Sunday, March 27, 2011

Goodnight Mother

  The first time I met "Mother Goose" I was leaving the dry cleaners in the shopping center at the end of our street. She liked to hang out up there and greet the customers. She lived in a yard a few houses away. Her owner was known to be eccentric and his pets were given free roam of the area. Not everyone found this as charming as I.

After complaints from the merchants the owner made a Sophie's choice and brought his menagerie to our pond.
Mother and Father Goose were the largest in size and persona. She was gentile and always deferring to his blustery manner. He was known to drive a child or two to the safety of one of the benches tops while he gave them what-for for being on his turf.
When Father Goose was struck and killed by a speeding car early one morning she was right behind him and suffered a broken hip and leg. After months of recovery at the office of Dr. Steve our hero vet (three surgeries) she returned to her beloved pond. For weeks she had to recuperate in our fenced yard because she was too weak to stand up on her leg.
Gradually she and two of her fellow ducks (Nelson Mandela and Harriet) who had also been treated at the animal hospital made their way back to life on the pond.
She was the Grand Dame' of the pond. Her limp gradually became just a little wobble and although she sometimes would honk out calls for Father Goose she was happy in her little celibate life of two square meals a day of special feed and gliding along in the water practically posing for the visiting neighborhood children and parents.

In the water no one could tell she projected herself with only one webbed foot while the other one dragged along behind her under the water.
She was uncomplaining and brave in her circumstances. She showed us what it looks like to carry on in loss with a well lived life.
Last week while I was at the beach I received a call one morning that she had been hit by a car that didn't see her crossing the street. I later learned that she was killed immediately and soon a group of neighbors had formed to protect her little body. Nelson was bloody too but we were relieved to discover that it was because he had gone to her side as she lay in the street. A faithful friend to the end.
The group of neighbors dug a grave for her and placed a marker on her grave.

She will be missed. We are so grateful for her little fluffy life and the lessons she taught us.

Nelson posts himself near her still.

There is a new book on the New York Bestsellers list named "Heaven is for Real".  It is written by a little boy who died on the operating table and  claims he went to heaven.  His parents decided his story needed to be told when he told them of meeting his little sister (who died and his parents never told him about her ) and his account of seeing his father praying for him in the hospital chapel when no one else knew he was there at that time.
Why am I mentioning this?  Because that little boy told Matt Lauer when he was asked what he saw in heaven "Heaven is full of lots of people and lots of animals."



  1. That makes me so sad. Poor little Nelson. What a devoted friend he is. He could give all of us some lessons. Good post! That little white feather touched my heart. Let me add my, "Good night, Mother." Katy

  2. We keep hens in our backyard (shhh) and wanting to give them a full and happy, quality-filled chicken life, we built a chicken condo for them so they have a safe place to roost and lay their eggs. They also have their own area to do their chicken-thang (protected, we thought).

    In return they give us eggs when they feel like it. They are happy little creatures, clucking and scratching and taking their daily dirt baths. Four days ago, something has come into our backyard and two have been eaten, probably by a cat. Our other girls are having a hard time with the loss, we can tell. The "alpha" chicken is gone and the girls are nervous.

    We miss those little creatures so much. They made us so much joy just watching their antics and getting to know their personalities. I am so sorry for your loss because it is so similar to ours. We love things, we know life only lasts for a blink of an eye, but as some guy once said: It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all. God bless Nelson. It's hard losing a friend.