Monday, March 11, 2019

Gregory Goose and the Long Migration

This is a children's story I originally wrote on in March 2012, when my kids were 8 and 10. I've never shared it with anybody before...I heard a goose flying overhead today, so it seemed fitting to share it here, almost exactly 7 years after I started writing it.

                The days were getting shorter, and the air was growing cooler. The water in the pond was starting to get chilly. Fall was here, and little Gregory Goose was excited. It was time for his first migration!
                All of the adult geese were busily packing up, loading trunks and suitcases with everything they would need for the long winter. Gregory wandered among the flurry of activity, waiting excitedly and impatiently.
                “Is it time yet?” he asked eagerly in his mother’s ear.
                Mother Goose frowned. “No, Gregory. Go play with the other goslings. We’re busy.”
                Gregory kicked the ground sadly and waddled away. He turned to go find the other goslings when he spied his father. He ran as fast as he could to his father’s side, flapping his wings wildly. “Is it time yet?” he screamed.
                Father Goose signed and shook his head. “No, Gregory. Go play with the other goslings. We’re busy.”
                Gregory stomped towards the other goslings, muttering to himself. “Waiting is so BORING! When will it be time to GO?”
                The other goslings all stared at Gregory as he talked to himself. Finally, Georgie stepped forward. “What’s wrong, Gregory?”
                Gregory stomped his feet again. “Mother Goose says ‘Go play’. Father Goose says ‘Go play’. I don’t WANT to play! I want to FLY!” Gregory spun in a circle with his wings spread as wide as they could go. “I’ve been practicing all summer, and now it’s time to go, and we’re not going!”
                Georgie looked alarmed. “We’re not going?”
                Gregory shook his head. “I’m waiting and waiting and we’re still here! I don’t think we’ll EVER leave!”
                Georgie honked wildly and ran away from the group of goslings towards a cluster of geese near the pond.
                Gina stepped forward shyly. “Gregory?” she asked quietly?
                “Yeah?” Gregory said.
                “My momma said we’ll go when all the geese are done their jobs. If someone doesn’t do their job right, we will have problems.”
                Gregory sighed. “I know. I just want to fly so badly!”
                Gina smiled. “Come play a game with us.”
                The goslings all played together for a long while, taking turns playing hopscotch and trying to knock each others pebbles out of a circle.
                After a long while, Grandpa Goose honked long and loud, waiting for everyone to look at him.
                “Everybody get into formation! We’ve practiced this many times before. You all know what to do, so let’s go!”
                The geese, their backs loaded with trunks and suitcases, and the goslings all gathered into two lines, with Grandpa at the front in the middle. He started flapping his wings and one by one all of the geese and goslings followed his lead. Soon, they were in the air, and Gregory was thrilled.
                Gina flew just behind Gregory. “See?” she called up to him. “I told you we’d go if you just had patience!”
                Suddenly a squawk went up from a goose on the left leg of the V. “Oh no!” she wailed, “I forgot the towels!”
                A flutter of activity flew through the flock, and Grandpa suddenly veered sharply left and turned around. The flock followed closely behind.
                They landed back at the pond and milled around while Gertie Goose, the towel-packer, set about stuffing piles of towels into the trunk she had heaved off of her back. Gregory watched her earnestly, waiting impatiently for her to be done.
                Finally, she was done, and the flock got back in formation. They flapped and flapped and took to the air.
                The geese flew and flew, over small villages and big cities, over forests and lakes, never stopping until many hours later when they stopped at a quiet pond. All the geese and goslings took a quick swim in the refreshing water to cool down after the long flight. They gathered together and had a bite to eat, and as the sun dipped below the horizon, they settled in for the night in the clearing around the pond. Gregory tucked himself in next to Mother Goose, yawning.
                “Good night, Gregory,” Mother Goose said softly.
                Gregory closed his eyes and mumbled, “Good night, Mother Goose.” With that, he was asleep.

                When the sun rose over the new pond, the geese again got into formation quickly and took to the skies. They hadn’t been flying for long when Gregory noticed that the wrong gosling was in front of him.
                Gina, flapping furiously to keep up with the other geese, turned her head slightly. “What is it, Gregory?” she asked, clearly annoyed at the distraction.
                “Where’s Georgie?”
                “What do you mean, where’s Georgie? He’s right…” Gina, startled, missed a flap of her wings, almost causing Gregory to slam into her. “Oh no!” she howled.
                Older geese around them turned to see what the commotion was all about.
                “What is it?”
                “What’s going on?”
                “Who said that?”
                “What’s the problem?”
                Gina was sobbing. “Georgie’s not with us! He must still be at the last pond!”
                The message passed up the line from goose to gander and finally to Grandpa Goose, who once again veered sharply left and turned around, the flock following closely behind.
                Soon, the pond was in sight. Gregory could see a gosling running frantically back and forth, flapping his wings desperately. Grandpa Goose’s booming voice rang out, “Georgie!” The gosling suddenly stopped and looked up. He started jumping in excitement when he recognized his flock.
                They landed, retaining their formation. Georgie quickly got into place in front of Gregory, and they were off again, flapping furiously to rise high in the sky in their V formation.

                Hours and hours later, they arrived at another pond. The water here was slightly warmer, but still cooled them down nicely after a long flight. The sun set again and all the geese and goslings drifted off to sleep.
                In the morning, a flurry of activity rushed around the pond as everybody readied themselves for the final leg of their trip. When they were in formation, everybody double-checked to make sure they were between the right people. They flapped and flapped and up they flew, ready for the long day ahead of them.
                They’d been flying for a few hours when Greta Goose dropped out of formation. Curious looks were exchanged. Greta turned slowly around and called over her shoulder, “I left the blankets back at the last pond!”
                Grandpa Goose sighed loudly and turned around to follow Greta, the flock following them both. After a few hours, they made it back to the pond. Greta quickly gathered up the blankets and loaded them into her trunk. When she was done, she took her place back in the formation, blushing deeply. They took to the air again, but only after making absolutely sure that everyone and everything was accounted for. Grandpa Goose, getting grumpy at all of the delays, took off quickly, barely allowing the rest of the flock to catch up to him.
                Because of the delay, the flock flew into the night, pushing on despite being tired to reach their winter home. Finally, deep into the night, they arrived at a lush warm pond with lovely grassy areas around it. As they settled in to sleep, Gregory looked around. “It was a good trip, Mother Goose,” he said.
                Mother Goose nodded. “Yes it was, Gregory. Now, you go to sleep. We have a long day of unpacking in the morning. You’ll be expected to help.”
                “Okay, Mother Goose.” Gregory yawned widely and nuzzled his beak into Mother Goose’s side. He was content to finally be at their winter home, and floated away into sleepy dreams.

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