Maybe its my purpose in life, to make other’s lives feel normal. I say that because it seems like I attract the bizarre events, the things that people go, “No way!” right before they burst out laughing.
Today was no exception. I had a golden opportunity to spend a few hours with my Granddaughter Helene who was here visiting her other grandparents. As I am now a member of the unemployed people of America, I had time on my hands, well until I get another job. But that’s the topic for another day.
Anyway, my agenda was fairly simple. Pick up Helene’ take her to Milliken Park to feed the ducks, go home for some lunch and play time then take her back. Armed with a healthy supply of stale bread, we drove to the park, while Helene’ talked non-stop. She’s an imaginative bright little girl, and has no problem starting and holding a conversation.
We got to the park, got out and saw the variety of birds awaiting us. The usual collection awaited us, knowing why we were there. We saw Canadian Geese, mallard ducks, a few domestic, pigeons and one stand-out who immediatly ran up to us, waggled its tail and hissed at us. I didn’t immediately know what it was, only that it was not your normal goose. Helene was less then thrilled by its appearance, in fact she already eyeing the car for a exit. I thought “throw bread, it will go after it and leave us alone.”
This bird had obviously never read the “feed the birds” rules of engagement. Those rules are approach, look cute, eat the bread, get bored when the bread is all gone, then wander off. Instead this bird ignored the bread I dropped right in front of it, in my hopes of distracting it. It just hissed at me wagging its tail feathers. I happened to notice, with some curiosity that it had a crest on its head that would rise and fall. If you are thinking Jurassic Park and those evil Raptors, then you get the picture of its demeanor. It took me a bit longer then you, to come to that realization.
Not to be outdone by a creature, I outweighed by a good 150 pounds, I ignored the obvious “DANGER YOU IDIOT” sign the goose was giving me. I figured, foolishly, that I’d ignore the damned thing, it would realize I posed no threat and go away. I looked towards the nearby pond. I decided to move to that location. Surely all the birds would go into the water. We’d feed them, have a great time, and all would be well.
I put Helene up on my shoulders, as she was having none of it. Apparently my granddaughter is smarter then her Nana. We walked towards the water, with that odd goose following, keeping a distance of about 3 feet.
“Ok, I am now curious. I want to know what kind of bird this is.” I thought and snapped this photo.
About two seconds after that, it attacked the leg that appears in the photo. By attack, I mean it jumped up onto my leg, and hung on hissing even louder, flapping its wings in anger, my granddaughter screaming in terror from her place on my back, all as I am attempting to hang on to my phone, my car keys and all that stale bread, shouting “Get off! Get off!”, trying so hard not to use profanity in the presence of a four year old as I’m being attacked by a vicious waterfowl, all while trying to shake that bastard off!
Finally, after a good 15 seconds, it let go, and we turned and fled, the goose following in our wake, hissing in triumph. Helene’ couldn’t get into the car fast enough. As we were getting in, a woman was offloading three small children from her own car. I told her, that I’d just been mauled by the creature who was still right behind me, ready for another go, probably at my other leg, and it may not be a good idea to stick around. She took one look at my leg, which was bleeding nicely, and decided not to risk it. I drove off, not daring to look in the rear view window to see if it was still following.
All the way home, Helene’ asked if I was ok. She altered between “That was scary. I didn’t like that goose” and “Don’t worry Nana, I’ll take good care of you.” I called my daughter, Helene’s mother, to announce that I’d likely traumatized her child when it came to birds. When she stopped laughing, she asked what kind of bird it was and we both chuckled at Helene’s words of comfort in her all of her four year old “mommy voice”.
Helene’ did help spread antibiotic ointment on my sizable scratch caused by goose foot. Then asked for a good solid hour if I was going to be alright. I assured her I would be. I discovered that the dratted waterfowl put a sizable hole in my favorite lounging pants along with the damage to my calf.
We are now watching cartoons, coloring, and spending the afternoon safely indoors. Helene’ has tried on all my shoes and is wearing her full princess attire, complete with all the play jewelry in the house. The next time she visits, we’ll just skip the big adventure, and go right to the fun part of the visit.