Goose-Sneaking Week


Dedicated To 12 year old Kierston Yow who was badly injured in a shark attack and is now in North Carolina Children’s Hospital at UNC.

You may not know this Kierston but this week is Goose-Sneaking week.

Geese are the loudest group of creatures in the world.  Honk, honk, honk, honk, honk.  All day and all night long.  They honk in the sky, they honk floating on the water, they honk relaxing in the sun on shore.

Winterberry House, the house where my family and I used to live had a big beaver pond out back and many a summer’s night it was full of geese who were so loud glasses in the kitchen used to tremble off shelves, so loud plaster dust would float down from the ceiling, so loud you needed five pillows over your head in order to sleep.  I used to get up out of bed at two in the morning, run out on the back lawn in my pajamas and scream “shut up, shut up, shut up.”

But they never would.

I wished I had one of those Florida boats with a big air propeller on the back they use to skim along in the swamps.  I would have jumped in and started it up, drove it down the hill, into the beaver pond and scattered them.  But geese are tough.  They probably would have just circled above me in the night sky – honk, honk, honk, honk.

Then there comes this week – Goose-Sneaking week.  The week in late Spring when they move their babies who still can’t fly and are all brown instead of black and white and gray from their nests in the woods or up on the hills down to the ponds and lakes where they will grow up.

Goose-SneakingMommy and Daddy goose really, really love their babies and consider this a very dangerous move because their babies can’t fly away with them if something bad happens.  So they get all in a row, Mommy up front, the baby geese in a file behind her and bringing up the rear, Daddy goose.  Then it might take them all day to move just a couple of hundred yards because each puts its foot down for each step very, very carefully.

And they don’t make a sound.  Not only no honks, but no whispers not even any deep breaths and they never crackle dead leaves, break a twig or rustle any grass.

Because they’re sneaking.

Just like your parents and friends and relatives are trying to sneak you into a better place.  They peek in at you while your sleeping and one is whispering to the other saying I’ll go up here and you go there and we can get her safety home if we’re careful and quiet and gentle because everybody in your life loves you and want to see you in the best possible place just like those Mommy and Daddy geese want the best for their babies.

In fact I can see the day when guarded from the font and back you’re part of a long file of friends and relatives sneaking you on your way out of the hospital.

But the best part is that just like the geese who finally get their babies where they want to go, when you’re home, you and your family and your friends can honk and honk and honk as loud as you want.  And the rest of us will cheer – even if you do rattle our dishes.

Richard F. Miniter