Don’t honk if you love geese

I should have known.
I’d just rounded the corner near Eggler Automatic in White Sulphur Springs, and watched oncoming traffic grind to a halt.
As I got closer I heard it.
“Hoooooonk!”
No, not one of those obnoxious tailgaters. A white speck, which as I wheeled closer had a bright orange bill and flat feet.
She was waddling across Route 52 like she owned the place, and a van was at the front of the stopped traffic letting little Gossie wiggle her feathery hind end across the way.
I tapped my brakes and came to a halt, leaving ample time for the webbed feet to slap across my lane and off into the waiting water.
Like any good journalist, I had my camera in the back seat. And I would have whipped it out for a photo op if it wasn’t for the nasty driver who pulled up behind me to slam on the horn.
Yes, I was stopped in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, but one giant “hoooonk!!!” from him, and the entire family of geese took flight across the pond.
They should, I suppose be used to the noises by now. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been watching the geese and swans on the pond in White Sulphur Springs.
They were a landmark on a trip to the eye doctor or on the rare occasion that the family had time to fulfill my Book It medal at Pizza Hut – earned, surprise, surprise, for reading a pile of books in a month’s time.
Sitting in the backseat, my nose stuck securely in the latest “Babysitter’s Club” or “Anne of Green Gables,” I’d lift my head as we rounded the corner near Eggler’s just in time to count the birds and yell out the number.
I begged time and time again to get out to feed the birds, always to no avail. My mother protected my passion for the creatures by keeping me inside the car and away from the crankier of the species!
My soft spot for waterfowl reared its ugly head shortly after Jonathan and I got married, when I discovered a duck shower curtain – and later a clear toilet seat dotted with rubber ducks.
Our ongoing bathroom renovation has since cured me, but I’ve indulged my fascination with repeated readings of an old favorite of mine, “Make Way for Ducklings,” to Jillian. She’s added to the fun with her own favorites, “Ollie, and “Gossie,” the former about a procrastinating little gosling and the latter about a goose with bright red rubber boots.
And on our rides through White Sulphur, my eagle-eyed daughter has begun to yell, “Geeeeeese, Mommy! And swans!!!”
She gets her taste like I did – through the glass. And if the creatures want to waddle our way, we’ll wave gaily and stop the car because we make way for ducklings . . . and goslings . . .

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