Monday, April 18, 2011


When I was in the 2nd and 3rd grade my parents took me to visit "The Gerner Farm" almost every weekend.  My grandfather and his two sons worked hundreds of acres and had a dairy, too.  This was a magical place for children.

My two cousins (boys) and I had the run of the entire farm.  We made a tunnel maize (complete with dead ends and pit drops) in the hay loft.  It is a wonder that we weren't killed by cave-ins, bailed up snakes, or poisonous spiders.  However, we survived the tunnels, swimming in the stock ponds,  running through  corn fields, playing around (under and on top of) the cows (and their calves), and playing on the roofs of the various sheds.

However, there was one animal none of us messed with and that was an extremely large, evil gander.  I don't know what his name was, but it should have been Lucifer  This hostile goose hated every one of us kids and had an anger management problem.  Maybe the boys gave him reason, but I never did one single thing to that goose to deserve his ire.

The thing is, indoor plumbing was in the house, but off limits to most of us.  It was only for evenings and special occasions.   Therefore the out-house was the destination for all other occasions.  This goose (lets go ahead and call him Lucifer) set up a perimeter around the out-house that he defended as his domain.  I don't know if he heard the rumblings in our innards or smelled the gas, but that danged goose knew when we (the kids) had to make a potty run (and I do mean run).  If he didn't nail you while running to the outhouse, he definitely caught you when you were leaving.  He was threatening enough to cause major panic attacks when my bladder started to signal me that it was time.

One day, I took off out the back door and sprinted toward the out-house.  Lucifer didn't chase me.  I was surprised and relieved; which caused me to let my guard down.  I was wearing a bathing suit and didn't want him anywhere near my legs.  When he bit, even through jeans, it hurt like the dickens.  I couldn't begin to imagine how much it would hurt if he caught me on my bare legs.

Long after I was finished I sat quietly on the hard wooden seat, even stood on it to peer over the top of the door in order to make sure that Lucifer was not out there.  Finally, I ventured out the door.  No Lucifer in sight.  As I stepped out from the safety of the little shack and learned why I didn't see him.  That sinister bird had dug out a depression under a bush at the corner of the out-house and was laying in wait for his next victim.  I was feeling very confident until I heard the flutter of wings, the patting of big flat feet on the ground, and the hissing of the devil himself as he plunged head long toward me.

Screaming bloody murder, I took off running toward the back door.  But that darned goose caught me in just two strides.  He chewed on everything from my butt cheeks to my heals.  If my family had a camera I would have been an excellent subject for a black and white study.

My mother and aunts flocked (unfortunate choice of words) towards me and treated my bruised ego and body.  My aunt chased Lucifer off with her broom.  My uncles laughed, and my cousins called me a sissy (even though they both ran from Lucifer, too).

Several years later, Lucifer eventually ended up on the dinner table.  By that time my family and I had moved.  Even though he was a mean old bird I don't think I could have eaten him.


"I am not an ordinary goose.  In fact, it has been passed down through the ages that my ancestor is the very one who laid the GOLDEN EGG (apparently some eggs hatched before she got the axe). "

"I am a very proud, extremely large, good looking, gander and it is MY job to menacingly patrol the grounds around the house.  I am programmed to keep out intruders, predators, and pesky critters of all kinds!  You see, there are several very fine ladies and their brood that I must protect."

"During the week it is kind of quiet.  We lay around, dust, swim and relax.  The woman of the house feeds me and the hens.  She is kind and talks softly to us.  The BIG man of the house just ignores me.  I have seen what he does to the chickens, so I don't EVER cross him!"

"However, when the weekend comes I have a feather ruffling job to do because there are three ornery critters that make my life miserable.  First of all, they scare the hens and try to grab the goslings.  Then, the two males often throw corn cobs and dirt clods at me.  This requires me to set up traps and sneak attacks to get a piece of them.  Usually I get my nips in!  And, IS it fun!"

"One such day, the scrawny female ran out to the squatting room.  Being a clever bird, I had fashioned a small hiding place under a bush and waited until she emerged.  I knew that she would have her back to me as she walked away.  This would give me a definite advantage.  As she exited, I wiggled out of my hiding place and went into attack mode."

"This female critter set up such a squeal that the pigs in the barn started answering her.  I was practically flying when my beak pinched down on the part of her that was just the right height.  Funny thing is these critters don't have feathers but they do have soft parts that are fun to grab.  I nibbled and chewed from top to bottom (or rather bottom and down).  Then I saw the woman burst from the house wielding THAT broom of hers.  I knew immediately that I had to retreat as there was no mistaking the look in her eyes.  I raised my beak to the sky, spread my wings, emitted my victory cry, shook the dust off, and casually waddled off showing her and the critter my tail."

"When I got back to the barn my girls were proud of me and, apparently the big farmer was too because it sounded as if he was cackling,  just like my hens."
kt 3/2011