Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GATHERING (07/14/16)
- TITLE: Gesse Gaggle
By Judy Sauer
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“Pa, why do they honk so loud?”
“Well son, ya’ know, city folk is always complainin’ ‘bout how geese hang 'round ponds and leave droppings. They do here too. Sure makes for messy walkin’ to go fishin’, but we ain’t complainin’.”
“I’ve stepped in their poop—it’s gross! I kinda understand why people complain. But Pa, you never answered my question. Why do they honk so loud?”
“It’s ‘cause they encourage the entire gaggle to keep goin’—to keep up with their speed. There’s a spirit of teamwork they have goin’. As a gaggle, they can fly much farther than they could by themselves.”
As the geese drew overhead, Billy grabbed his pa’s arm. “Pa, did you see that?
“See what, son?”
“That front goose stopped leadin’ and ‘nother took over. Why is that, ya think?”
“Well son, I guess it must get perty tirin’ to lead the group. See how they fly in the shape of a V?”
“Yes, sir. What’s that mean?”
He tossed about Billy’s golden hair. “Someone in town was talkin’ ‘bout this just the other day. They said it causes the entire flock to be lifted up makin’ ‘em stronger to fly farther as a group than if they flew alone.”
“Did they say more?”
“They sure did. If a goose fell out of the flock it learns perty quick how much slower they go alone, and join the group again.” Pa drapes his sun-kissed arm across Billy’s back placing his broad hand on the lad’s shoulder.
Startled, Billy asked, “Pa, did you hear that shot?”
“Yah. It seems someone’s dinner just got caught.”
“So why did two other geese go after the shot goose?”
Inching his son closer to him, he said, “Billy, when a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, just like ya saw, two geese drop out of the group and follow the ailin’ bird down to help and protect it. They stay ‘til it dies, or can fly again. Then they join another V formation or catch up with their original flock.”
“If only us people would take a lesson from geese. It kinda’ made me think of a church song.” Billy placed his right hand on his temple, and his face scrunched.
Pa could tell the boy was thinkin’.
A bit later, Billy burst out in song, “They gather together, and with the Lord’s blessing, they stick by each other, and forget not their own.”
“That’s perty good, son. So, the next time you see a gaggle of geese, whatcha gonna ‘member?”
“Geese are smart critters, and teach us to encourage, and don’t always be the leader ‘cause it’s just plain tirin’.”
“They go faster as a group than by themselves, and stick together in sickness and in health.”
“That’s right.” Just then, a whiff of Ma’s good ol’ country cookin’ wiggled their noses. “Mmm…somethin’ smells mighty good.” They savored the aromas. Pa asked, “And do ya know why one arm of the V is longer than the other, son?
Screwing up his face, as if trying to activate more brain cells, Billy replied, “No, Pa, I got no idea why.”
Pa scruffled Billy's golden thatch, “It’s ‘cause they’s more geese in it!”
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