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
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.