Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Great Goose Caper

RC and BA (not the singer) with the goods.
(Click the picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years." ~ James Thurber (American Writer, 1894-1961)
Once upon a time in a Southern town far, far away there lived two boys. STOP! A little background is needed here that has nothing to do with this story.

Background: My mother is a QVC-aholic. She came by this honestly. Caring for my grandmother with Alzheimer's, she could not go out often to shop; so Christmas shopping was done with QVC. Usually, her purchases were great; 18K gold earrings, garnet rings, a set of dishes, jewelry, jewelry and more jewelry. These are good. But one year she saw these geese yard ornaments; Canadian geese, lifelike but still plastic. A step up from the pink flamingo yard ornaments that always graced my grandmother's yard, but still fake. The set came with two geese. You couldn't tell what they were by the boxes because they came in two parts; the body and head were separate, to be put together after opening. Even things that should not require assembly really do require assembly. Nyssa's name was on one box and my name on the other.

If Nyssa had been four, the sight of plastic Canadian geese might have been exciting but she was around twelve; that time of life when minor things take on major significance and when embarrassment may be evoked by only a word, a glance or the presence of plastic Canadian geese in the front flowerbed of her home. Heaven forbid one of her "classmates" (meaning "boys") should drive by the house and see them.

Actually, from a distance they weren't so bad. If we had lived in an area frequented by Canadian geese, I daresay you would not be able to tell them from the real thing; except for the obvious fact that they didn't move except to tip over in the wind. I even put red ribbons around their necks for Christmas decorations. (This was a double embarrassment to Nyssa)

Let's just say that Nyssa didn't care for the flowerbed ornamentation and leave it at that. Even though she rolled her eyes any time I repositioned them, they stayed and became a fixture in our yard for several years. This brings us back to our story which I will begin anew.

Once upon a time in a Southern town far, far away there lived two boys; or more precisely two teenage boys. One was a "Cracker" and one was "BA, (not the singer)"; yes, he was known by this complete phrase but we won't go into that. These boys were students (and I say that very tongue-in-cheek) in school with Nyssa, both a year ahead. One or both may have had crushes on the Nys at some time, but she only had a mild crush on BA (not the singer). Until the "incident" as I like to call it, I really didn't have a dossier on either boy.

It was December 2001 or January 2002, Nyssa's sophomore year at Immanuel. One weekend her friend, Katie M. spent the night. I was in my room downstairs which looked out on the backyard. The girls were watching movies up in the loft and playing music in Nyssa's room. Suddenly they are running into my room squealing; that sound that is an excited scream but done in a whispered voice. "Someone's out there! We saw a flash light out Nyssa's window." They had turned off all the lights upstairs and run down to my room. "When we came down the stairs, we saw a shadow on the front door window!" I tell them it is probably nothing; the wind blowing the bushes, but by now I have two girls under the covers of my bed. It's only a queen size and with all the cats there isn't room for three people as well. I convince them to leave and go back upstairs but instead they head to the dark living room; makes sense to go into a dark room at the front of the house by the door when you think you've seen someone outside. I knew it would be only minutes before they came back. Sure enough, here they came again. "Did you hear that?" Hear what, you can't hear anything out front from my room. "We heard a bump out by the street." Not likely, but to calm them down I let them stay in my room and I went and peeked out the living room bay window. Nothing but the street light down aways, no people, no suspicious cars, no other lights. Finally, they went upstairs and went to sleep; at least they did after a few more hours of giggling.

I was fixing breakfast the next morning when they came running in and screaming again. "Come quick, come quick, look!" They had opened the front double door and on the welcome mat was one of the plastic geese from the front flowerbed. Under one of the feet was a note that read: "The other goose has been kidnapped, we want Crossroad tickets or the goose is cooked." Thus started the Great Goose Caper.

While I wasn't pleased, it was not as bad as having to clean toilet paper out of pine trees and bushes, so OK we'll go with this. There was much giggling and twittering at breakfast as they tried to figure out who was behind it. From that moment on, the extent of my involvement was only to ask if Nyssa had heard anything about the goose.

A few days later she came home from school with pictures. The top center pictures of the goose (above); he was on a stump, blindfolded with a red and white checked dish towel, his beak taped shut with "duck" tape (pardon the obvious pun), and an old electric cord tied around his neck with the attached note: "Nyssa, give them the Crossroad tickets. - Goose." I think she had figured out who did it and was a bit disgusted at this point. She wrote a note back to the "goosenappers" that said, "Do what you want with the goose, you are not getting any tickets from me." She left it taped to the same spot she found the pictures.

Weeks went by, no notes, no goose. The remaining goose languished in the flowerbed alone. Then one evening after work, school, and basketball practice we arrived home to both geese sitting on the front porch. Well, one was sitting there intact. The other had lost his head, literally; but being plastic, it clicked right back on. I assumed this was the kidnapped goose sent back in pieces as the beak still had sticky remnants from the tape. I didn't ask and Nyssa didn't tell who she thought pulled the caper. The geese were back, the matter dropped.

In April, Nyssa turned 16. I sent out letters to teachers, friends and family asking for any pictures they had and for a birthday letter with memories of school, fun times, basketball, school functions, anything they had done with Nyssa and wanted her to always remember. With the replies I put together a large scrapbook, actually there were so many responses that it ended up being one and a half. She had no clue and I gave the books to her at a special dinner about two weeks after her birthday. (I still had letters coming in on her birthday.)

BA (not the singer) sent his letter in along with the picture at the bottom left of the page above. These two poor fellows would never make career criminals; they took a picture of themselves with the kidnapped goose, all the evidence anyone would need to convict them. This is a picture of the scrapbook page I put together to go with his letter.

What can I say? Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." ~ Albert Einstein
Postscript: What happened to the geese? Well, Nyssa let the drama department borrow one for a play her senior year. She forgot to try and get him back until just before graduation. The student director apologized profusely as he told her the goose was dead. He had accidentally tripped over some roping backstage and fell on the goose, permanently flattening him like a pancake. Nyssa did not cry. I suspect she secretly applauded the clumsy fellow.

The second goose made the move to Virginia. He is more at home here, as Canadian geese stay in the vicinity all year. Last Christmas he took his place in the front flowerbed with his red ribbon. His only problem was the snow. This goose had never had to deal with snow in Mississippi, so the three inches were more than he could handle. Yes, just a bit bottom heavy....Aren't we all?

No comments: