prowess to her constant "one-on-ones" with Ralph, offense being his only game. He gave new meaning to the term "pick and roll."

I think he liked me best, but I too wore the scars of his somewhat indecisive devotion. Bending over to fill his food container one day, he struck like lightening at the bull's eye of my most private place.** Illegal, immoral and unconstitutional, it taught me never to turn my back on anyone with my bottom in the air--altogether a good policy.

Whenever there were bruises--and there were some--we got huffy for a while, but always came around when he endeared himself by announcing the arrival of anyone who dared to set foot on our property. As everyone assured us, we would never be victims of a sneak attack by anyone but Ralph. True and true.


Chesapeake Bay Woman's Three Cents:

* The water fowl section of my mother's nature preserve includes 2 plastic swimming pools (made for small children but used recreationally by geese and ducks even though there is the entire Queens Creek right in our back yard); an enclosure made of chicken wire inside a wooden fence (two layers of entrapment); and a nylon tent, which is where the ducks sleep zipped up "for their own protection" each night. Lucky ducks.

** This happened to me once when I was in my own yard (where Ralph seldom ventured) bending over to reach a french fry from off the floor of my car. As soon as my hands touched that french fry, he zapped me right where it counted. My vocal chords suffered permanent damage from the ensuing scream, and I'm not sure which one of us was hissin' and spittin' the most. I do know I've had an aversion for cleaning out my car ever since, and I recoil at the sight of a dried up french fry. It could be argued successfully that I never cleaned out my car anyway, but this is neither here nor there. It's the goose's fault.


Annie said...

That is a good one...always the goose's fault!

very funny. Yes, I would use that excuse for not cleaning out my car...can borrow the duck?


Anonymous said...

'Pick and roll'...funny!

Anonymous Hallieford Resident

Autumnforest said...

Now that I'm far away from geese, I can laugh about it, but one time my mother thought it would be lovely to have white geese on our creek at our manor home in Fairfax. They were graceful gliding around on the water. As cars came down the driveway and crossed the bridge, however, they became territorial. Everyone had to laugh when they visited our home. My parents would have large fancy parties and the geese would promptly chase the cars up the driveway to their parking places, nipping at the tires. It used to be our dog did that (now he cowered under the barn). When I was little, I'd go into the boxwood gardens and pull their eggs out and place them in the fridge. Little children think an egg is an egg. I don't know how many geese eggs we had in the fridge. Eventually, as a group, they moved on. We celebrated and the dog finally went back to chasing the cars.

Grandma J said...

Now I know where the term "goosed" originated. I need more Ralph funny. Somehow I think my uncle Jack was a Ralph in a former life. Not that he ever goosed me.

foolery said...

That reminds me of the two reasons I will NEVER own a goose. First is the goosing thing. I was chased by a big goose when I was a toddler, and I never got over it. I'm rather crabby now, however, and I'm pretty sure the goose would get the worst of the deal and we'd be dining on greasy poultry that very night. I'll try to behave around Ralph in July.

Second, the phrase "like sh*# through a goose" should explain it.

Mental P Mama said...

Paté anyone?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie, you can have all the ducks and geese you want, really, I'll send them to you, although there may be some prohibitions related to exporting fowl, particularly foul fowl, to Australia.

Hallieford - She's full of 'em. Can come up with the stuff all day long.

Autumnforest - Your geese sound just like the ones next door - they are like watchdogs. No alarm system is needed (not that it is anyway, but still). And oh the eggs. The raccoons love them, which is one of the reasons our ducks/geese are so confined/restrained/trapped in several layers of fencing (and tents, as the case may be). My mother is worried that a raccoon will sprout a wild hair and attack one of the egg layers.

GJ - Exactly! And we're overdue on some more Jack stories...

Foolery - As ornery as I can be, I still can't out-mean these geese. You poor thing, traumatized as a toddler. That does leave permanent scars. I have those same scars and I wasn't traumatized until adulthood.

MPM - Mmmm....pate.....

big hair envy said...

My grandparents once thought it would be fun to have a couple of geese. After the male goose systematically (goosed) bit each of my sisters, and me, in unmentionalble places....they became Sunday dinner!!!

Anonymous said...

One of my sons, while growing up in Deltaville, at about the ripe old age of three, was attacked and violently pecked on the face by a renegade rooster, who, trespassing, had strayed away from the neighbor's chicken coop. Took a couple of stiches to patch the boy up, and one shotgun shell to finish the offending rooster. Woe be unto trespassing peckers!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - I've eaten goose only once, or was that duck, I don't know. Either way it tasted as I expected: as foul as their temperament.

Anonymous - Roosters! Oh, do I have a story about those, coming up some time this week, if I ever get a moment to type it up. Very disagreeable creatures, can't even imagine having one peck my son's face, how awful. Roosters and geese. Their default mood is violently nasty.

Although, of course we here at the Chesapeake Bay Family Compound are animal lovers and we'd never intentionally harm (or eat) a living creature who currently lives in our midst unless we're talking ants or moths inside the house.

And then all bets are off.

TSannie said...

You two...I certainly can easily see where your story telling talent comes from, CBW.

An aversion to french fries...brought on by being two just may have discovered the ultimate weight loss tool. Hmmmm...