Customer Stories and Helpful Advice About Ducks & Geese
Taking a (Living) Christmas Goose to School
I always brought an animal to my daughter's school around the holidays. Thanksgiving - I brought that strutting spectacle of a turkey named Royal. Easter - I hopped over with my over-sized Easter bunny named Buttercup. Christmas - well I didn't have a reindeer. Hum, but I did have a goose, a fluffy white Christmas goose. She would certainly bring a smile to those young faces, and to mine. So, I gathered up my "Christmas goose" named Joon and headed to school.
Our first stop was the principal's office. Mrs. Glad, our normally friendly principal, wouldn't touch my goose - too many bad memories of goose attacks from her younger days. So, I slowly shuffled down the covered walkway to the lunch tables where the children were gathered for treats and celebrations. Joon dutifully followed behind me like a bridesmaid marching down the aisle in her fancy flowing gown. She was a bright white Sebastopol goose - the only breed with long curly feathers that twist every which way. In some ways she resembled an over-sized pincushion with hundreds of little feather boas stuck to her plump little body.
When we reached the children, they were amazed to see a goose in their midst. The teachers warned the kids not to give the goose any food, but being kids, they quickly ignored it. Boys and girls stuck out their hands and offered Joon cookies and popcorn, but she politely declined. They crowded around to pet her, and she calmly let every child stroke and touch her silky feathers. Now the adults were coming close, too, commenting on her impeccable manners. One of the parents fell so in love with the elegant goose that she begged me for the name of the farm where I'd gotten her.
After the school bell rang, I guided Joon back down the walkway, slowly making our way back toward the car. Dozens of children who hadn't seen her yet came close for a pet. The principal paused and looked as child after child walked right up and petted the goose like it was a well-mannered dog. Then a few of the older girls wandered by. Pointing to Joon, one cried, "Oh how pretty! I want to have a dress like that!"
Finally, the principal couldn't stand it. She handed one of those picture-taking cell phones to an older girl standing nearby. "You have to take my picture. Nobody's going to believe this."
I handed Joon to her, and the goose and the principal posed for the shot. Then Mrs. Glad looked at Joon and across to me. "I've never seen a goose that looks like this or behaves so well. How come your birds aren't like any I've ever met?"
I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. Joon and I started making our way toward the car again. Just as I paused to say farewell to the superintendent, who was waving goodbye to the kids as he stood in front of the school, I spotted a mom driving out of the parking lot, and remembered I had a PTA check for her in my car.
"Hold her for a minute," I blurted as I thrust my goose into the Superintendent Braun's arms. "I need to get something from my car." The astonished man had no time to argue.
As I ran off to the parking lot, I heard him call to me, "Coleen, Coleen you're coming back, aren't you?"
A few minutes later I returned. "I was sure you were going to leave me holding the goose," he teased.
"She likes you. She thinks you're Father Goose." I teased back.
Mr. Braun tried his best not to laugh too hard as he waved goodbye to parents and children with one hand, while holding a fluffy white Christmas goose in the other.
From that day forward, I would often show up at school with goose in tow to pick up my daughter, Sammy. Some moms brought the family dog. I brought the family goose. We would sit at the picnic table with other parents waiting for our kids and chat about everything moms and dads chat about. The dogs, an occasional cat, and my goose listened politely as we waited for the bell signaling the end of the school day. Those were special times, quiet times, destined all too soon to fade away and become just fond memories.
This is an excerpt from Coleen Hefley's book "Royal and Snuggles - a True Turkey Tale" which can be purchased online at Lulu.com