4:45am. There is a fifty pound bird in the tree outside the open window CHIRPING in letters 10 feet tall. Surely soon his head will explode with the effort. At least I hope so. Although we did get the house painted this past spring and fifty pounds of exploded bird would be a lot of power washing.
Still, the satisfaction of his head exploding right in the middle of the CHIR—-Boooooooooooooooooom! … it could be worth it.
None of the other birds are answering him. I know they can hear him because the window panes are rattling slightly with every booming CHIRP. “Don’t you DARE answer him!” sternly whispers Mrs. Robin in Mr. Robin’s ear. Mr. Robin sighs and goes back to reading the gardening section. All the neighborhood girl robins are giggling. “Wow, look at the size of his CHIRP!” they whisper, while their moms lock them all in the closet at the back of the nests and throw away the key.
The year we moved into the house there was a socially awkward goose in our cove. It was very, very sad. I’m not sure if he had anger management issues or perhaps the other geese had a bigger HONK; either way it appeared he had no friends. I couldn’t really blame the other geese even though it did make me feel badly for him. I remember the first day I saw him. I was sitting outside with a cup of coffee, enjoying the beautiful morning. A goose couple were floating about rhythmically yelling at each other, HOUNK then HONK then HOUNK then HONK, repeatedly. There was really no need for them to yell, they were only about six inches from each other. In all honestly it was very irritating. Irritating, but not attack provoking.
Suddenly from the end of my cove arose a fury of goose, taking a running start on the surface of the lake and gaining altitude he went speeding just above the water directly for the geese doing about 60 and BAM he slammed into the back of the goose’s neck, feathers flying HOUNK HONK HOUNK HONK HOUNK HONK. The offending goose scrambled across the water, finally managing flight with Socially Awkward Goose in hot pursuit.
“Hounk? Hounk?” questioned the abandoned half of the goose couple, paddling forlornly.
A couple days later they were back, hounking and honking. I learned to know whenever they were around by their distinctive and, frankly, incredibly boring conversation. Hi, I’m home! Hi, how was your day? Hi, I’m home! Hi, how was your day? Hi, I’m home!…and then he’s off again, S.A. Goose flying angrily across the lake and nailing the offending goose again…again… “Hounk? Hounk?” she would query as the two flew off, S.A. in hot pursuit of Offending Goose.
I began to wonder if O.G. was perhaps HONKING insults? “HONK! (I’ve got a mate and you don’t)” “HONK! (nanner nanner nanner)”
Finally the 4th of July rolls around. S.A.G. was, as usual, all by himself, floating in circles at the far end of the cove. I noticed geese were beginning to gather in the lawn next to the boat launch across the lake. They were all walking around with their little adolescent geese mingling, honking and muttering. It looked like a picnic only without hot dogs. Which would be a very sucky picnic, if you ask me. You have to have hot dogs. They need to have those almost black, but not quite black, burned-y stripes on them, and the buns have to be balloon bread buns, where you slather on a whole bunch of cheap yellow mustard and put the hot dog in the bun and squish the bun around the hot dog until the air is all out of the bun and it’s kinda stuck to the hot dog. Nom Nom Nom, Repeat. Also if you can get your hands on some Chili Cheese Fritos, that’s about all you need. Maybe a diet Dr. Pepper, but that’s it.
Anyway, what do geese know? They apparently thought it was a great picnic and they were all walking around eating bugs out of the grass and murmuring-honking at each other “honk wow Henry, the chicks are getting big!” “yep, yep,” said Henry, “pretty soon we’ll be kicking them out of the nest.” “It goes so fast, doesn’t, Henry, old boy?”
Meanwhile S.A.G. had moved a few houses down, hiding on the other side of a docked boat. He’d kinda honk a little, then he’d swim to the front of the boat and peer down the lake at the goose picnic. Then he’d swim back toward shore and float. Then, back to the front of the boat, peering. Back – forth. Back – forth, honking softly to himself.
I wanted to shout at him. “SOCIALLY AWKWARD GOOSE! IT’S OK! JUST GO SAY ‘HI’ AND ‘I’M SORRY I BASHED YOU IN THE NECK'”!!!
But, I couldn’t. He didn’t understand English and the shouting appeared to frighten him. Plus the neighbors were all out having their own picnics, staring at me, shouting at a goose.
So, on this Memorial Day, when you remember all those who gave their all for our freedom, this story actually has nothing to do with that.
(With thanks to my father, uncles and everyone else that allow this country the freedom where someone can write a stupid story about a goose and eat hot dogs.)