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Feathers in my cap
by Judi Veoukas

There are a few things you never forget: the day you are married, the day each of your children is born, the day a goose lands on your head. We observe anniversaries and birthdays. A goose landing atop your head should be remembered too. And, so it shall.

A few years back I worked in a building next to a lake, although the word “work” is debatable. Mostly, I stared out the window. One thing I stared at was a lavish garden, directly in front of the entrance to the one-company structure. The garden was placed there for decorative purposes. It was not placed there to be a maternity ward for goslings. However, unaware of company policy, Mother Goose set up her nest.

Having given birth three times, I knew better than to disturb anything with child, so I’d walk by each day, smiling sympathetically at Mother Goose. Lurking just beyond the nest, though, was Father Goose. He and I would exchange brief, but distrustful glances.

My first inkling something was awry came as I walked to the entrance one Friday morning alongside the company owner’s wife. Father Goose, possibly weary of having no more job status than Nest Patrol, came swiftly and defiantly toward Mrs. Company Owner, but backed off, barely pecking the surface of her posh coat. Something in that minuscule goose brain detected that she had clout, and attacking her was not in his best interest.

The following Monday I smugly walked by Nest and Nest Patrol, this time unaccompanied by a landowner, but sure that Father Goose remembered I had friends in high places. Unfortunately, some irrational paternal instinct kicked in, and Father Goose raged out of control. He spread his gigantic wings and charged directly at my hair.

Having a goose flapping on my head was not an experience I want to ever re-live; in fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to live through this one. Luckily, Father Goose deemed a hair scare good enough and rescinded, leaving me dazed but unharmed. Still, as I teetered into the office shaking uncontrollably, my coworkers realized this was more than my usual Monday-morning angst.

When I calmed down enough to explain my state, my boss did what anyone would do when someone is attacked by fowl: she called the police. Within an hour, the local animal warden took my statement. Her only suggestion, since goose-with-child is a protected species, was to put snow fencing around the nesting area to keep the geese in.

“But, they must have a little opening so they can get in and out at will,” she added, with militant authority.

I assumed there must be a reason for this; nevertheless, I envisioned Father and Mother Goose musing to one another, “Gee, we’re going to just stay put even though there’s an opening for us to get out,” followed by, “and we can fly—duh.”

There never was a snow fence put there, with or without an opening. My solution was to wear a hard-hat to and from my car, which I did while listening to “honk, honk” emanate from guys in the building who had minimal sympathy for a woman attacked by a goose.

I did have a talk with Father Goose, through the window, of course. I mouthed that if he attacked again, I would dress him in a holiday goose outfit. Still, I donned my hard-hat and tried to make myself invisible each time I walked by the nest. It worked. He never again attacked. Apparently, we had established, for lack of a better term, a permanent and binding goose truce.