Monday, January 17, 2011

Gustav's Great Escape

Once upon a time, Gustav broke free and went for a swim.

This is a very long story that involves more than a few cuss words, regrettably.  If you wish to read the Reader's Digest condensed, abridged, PG-13 version, just look at the pictures, read the captions, and scroll down to The End.

Once upon a Saturday, Chesapeake Bay Woman was happy that her friend Bayman had arrived to help put together her daughter’s new basketball goal, where help means he was going to do it because CBW doesn’t have the patience to read instructions or put things together.

As they were discussing whether or not the necessary tools were on hand, Bayman casually noted that Gustav the Killer Goose was out cavorting with two Canadian friends.

CBW, who ordinarily would not give two hoots what the killer goose was doing, noticed he was swimming up the creek, away from the house, to a land far away. And she knew right away this was a blessing in disguise since she and the goose were anything but BFFs a big problem.

Now most ordinary folks would say, “Oh, look, that goose is enjoying himself in the creek.”  But not CBW, whose family is anything but normal ordinary.

Although CBW wanted to dash out and throw streamers and confetti to wish Gustav a bon voyage, she knew that CB Mother does not allow Gustav to swim in the creek, because he might enjoy himself might not find his way home, and this would spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for Chesapeake Bay Mother, who keeps her animals very carefully imprisoned confined.

Realizing the life of misery that would ensue if she did nothing, CBW notified the proper authorities by telephoning her mother next door.

CBW:  “Hey, Gustav is in the creek.”
CB Mother:  “Oh, cheese and rice!!!!”

(Note: What she actually said rhymes with cheese and rice; they teach you in Sunday School not to say this under such circumstances, something about taking a name in vain and all.)

CBW hung up the phone and took a seat in her living room to watch the events she knew were about to unfold.

CB Mother, using her best Bruce Jenner form, sprinted across the yard with a bag of corn, hollering for Gustav to come back.

Gustav, well upwind, pretended not to notice and continued up the creek.

Chesapeake Bay Mother tried to lure him back with corn.  
CB Mother then darted to her car.

CBW very nonchalantly and matter-of-factly told Bayman, “She’s going to the cemetery now.”  The cemetery across the creek would put her closer to where Gustav was swimming. The last time he got loose she drove there and waded up and down the shoreline calling and directing him back home. 

Dear Queens Creek Neighbors, we just can't help it. Thanks for playing along and not calling the law.

In his version of the same story, CB Father, a mechanic whose concern leans more towards the vehicles than the animals on such a cold winter day, recounted, “She didn’t even wait for the car to warm up or anything!  She drove out of here so fast she broke all previous speed records set on this lane.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr., could not have caught her!”

From the comfort and warmth of her living room, CBW watched as CB Mother’s car pulled in on two wheels over at the cemetery.  

Gustav kept going.

A slightly baffled Bayman, wondering what planet he had landed on trying to understand why a goose shouldn’t be allowed to swim, watched intently as CB Mother attempted to direct the dim-witted goose back down the creek before returning to her car and driving away from the cemetery in defeat.

A little while later, CB Mother showed up to announce, “Well, he’s gone.  Gustav is dead. He’s dead!”

CBW, pointing at the tiny dot of white feathers making its way farther and farther down the creek towards the horizon, said, “He’s not dead! He’s right there.  Look.”

“He’s DEAD!!  He can’t fly, he’ll never find his way back. He’ll go ashore and a dog will eat him alive,” she said, wringing her hands.

CBW knew there was no use arguing even as she stared at the very much alive Gustav, right there in the middle of the frigid creek.

A visibly distraught CB Mother left.

After a long spell of silence, Bayman asked, “Do you want to take the canoe out there?”

CBW:  “No, but we have to.”

(In her head, her response was quite different, and it went something like, “Cheese and rice!  It’s 30 degrees out there, the wind is blowin’ a clip, and I’ve got to get in a (insert some strong profanity here) canoe to retrieve a (insert more profanity here, please) GOOSE?? )

When that didn't work, CBW braved the frigid waters in a canoe. Note there's ice there to the right.

Bayman and CBW dragged the canoe clear across the yard to her mother’s house since there was ice in the cove and no other place to put in.  Bundled up in a scarf, mittens, an attitude, and some very serious questions as to where exactly her sanity life went so awry, CBW began paddling in the very, very cold wind up the creek with a paddle towards one very ornery goose.

