There was a news story about a month ago around a turkey in a Cape Cod town that attacks the mail truck every day as it makes its rounds on a street abutting a wooded area. One guy interviewed about it thinks that the turkey is probably attacking because of the eagle symbol on the mail truck. The carrier who was interviewed said he doesn’t know what the turkey’s issue is, but it’s terrifying.
I’m a believer in fowl terrorists. When I was eleven, I moved to a small farm-house in Western MA, where we had a cow, some chickens, and some geese.
Whenever I’d go out in the barn yard to go climb my favorite tree, or on my way to do chores, I’d be hissed at by the gander, and the other geese would join in. As long as I didn’t turn my back on them, they’d maintain relative neutrality, and eventually start honking and waddling away – to plot – more likely than not.
The geese became more brazen as time went on and would run for my feet, but would be repelled as long as I ran hollering at them (maybe I didn’t need to yell, but it seemed necessary to me at the time).
That gander most likely resented me crossing his territory all the time, and it was on a sweltering September afternoon that he attempted his plan of attack. There is a railroad crossing next to the farm-house and during the school year, if the bus was late, it would have to wait for the freight train to pass to continue on. Well, the bus had to wait for the freight train to pass that day and I stepped off as I normally did, and turned to for a quick goodbye wave to my best friend, when I heard the hiss.
It had a low, menacing, ‘turn around, punk’ sound to it, but instead of facing the goose, I decided to try walking away because the kids on the bus, waiting for the train to pass, had nothing better than to watch the scene unfold from the safety of their seats.
Well, Gander (Genghoose) Khan made his move, running at me, wings flapping, head down low for the charge, and just before he bit my ankle, something in me snapped. I turned toward him with a yell that caused silence to descend upon the occupants of the bus, and fortified with my humiliation and rage I grabbed that gander by his skinny little neck, lifting him off the ground and shook him back and forth telling him to leave me the hell alone – yes I said Hell – and I’d say it again! Then I threw him away from me, the fury still gleaming out of what I imagined were my now red, glowing eyes, and that bird ran back to his stunned posse – er – gaggle in defeat.
Cheers broke the silence and I became aware of the victory I scored not just personally, but in full view of twenty grade-schoolers. I waved to my audience and walked triumphantly into the house.
That gander never bothered me again.
How sweet it would be if that were the end of my dealings with rogue geese. I moved to San Diego, CA, when my son was a preschooler, and we lived there for a few years until poor finances and missing my family brought me back east, to Massachusetts.
The day before we left California, I spent the morning with a friend at a popular picnic site with a large pond. It was a warm morning in May, and I took off my shoes and socks to refresh my feet at the water’s edge.
I had noticed the geese some lengths away from me, and had chuckled remembering my last encounter with geese all those years before when I hear a familiar hissing behind me. Was this a relative of Gander Khan seeking revenge? I was so shocked that I couldn’t gather my wits before that damn bird was nipping at my heels.
Laughter, from the half-dozen or so adults with their children, pealed through the morning air around me, and rather than come to my aid, they chose to be entertained. I felt too embarrassed to effect my “Xena” persona, so the best I could muster was a “leave me alone” in what I hoped was a stern enough voice.
The goose was not impressed. As I ran up the little hill from the pond that goose chased me until someone (who had the sense not to take their shoes off) shied it away from me. While that encounter does not erase the triumph of my youth, it certainly dampened the victory.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.