Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ralph the Gooose

Gustav 2011

This is a shameless reposting of a story written in 2009 by my mother about Gustav's friend Ralph, who left this life for Goose Hell Heaven several years ago. Enjoy.

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 Two Cents:

* The water fowl section of my mother's nature preserve includes several plastic swimming pools made for small children but used recreationally by geese and ducks (when they were still alive) even though there is the entire Queens Creek right in our back yard; and an enclosure made of chicken wire inside a wooden fence (two layers of entrapment).  At one point there was also a nylon tent, which is where the ducks slept all nice and incarcerated 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) minding my own business, 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. Mypsyche  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.

Beelzebub Gustav 2011


deborah said...

This reinforces my fear of geese and gooses. A goose will goose you when least expected! My friend had two of those large white geese as 'guard dogs' and more than once I was sent running and screaming. Your mother is one tough cookie to care for a goose and I admire her!

Kay L. Davies said...

This reinforces my fear of cleaning out my car.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mental P Mama said...

Your mother can do anything she wants! Ahhhhh Luuuvvvvvveeee herrrrrrrrrrrr.

Deltaville Jamie said...

The commune definitely needs a goose or two. We had ducks once when I lived at home the last time. 7 Pekin ducks. They had a plastic wading pool too and every day I'd herd them up to the pool then herd them back to their own stall in the barn. Then one by one a fox took the ducks.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I prefer the rubber duckies,Deltaville Jamie style!

Anonymous said...

Queens Creek attracts some formidable predators, the wiley fox, a random bobcat, raccoons and possibly a coyote. Ergo the tent, fence, etc. I remind you we buried two and found blood on the ground affirming that three were eaten by predators. I saw the bald eagle buzzing a wild duck in the creek and knew little white ducks who can't fly would be taloned away. It's a cruel world and I try to cut down on cruelty when possible.

Ralph was affectionate, territorial, and all goose. I miss him. Mum

Nates Pics said...

Sounds like he certainly was affectionate - especially if you were hoarding a french fry. :)

foolery said...

Just as good the second time around, and reaffirms my belief that Mathews County grows talented writers by the fistful.

Also, Kay's comment for the win! ; )

p.s. I'm-a stealin' that there Gustav pic fer the Gustav fan page, okay?

GRSshoes said...

Nice post.