At first Gustav seemed agreeable and began to swim towards the canoe.  Then he changed his mind, resumed his natural state of ornery, and started swimming away.

After much ado, Gustav was finally herded so that he was swimming towards the house rather than out the mouth of the creek.  When he approached the shoreline, however, he took a wrong turn and headed down CBW’s cove, where the thin film of ice was.  If he got up on the ice, there was no way to retrieve him.

Realizing he was starting to flap his wings to elevate himself up onto the ice, and also knowing the creek was only knee-deep at this particular point, CBW jumped out of the canoe and ran after the beast.  After only five or six galloping strides, she herded him up onto the shoreline, where the thick marsh grass quickly ensnared him.

Then, knowing there was no other way to get him home due to the thickness of that prickly marsh grass, CBW did the unspeakable, the unthinkable.  With a canoe paddle in one hand for protection, she reached down and scooped up that goose under her left arm. Oh yes she did.

Soaking wet in the frigid temperatures, she trudged across the yard, pushing aside all thoughts relating to a panic attack  Gustav suddenly deciding to peck her eyeballs out or bite her on the neck.

Her mother, who clearly had been crying, raced out into the yard. She immediately asked how come CBW’s pants were soaked.  “Because I had to jump out of the boat.”

 “Why?” her mother asked. 

And then, knowing the goose was safe and the nightmare was over, but wondering what on Earth sort of question that was, CBW did the next most unthinkable thing besides picking up a killer goose. 

She shoved the goose into her mother’s arms and said, “Here’s your Godd@#* goose,” before doing an about face in her soaking wet pants and stomping in her soaking wet shoes towards her nice, warm, cozy, dry, gooseless house.

(They teach you not to say Godd@#  in Sunday School too, but sometimes after you’ve just chased a goose in freezing waters you can’t think of anything else to say.)  

After everyone did things they could not believe, Gustav was returned safely to his pen.  The End.

To clarify a few things for those of you with the obvious, logical questions:

1. Although Gustav is a goose, CB Mother does not allow him in the creek because he’s too dumb to find his way back home and might be eaten alive by dogs if he wanders into someone’s yard. (The dumb part is my theory; the dog part is hers.) 

2.   Having witnessed several previous attempted escapes and how much angst they cause my mother, I had no choice but to notify her and do everything in my power to retrieve that goose, no matter what my personal feelings are towards him. Otherwise, I’d never hear the end of, “You mean you saw him swim away and didn’t tell me?! Cheese and rice!!” 

3.  My mother used to keep her ducks zipped up in a nylon tent “for their own protection.”  Confinement seems to be preferable to freedom around here, especially if you’re a domesticated goose.

4.  I do not love the goose, but I love my mother, which is the only possible explanation for me jumping out of a canoe to scoop up an armful of evil in the middle of January on my day off.

5.  My apologies for all the cussing, but evidently I'm not done yet.

6. We’re all crazier than hell here in Mathews.

The End


deborah said...

Cheese and rice? Cheese and rice! You are my hero! I bow to your courage and actually picked that goose up! Wow!!

Ann Marie said...

I'd a shot his ass and said... NO.. he wasn't dead but he is NOW. (my CBM is now going to kill me)

Hacked by Jill.

Annie said...

What an exciting life you lead there!
What happened to the canoe? Hope it isn't floating down the creek?

Anonymous said...

The things we do in Mathews for FUN!!Where else can you spend a day off chasing a Goose! We need video next time!

Anonymous said...

"Crazy" is the new "normal."

Oh, by the way, thanks. Gustav thanks you too, only he doesn't realize it. I hope you and Bayman don't get the sniffles from exposure to cold.

Dumb animals are not put here for us to shoot and neither are people. None of my children shoot, but I sure can. And I'm good at it. You mess with my goose, you mess with me. We're both Democrats. Mum

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Deborah - I learned that phrase from my dear children -it's a nice substitution for the original saying plus it has the added benefit of making me laugh.

Jill - Uh oh, you've done it now.

Annie-For such a small little community there is NEVER a dull moment, and most people would not believe the stuff that happens. This is why I think a reality TV show set in Mathews would be wildly successful. Nothing would need to be staged, all they'd need to do is follow various characters around and they'd have enough fodder for years. To answer your question, Bayman pulled the canoe up on shore - the photo above is where he pulled it up. We actually "put in" in a different spot closer to my mother's house.

