I started my new job with joy and confidence. On the first morning, I stepped from my car and marveled at the size of the complex. It was always there, but I never noticed it before. Hidden by a boundary of trees, the cluster of buildings, walking trails, ponds, tennis courts, basketball courts, parks and horseshoe pits surprised me. On the way to main entrance, a sign caught my eye. “BEWARE! Nesting Geese in the area!”
“Geese?” I chuckled. “What harm can they be?”
Inside the building, I was handed a temporary I.D. card and greeted by a young lady who led me to my work area and introduced me to my new co-workers. Morning break came. I stepped outside. Canadian geese honked and chased each other but left me alone.
The next day, I noticed one a goose constructing a bed of leaves and twigs in the flower beds near a bench I liked to sit on to enjoy the sun during my lunch hour. “Perhaps I’ll see the eggs hatch,” I thought and smiled. New life is a glorious thing. Her mate strolled close and hissed at me, realized I was no harm, and left me alone.
Two days later, I did my lunch/sun ritual. I walked out the door, turned left and headed to the bench ten feet away. I heard a noise, turned, and watched a goose swoop to attack a woman on the walkway beside of the building. My motion drew its attention. It hovered in the air, decided I was closer to their new nest, and chose me as its target.
The goose, at least twenty pounds, came at me. I held up my hands and confidently yelled, “Get out of here, you silly bird!”
I guess she didn’t understand me. She flew through my waving arms. Her wings whooshed around my head. The sound reminded me of a woofing dog with laryngitis. She charged with a mission. Her breast slammed into my forehead. Her wings whacked me on both sides of the head with surprising force.
I screamed again, “Get out of here you …” I didn’t quite use the same words as the first time. She flew off. Feathers floated in the air. Rattled, I ran in the other direction with my glasses hanging from one right ear.
I reached the door and looked up. The lady stood where she had been when the goose first went for her. Her hands covered her mouth. If she stifled a scream or a laugh, I don’t know.
I casually adjusted my glasses, stood tall—manly. “I guess I took care of him! Too bad you didn’t have a video camera to get a film of my bravery.”
She laughed and disappeared through the door to the building. I looked at the goose. She sat in the center of the flowerbed and hissed again. That was enough for me. I fled into the building.
I realized I was in the wrong. The goose was right. I was a threat. She did what any mother would do. She protected her soon-to-be family. My mum would do the same.
A memory returned to my wing-slapped head.
Ginny’s son, Brandon, worked as a landscaper. He ruptured a disk in his back lifting rocks. They operated and removed it. A second disk slipped. He was in continuous pain. The doctors decided to fuse his spine. At the age of twenty-nine, his career as a landscaper was threatened.
Ginny traveled from New Jersey to North Carolina to be there for him. After the operation, she stood by his bed. Although the operation was a complete success, Brandon suffered incredible pain. Ginny watched his body tremble and sweat as muscle spasms rippled through his back. The pain killers did little to ease his discomfort. His fiancée, Kelly, held his hand and shared tears with her future husband.
Later that night, it was time for Ginny to leave. She reached down to hug her son. Through his pain and drugged induced state, he hugged her back and whispered into her ear, “Mom, I’m so glad you’re here.”
I knew what he meant. No matter how old we get, there are two things we’ll always crave: the protection of our mothers and love of our mothers – a mother’s love.
Three cheers for Mother Goose!