A Love Story- Big Daddy & Momma
By Cheryl D. Isleib
I don’t know how to start this story but it is truly out of love. I have always been a lover of all animals whether they're in the sky, under the sea or on land. This true experience was one I will never forget and it was such a blessing.
I happened to watch a movie about a flock of geese who lost their mother. A little girl guided them to their migrating home. Need I say more.
Well, that was in 2008. I had to travel to Detroit, Michigan and went to Ontario, Canada. I guess I was so in love with Canada Geese that I was on a mission to find them. As they mate for life, take care of their young… I wanted to find them. I live in a small town in NC and I have been known to run outside when I hear their wonderful honking and flying in the blue sky. There are many that stay here because of the climate. However, these were not one of those breeds.
My love and research became stronger.
In 2011, my step-father died so I had to move into a condominium complex. On March 3, 2012 to my surprise, with wonder and excitement and love, two geese landed in the small oriental pond in the condominium. This pond had an island with weeds and lots of pond grass. I could not believe it. Never in twenty years has a pair decided to nest on the island. I kept a journal and we became great friends. I will tell you my heart was so full! I am not a writer by any means but I called them Big Daddy and Momma. They trusted me. A little cracked corn from time to time… it was heaven on earth. As I watched them Big Daddy was also standing watch while Momma was making their nest. She sat on the nest and I could actually skip four river rocks onto the island to treat her. She hissed a bit, but that was okay. Finally ,early May we had five little goslings. As they “plunked” into the water and took their steps around the pond, I was there. Not to intrude but it was miraculous eventually B.D and Momma allowed me to connect with them. Momma would stand behind my right shoulder always hissing a bit as if to say “ I am allowing you to be with them.” Eventually,they started to “pond hop”. First in a straight line to the next bigger pond, one half mile away. I found them and could call them. They would fly across the lake when they heard their names. It was so wonderful, I cannot express the joy. The babies would sit on my lap, walk on my outstretched legs and just be. I named them all. The smallest one was Minnie and the largest gosling who pleasantly gave me the most trouble, I named Peckerboy. He would nip as if to say, “I’m big and I am hungry!”. When they were that young I would make a noise like them, “ U-Weet”. Their little feet felt like rubber. Momma would let me pet her full breast… so soft, so beautiful, even on her head. Big Daddy would move in when he thought it was now his turn to be rubbed on.
After a while, I would find them at a different pond. There are many lakes and ponds in this part of Western North Carolina. On one occasion, out of about 50 geese, I called them and they flew to greet me. They knew me as their trusted friend.
The next year 2013, they returned on March 3. Big Daddy came to the side of the pond, turned upside down and wiggled his tail feathers as if to say “ Hey, we’re back!” It was the joy of my life to see them return. They then nested. On March 12, with tears in my eyes, I had to shoo them away. This is because that year, the condominium association decided they were a nuisance. They took Momma’s eggs and tried to capture Big Daddy and Momma. They got away, thank God. I found them and she put her head down as if in mourning. I was devastated as she was, but they were still together.
On March 12, 2014 when they returned, the association had removed the pond grass on the island and replaced it with huge river rocks. They stood regally as if to say, "What happened?" They trusted me so I ran with arms flying, trying to warn them, “ Fly away, danger!!!”
My mother, the love of my life, passed away March 13, 2014. I believe the geese were letting me know… we all have to go.
I loved the geese and my mother so… Fly away and be at peace.