One summer day I decided to clean out the Canada goose’s pen. Her broken wing had healed and she was a day or two away from being released, so I carried her into the garage and closed the door. Realizing it was lunchtime, I went inside and made sandwiches. My kids and I sat down to eat, and a few minutes later there was a knock on the door leading into the garage.
“Is anyone coming over?” asked my nine-year-old son Mac. I looked at him blankly, completely forgetting about the goose.
“I’ll get it,” said my daughter Skye. She opened the door, and in hopped the goose. “Mom,” she said, already sardonic at age eight. “It’s for you.”
The goose strolled into the kitchen, as if it were something she did every day. Suddenly, however, she spotted Merlin – our dark, 120-pound, and, you’d think, scary-looking Curly-coated retriever – and let out a trumpet of rage. She tore across the kitchen, wings outstretched; Merlin, no fool, turned and bolted from the room.
Our kitchen and living room are connected by two doors at opposite ends, so it’s possible to run a circle in and out of the kitchen. Merlin, who evidently had no intention of being cornered, appeared and raced by with the goose in hot pursuit; they disappeared, then hurtled by once more.
“It’s like the ninth race at Hialeah,” I cried.
The two parrots erupted from their perches on the bay window. Zack, the yellow-collared macaw, flew from the room, shrieking hysterically; Mario, the African Grey parrot, circled the kitchen, landed on one of the counters, and shouted, “Are ya scared?”
“Merlin!” called Mac, who has always been the eye of the storm. “Mario is asking you a question.”
I waited for the next lap and threw myself in front of the goose. Hissing violently, she slammed on her brakes; grabbing her head with one hand and her body with the other, I gathered her up and lugged her back into the garage. When I returned Merlin was sitting in the corner, looking aggrieved, and my family had returned to lunch.
“Next time there’s a knock on the door,” said Skye, “maybe we shouldn’t open it.”