My grandfather had an old General Store, and when people could not get to the store, they would call their order in by phone, and he would write down what they needed and deliver it to them. Upon many occasions, during summer break, I was allowed to jump up in his old pick up and ride along. I had to sit down, when riding in the back of the truck though, and usually did just that. Some of the roads he went on were very bumpy, and sometimes he had to cross a small stream, and since there was no bridge, he went very slowly over the rocks in the creek to the other side.

Well, on this particular day he had gotten an order, and I helped him put together the grocery list. We put the groceries in a couple of big empty boxes. Then we loaded them in the truck and off we went to deliver the supplies. It was way up a hollow across one of the streams I spoke of, and the ride was very bumpy, but just to be with Papaw was a delight. I watched as the branches were hitting the truck, the calmness of the air, and the shadows the trees made upon the earth. The land was not cleared, so very pure and you could see 'critters' marks in the dirt and alongside the creek. The branches moving made perfect way for sunbeams to come down upon the earth, and the rays looked like a slide from Heaven. A perfect day, with the sun shining bright and no rain clouds in sight.

We finally made it to the house and I hopped out of the back of the truck, and straightened my dress out smooth. (Ladies are supposed to be 'proper' and straight, and I tried to be a little lady always, and especially when at Mamaw and Papaw's house.) Papaw saw the gentleman down by a flowing creek at the back of their home, and we took the boxes in and went out to join him. I was quite bored at this time, cause now Papaw was talking to him, and no one for me to talk with. So I played with a kitten there close by, and just looked around at my surroundings well.

Then I spotted them-- Geese. Great, I thought to myself, more animals to see and talk to. As I went toward the water where they were swimming, I then noticed the babies. Babies, yes... tiny little fluffy goslings. I counted right away, and there were 7 of them. Oh, just to touch one would be great. I lived in town so going out where the animals were so friendly and just so many of them, well, it was great!!!! I wanted to hold one, or even keep one, if they would give me one. I was only 7 or 8 years old so just figured if I was allowed to have one I must think of a name for a little fluffy gosling.

My mind floated around on names, "Fluffy", no! Not Fluffy, cause it would grow up and maybe not be fluffy. Maybe "Sunshine", yes, that sounded really nice, and they were bright as the sun, so would be fitting. Then it dawned on me, I didn't know if they would give me one. So I went up to the man talking with my grandfather and asked if I would be allowed to take one of the goslings' home. He was real nice, and looked down with loving eyes, and said, "Yes, if you can catch one". And as I started back down by the creek, he added, "Be careful and don't fall on the rocks". Oh, I was so happy! A gosling of my very own! I was so very happy. I stood and looked at them and there was one small one in back of the others, slower, but so cute and swam so graceful.

Yes! That is the one I want!! So very carefully I walked down closer to the water, and just as I was nearing where the gosling was, I heard a flutter, squawking, and looked around fast to see what was happening. The 'mama' goose was headed straight for me, flapping her wings and making weird noises. And what was worse, she was getting near me, and looked very unhappy. I was thinking to myself, "But he said I could have one, if I caught it!!". I began running back from the water, and it chased me about 6-8 feet away, then proceeded to go back to the goslings in the water. I didn't understand, -- he said I could have one!!

I glanced back up by Papaw and the man, who by now were roaring in laughter. Papaw came to me, picked me up, and began telling me that the goose was protecting her young, and would not give up her young, to anyone. She would protect and love them till they were big enough to fly away, or till they could protect themselves. I was still thinking "But, he said I could have one! That is not fair!" The man said if it were up to him, he would give me one, but was not what the Mommy goose was going to allow.

We stood watching them for a few more minutes, and gee, I would really have still liked to have one. But not this trip, I could see. Papaw said it was time to leave, so I said goodbye to the goslings and the kitten, and got in the truck. Papaw said to ride in the front to return home, so I did. While riding home, he told me how God had given all mother's a certain kind of 'love', called instinct, and the mother would protect the young against all things that could cause harm to her babies, even if it cost her life. She would protect and love them forever. I felt different then, and a kind of true respect for the goose to be so protective over her 'babies'. And I was, in her eyes, a threat to her offspring. And she was doing what she was supposed to do.

I did without the gosling, needless to say. But, I did have a lovely trip, and learned about geese and how they can love their own, and protect them from harm.

That was a lesson I never forgot, and still as I see geese and goslings, I will ponder back on the day I wanted to get me one. And then I smile.

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