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COLUMN: Cheers for the gray goose

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By VINCE LUECKE
Editor

“Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody
The old gray goose is dead.”

The kids in third-grade music class at Clay-Huff Elementary knew I was different when I cried over the folksy song about Rhody’s dead gray goose. Everyone else gathered around the piano and sang their hearts out. I was looking out at the window, looking for the goose’s orphaned babies and crying gander spouse.

Maybe in my budding reporter ways, I thought the song was based on a news story, even though I’ve never known anyone named Rhody.

I wasn’t crying but I feared the worst a couple of weeks ago when a gray goose I’ve often seen near New Boston was gone. It has been a frequent sight along the highway, roving in a corn field with a white goose I assumed was its partner. Geese mate for life, or so I’ve been told.

The geese’s home is on the other side of the highway and while I’ve never seen them actually cross the highway, I knew they make the trip often, dodging cars.

When I saw the gray goose was gone, I feared it had been ran over or eaten by coyotes. I cheered when it returned a few days later.

I like geese but have plenty to atone for. Several springs back I purchased several white goslings, fed them grain and kept them in a grassy pen for months.

I loved their honking and white plumage. A few let me pet them and pecked shelled corn from my outstretched hand.

My geese and I were happy.

Then I killed and cooked them in early November.

Friends who visited that year and watched the geese grow protested loudly and refused to come to dinner.

“I’m not coming if we’re eating goose,” they would say. Those who came picked at the roast birds, staring at me between pretend bites.

I mainly ate goose alone ... for weeks. I pledged to never kill a goose again.

So, with my ways amended, I am glad the pair of geese are back together and hope motorists north of New Boston will watch for them and slow as they cross the road.

I slow down each time I pass through the area, determined not to bring an early demise to another goose.

In case you’re wondering about Rhody and her old gray goose, here are the full lyrics.

Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody
The old gray goose is dead.

The one she’s been saving,
The one she’s been saving,
The one she’s been saving
To make a feather bed.

The goslings are mourning,
The goslings are mourning,
The goslings are mourning,
Because their mother’s dead.

The old gander’s weeping,
The old gander’s weeping,
The old gander’s weeping,
Because his wife is dead.

She died in the mill pond,
She died in the mill pond,
She died in the mill pond
From standing on her head.

Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody
The old gray goose is dead.

The lyrics still tell a sad tale.