(Ray Wylie Hubbard reference)
I thought this story was over (and it probably should be) but my little brother has been kind enough to remind me of a few important details I omitted in the original telling, and some of them are really important.
I mentioned that I went into the coop with a lasso and had no luck with it, and that I eventually caught one of the geese using my hands.
I left out the part where, when I ridded myself of the lasso, I got some help from my brother and my brother-in-law with respect to catching the geese.
As my brother reminds me, ever so kindly, we, the three of us, with our superior intellect, managed to triangulate (a military term I picked up from a movie) on the birds, the three of us forming a human wall of will and strength (did I mention intellect?) against the birds, and driving them into a corner of the coop, where we could then successfully and rather easily have them succumb.
As my brother reminds me, ever so kindly, in the midst of this feeling of impending triumph, the birds turned on us and attacked. Clearly, they had read The Art of War, and were practicing learned principles. I had not yet read that particular book, and apparently, my cohorts had skipped it too. It is likely that we were all recalling that epigram: “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Which is to say, we ran like hell for the coop exit. (I think I mentioned in the previous piece that geese can bite, did I not?)
Bearing in mind that my brother-in-law is a heroic survivor of cerebral palsy, you might understand that he did not run as fast as my brother and me. To this day, he probably feels fortunate that he was not trampled upon by us in our urgency to escape the birds from Hell.
I was not looking back, so I am not sure whether the geese took out their revenge on him. And I cannot remember. I know we never called an ambulance (not at that particular party anyway :)). So, we all got out of there alive, more or less unscathed, with the possible, nay, the almost certain exception, of our dignity.
Eventually, as you know, if you read the original, we DID get the birds. Both my brother and I had been in the US Air Force, after all, and we do not back down from geese. The Marines, the Army, even the Navy, may make fun of us for other reasons (largely out of envy because we eat better than they do, but also, I will admit, because of the pretty baby blue uniform shirts we used to wear), but we do not back down from geese.
Well, actually, pilots are scared to death of geese, because they can get sucked into an engine and pretty much become your worst enemy, at least back then (sorry for the diversion and the potentially classified information: I do not want our enemies shooting AAG at us (anti-aircraft geese)), but we were on the ground, and we would simply not back off from the geese. We were Air Force!
We got the birds.
I think I mentioned that we did some pretty interesting things to the birds to try to rid them of pin feathers. My brother kindly reminds me that my father-in-law, the purported expert at all of this, lit a newspaper on fire and waved it around the birds (one at a time, of course) to try to burn off those pin feathers. If it looked like some sort of voodoo thing, well, I won’t argue with any observer who had that opinion. Here is Santa Claus, of all people, waving a flaming newspaper over a dead goose on the day before Christmas!
My children were young! They were probably scarred for life. (I know my brother was, since he is the one who wrote to remind me of this atrocity, one which I apparently had blocked out altogether :)).
All I know is that when the geese wander into my yard (there is a lake across the street, and the Canadians fly in every year (geese, not people)) I let them have their way. I note that my dogs, who are golden retrievers and SUPPOSED to chase geese, no longer chase them. The geese have had a serious talk with them, apparently, and reminded them that in the real world, they, the dogs, are only tough AFTER the geese have been mortally wounded.
I DO have a shotgun, but I haven’t brought it out since my daughter was old enough to attract boys to the house. The geese will have their way, unless the Wildlife Service manages to catch them, which they tried to do yesterday, much to the delight of all of us in the neighborhood who got to watch it, me in particular, realizing that I did not have their professional training back in the day (and still do not) but never looked as stupid as they did trying to outwit the geese with large nets and dog kennels.
The Wildlife people had large, and I mean LARGE, nets; really, they looked like a couple of pieces of chain link fence, each of them, and there were three guys (triangulating?) on the geese, and I will admit that they had more geese to contend with than we did back in the day, and hopefully were trying to capture them for some other, superior reason, although far more stupid than ours, if I know the Wildlife Department and I think I do, and they would finally get one trapped among their three fence sections, and one would grab the thing by the neck and, having clearly done it more often than me, not be surprised by the strength, would hold on to it, and open the kennel to put it inside, whereupon the one already captured would escape and go squawking off in rather angry freedom, so that they were right back where they started, and, ultimately, as I was pulling out of the driveway, a beautiful snow white goose (not a Canadian, I know) flew gracefully, rather, over my car and led me toward the end of the street.
I looked in the mirror and saw that the Wildlife Department guy was considering chasing him/her (again, the goose did not give me an opportunity to determine gender), then just shrugged his shoulders and apparently gave up.
I’ll bet I didn’t look THAT stupid! And I’ll bet I enjoyed it more :).
Merry Christmas, friends!