Hey, Diddle Diddle
The cats won’t use the litter
And the sheep jumped over the fence
The little dog laughed when I fell off the horse
And the socks ran away with my spoons!
It dawned on me this morning that Mother Goose had it all wrong. I got up and couldn’t find my socks. At least, not a matched set. Nothing new there, right? We all suffer from the runaway sock issue. I came out into the kitchen with my mix and match footwear and decided to treat myself to a bit of my mint custard ice cream. I looked for a spoon and realized that I’m really, really short on spoons! Where could they have gone? No doubt they’ve taken off with those socks. I need spoons.
Way back when Darling was just a wee sprout I came home with a trio of goslings. I’d been at the feed store and the guy there talked me out of ducks and into geese. Me, being the silly goose I am, fell for his, “They just want to be friends” line and had him box them up. City Boy was none to impressed with my purchase. Rather like Jack’s mom wasn’t so impressed with his trading the family cow for a handful of beans. No amount of “They just want to be friends” could convince City Boy that trading cash for goslings was a good idea.
Darling, however, loved those little geese and could be found every day outside with a gosling under each arm and the third one following her around. She was only two or three, so the goslings were nearly as big as she was and their weight made her just a bit more teeterish than she already was. Geese, if you didn’t know, will imprint on their mother and follow her everywhere. Since these little guys didn’t have a mum, Darling became their surrogate mother. Everywhere Darling went, her goslings were sure to follow. Mother Goose had arrived at my house.
One day Darling and I came inside for an afternoon nap. The goslings had been happily searching out bugs in the garden. Typically, we don’t get more than a couple weeks of warm summer weather, so air conditioning isn’t real common here, but it was scorching hot, so I left the front door open so as to give us a bit of air inside. Darling and I went into my bedroom and dozed off contentedly.
I’m not certain how long we’d slept. But I know what woke me up. Paddle paddle honk honk…paddle paddle honk honk… The geese were in my house! I flew out of bed, scared of the huge goosie gifts that they may have left in my carpet. Thankfully, they’d only just waddled in and were all in the kitchen; vinyl flooring! They were on a mission, however, looking under the table and chairs, behind the counter and in the trash can for their missing mother. I quickly gathered them up and sent them outside, closing the door behind them.
City Boy decided the goslings must go. But where? I decided to bring them down to the lake. It was the fifth of July, the parties were over, and I pulled down with three young geese in a dog crate in the back of my pick up. I backed up and opened the crate, calling my feathered friends down to the water. Now, these geese had never seen water before. Picture this: One goose cautiously approaches the gentle waves, reaching out it’s webbed toe towards the water as the other two buddy up to each other and gossip about how silly this is. The goose with his toe in the water screams, “It’s wet! It’s cold!” and runs back with his buddies. I pick up a couple of geese and dump them into the water. The third one doesn’t want to be left behind, so it runs as fast as it can down to the lake shore and gingerly steps in. Before long my goslings are playing and diving and having a blast. I carefully walk backwards up to my pick up, quietly opening and closing my door and begin to drive away. I look into my review mirror, anticipating seeing my little white charges frolicking and swimming out to freedom.
Instead I see three panicking goslings chasing across the road after me, screaming, “Mom!!! You forgot us!” Feathers were flying and wings were flapping frantically. City Boy wondered why I didn’t just step on the gas and drive faster, but I couldn’t do that to Darling’s little babies. Instead, I stopped and gathered them up and brought them home.
A few days later I asked the neighbors if they’d like some geese down in their cow pond. Sure, they replied, it’d be fun for the kids to watch the geese. And so over I came with three little geese, carrying two and allowing the third to follow me down through the cow pasture towards the pond. Now that they knew what water was, they jumped right in. I turned to run up the hill, but they came right after me. “Get ready to turn on the electric fence as I soon as I cross,” I’d told the neighbors, and they did as I’d asked. One small problem with this plan. Geese simply duck under hot wires.
There appears to be no escaping goslings who don’t want to be left behind, much to Darling’s delight. It would be a couple more months before City Boy came home to say he’d found someone at work who wanted watch geese. “Are they mean?” he’d asked City Boy. We all got a good laugh out of that. Darling, Grammar Nazi and I packed the goslings into the dog crate once more and drove them to their new home. They watched suspiciously as we backed away from them, but there was food on the ground, a pond and several ducks were milling about. Soon they forgot all about us. We toured the man’s farm, and by the time we made it back to the pond our geese had forgotten all about us.
As we drove away, my little Mother Goose pressed her little hands and nose up against the window of the car, watching her charges until they disappeared from sight.