Our Goose Story
The Canadian goose was majestically circling the small pond on our property. I was riveted. “A goose!” I said to my husband in hushed tones. “A goose has settled on our pond. Out of all the ponds in the Hamptons it chose our pond.” We felt honored. We had lived only a few summers in our house in Water Mill at that point, having been mostly city dwellers for some 15 years. Nature still had lots of surprises in store for us.
For the next few days we tiptoed around the pond, not wanting to disturb our mysterious guest’s peace and contentment, not wanting to frighten it away. We needn’t have worried. Within a week our goose was making itself at home on our lawn, and then our porch, leaving copious amounts of goose droppings. Our two young children, accustomed to running around the yard barefoot, kept to the house.
We’ve had other unsolicited visitors over the years. One time, when friends from Texas were with us, a giant snapping turtle sunned itself on our lawn, a snake slithered out from the fireplace and disappeared into a bookshelf, and a muskrat groomed itself on our porch. All in one day. (Our guests accused us of staging this menagerie to curtail their stay.) Another time, a raccoon family nested behind a wall in the back of our fireplace. We got rid of them by placing speakers on either side of the fireplace and blasting rock music for a week, while we took shelter in the city.
But this goose seemed settled in for a long stay. In some ways it had endeared itself to us, so we wanted a harmless way out. Eventually we concocted a plan. One lovely summer day my husband scooped the goose up in his arms and deposited it in the middle of our canoe. We then paddled out on Mecox Bay. When we got about a mile away we dropped our goose into the water, bade farewell, shed a few tears, and headed home.
Guess who greeted us on our arrival. Why didn’t it occur to us that geese can fly?
The goose hung around our house for the remaining weeks of the summer. Finally, the day after Labor Day, it was time for the family to return to our city apartment. We would leave our goose behind and hope it started its migration south very soon. We packed up the car with suitcases and equipment and kids and headed out the driveway to Bay Lane.
We had just gotten underway when I became aware of something out the side window. Our goose! It was flying beside the car at the exact pace we were driving. We made the turn onto Bay Lane—so did our goose. We made the turn onto Mecox Road—so did our goose.
“This is ridiculous,” I said. “We can’t have a goose flying alongside our car on the Long Island Expressway.” It seemed all too possible, so we stopped the car to discuss what to do. Just at that moment, a local farmer we knew came along and asked if we needed help. “Yes! PLEASE take this goose off our hands!” He cheerfully picked up the goose and carted him away.
Flash forward now about 20 years. At a party at our house our architect made a confession. An annoying goose had settled onto his pond in Bridgehampton, so he had decided to make an undisclosed gift of it to us. After my initial shock and amazement at this confession, I started to be a bit resentful. But as I thought about it more I recognized that his “gift” had brought some wonder into our lives, not to mention a story we still tell.