Anonymous - Oh, if only we had video!

Mumma - Yes, crazy is the new normal, evidently. At least around here.

Ann Marie said...

OMG... HOW does Jill keep getting my password.. THIS time it is a whole new user name. Mum, please don't worry I won't let her shoot the goose... she is just slightly insane and dumb herself. I apologize for her I will try my best to ensure she does not use my computer again.

Love Ann Marie

Oh FYI I know at least two of your kids can shoot.. heheheheh

Country Girl said...

You have my complete and utter admiration for what you did yesterday. I loved this story!

You must really love your mother.

(i loved that you called him an armful of evil).

Meg McCormick said...

You are a much better daughter than I. I totally would have feigned ignorance to the whole situation. "What, Gustav is missing? Why, I thought he was in his little fenced-in pen!"

I'm with Bayman - it's peculiar that we would be so worried about letting the goose swim, what with living right next to the water and all.

"I wonder what normal people do on Saturday" - *snort*

Trisha said...

Too funny! You are a good daughter for going to get the goose even though you really, honestly didn't want to.

It just shows how much you do love your mother!

Mental P Mama said...

Shut the front door! Please tell me Bayman had a camera.....

Snowtography said...

I had the great (mis?)fortune of moving into CBW territory 4 years ago this month. We "met" online when I found her blog...I can nearly see her house from mine and our kids went to the same school! So I can attest that things in Mathews ain't like they are anywhere else. And for that I am grateful. :) I hope to tag along with CBW on some photo shoots before too much longer and learn the fine art of trespassing...and to meet Gustav! Another great post, CBW.

Diane said...

You're a wonderful daughter. Cheese and rice that goose is evil!

Gustav, Cellmate #1 said...

almost got away
almost got away
almost got away

DRAT -- next time I'm heading for the bus station.


Jamie said...

Reminds me of the time my mom's horse got out when she wasn't home. He was an ex-racehorse. We tried tracking him in the Jeep. My brother suggested shooting him as we weren't sure we'd catch him. My sister tried "pretending" to be another horse by crawling on all fours. I finally caught him with a bucket of grain and a sing songy string of not very nice adjectives. The things we do for our mothers.

big hair envy said...

It's even funnier when illustrated!! Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction;)

Kay L. Davies said...

My laugh for the day. Actually, my hysteria for the day! SO funny, you of all people, wading into the icy water to pick up that armful of evil, when everyone in North America (and maybe the world) knows how much you hate him.
But now the world knows how much you love your mother.
You would have liked my mother. Her favorite expletive when we were kids was "Hell's bells and buckets of blood!"
Hope to get to Mathews myself some day. We'll bring our Golden Retriever, and Gustav can chase her. She needs the exercise. We won't let him hurt her, but your mother will start thinking about Gustav eating dogs instead of vice versa, and she'll be happy (your mother, not Lindy).
-- K

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

Anonymous said...

Thanks for saving Gustav...I am a little surprised that he didn't bite you. But, thanks for doing that! If you hadn't cursed at Mamma when you returned the goose, I'd say you deserve to be daughter of the month. Oh, well......

Love you!

Middle Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Middle Sis - I rarely cuss and do feel bad about saying what I did to our dear mother, although last night at dinner she said didn't remember me saying it! (I'll attribute her memory loss to PTGD, post-traumatic goose disorder.)

I also don't like referencing the foul/fowl language on this blog, but the fact is, it happened.

*#It happens. Especially when you find yourself overboard chasing a runaway goose in the dead of January.

See you this weekend for the party!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, after suffering severe trauma, small details surface which were previously blockaded out. I recall, after reflection, while trapping Gustav between the ice and shoreline, hearing Chesapeake Bay Father's lawn mower start up, and telling CBW what the noise was. She replied: "That's what happens around here. When in doubt, just jump on the %$#@$%^ lawn mower!


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Well, it's true! Any time there's a major crisis, a lawn mower starts up around here.

Here I am trying to holler for my mother from the creek and they've got to start up a lawn mower!

I completely forgot about that part. Thanks, Bayman, for being such a good sport in this highly unusual situation.

Jamie said...

OMG I am cring I'm laughing so hard... thanks for that Bayman!