The morning I brought the gander to the road in the trashbin, I also loaded the wire crate into the back of the minivan, stumbling, burdened by my own helplessness. I was too fat. I was a bad person. I couldn’t handle anything. I checked to see that the kids were still watching Max and Ruby (OOBY! Mr. Mac says with delight), and went to go get the goose. After a few tries, ( too fat, see?) I caught her. Such delightful birds. Warm and soft and heavy. She laid her neck across my arm as I held her, too sad it seemed, to care what my plan was. A goose in hand is heavenly. I didn’t questions the Romans on this one.. I imagined her taking in our yard for the last time, her home where she had lost her gander. For as far as she was incapable of understanding his death, she would not understand why I was sending her away. The bumpy ride in the crate. Fear.
I shoved her into the crate and hesitated, my hand on the door. We would be goose negative. No more attacking the guests, no more festivals of joy at the waterers. No more gobbling down the weeds. That cute waddle. I paused just a little too long.
The goose made her decision, and gave the most abrupt honk. I jumped. She whacked me hard with a wing on her way out, a webbed toenail dragging the pocket on my jeans. She bounced down the driveway, flapping, honking, flapping, honking, and she didn’t stop until she was right in the thick of the chickens at the feeder. There she eyed me. There wouldn’t be any catching her again.
I looked the empty crate, the newspapers I’d smoothed so carefully. I could find a goose for her, and put it in this crate. Couldn’t I?
So off we went. At Agway, I told my sad story and insisted that my name go on a card. In case they heard of someone with too many geese. I answered an ad craigslist for a Toulouse goose, but he was two hours away. I’d never make it back in time for the school bus. I told my hay guy. Made sure he knew all about our sad goose, in case he knew of someone. He said he’d think on it. After I picked Blanche back up from preschool, the crate was still back there, creaking. We still needed a goose.
“Where are we going Mommy?” Blanche asked. I’d pulled off the highway one road early.
“We’re cold calling,” I told her. We’d ridden by the house a few times this summer, and there was always a duck or something walking around. The house was a mess.
“Look,” said Blanche, envious. “They have a potty on the porch.” There were also two washing machines out front, as well as a pile of old tires. I’ve learned a few things from living in the country, and I had a feeling about this place.
There are a lot of things I don’t know how to do. Waitress. Back up a trailer. Barrel race. But I know how to talk. We were going to knock on the door of this disastrously messy farmhouse and talk until they sold me a goose. Continue reading