Friday, November 18, 2005

The Goose Whisperer

One thing I love about living in the valley at this time of year: Geese. You will hear this distant sort of funny little honking sound, like one goose told a joke and they all kind of share a chuckle. Then you’ll see them, gracefully flying overhead in formation, their long necks stretched out and bobbing as they fly, softly honking into the breeze.

First thing this morning as I let the dogs out back for their morning business, I heard that gentle honking sound and looked skyward. A flock of geese (oh wait, I think it’s gaggle)… a gaggle of geese flew overhead and I was filled with this warm, fuzzy kind of feeling.

When I was little, my grandparents had a house on the lake in Tahoe where they would live several months out of the year, and then head back to Van Nuys during the cold months. My bro and I would go visit and spend weeks at a time with them. We would be playing in the backyard or on the dock, checking Grandpa’s bait trap for minnows, and we would hear the geese coming from a few houses away. We would scram at high speeds to the house and up the stairs to the kitchen, where Grammy would give us day-old bread to feed the geese and ducks. She would usually come out with us to feed them, as she had a special relationship with a certain goose named Oscar. Geese mate for life, and Oscar would make an appearance every day with his beautiful snow-white wife, Carmelita. But his loyalty to Carmelita didn’t stop him from having a very deep, albeit platonic, relationship with my Grammy. Oscar would run after you and hiss and try to bite your toes if you came anywhere near my Grammy. Seriously, he was like a pit bull on 'roids. But when he sat next to Grammy, he was suddenly Mr. Charming Sensitive Guy. She would ask him about his day, to which he would softly coo his replies. I am convinced my Grammy was able to interpret Geese as she always replied to his mumblings and they carried on a conversation like this for several minutes with equal amount of give and take. He would gently take chunks of bread from her hand. He would quietly give his take on current events, discuss the weather, gossip about the neighbors. After they were all caught up on their niceties, Oscar would stand up, wriggle his bushy, feathery butt, round up his bitch, and head to the next house that would give him carbs. To this day, it is among my very fondest of childhood memories. My Grammy is no longer with us, but she remains the only Goose Whisperer I have ever known.

What a nice way to start the day, seeing the geese through my sleepy eyes and thinking of her.

1 comment:

CaliValleyGirl said...

That is soooo strange...I have never noticed the geese migrating in LA. I was in the countryside a few weeks ago, and saw geese flying, and was so excited to witness this for the first time that I took pics...I am going to have to email you some!