I came home from work the other day and saw a cardboard box tossed in a pile of leaves on the driveway. That’s odd, I thought. I am expecting a box from Amazon, but they always bring it up and leave it on the covered front porch.
I walked over to look at it, and sure enough, it was my Amazon package lying in the damp leaves. “What the hell,” I fumed to myself. “Why on earth did that UPS man just toss my package here?”
Oh wait, that’s right. I had forgotten about Uncle Waldo…
the Guard Gander.
The formerly peaceful and good-natured goose now patrols the property, keeping a sharp eye on all movement while his mate Abigail placidly roots around for spring growth in the weeds. And anything that doesn’t look quite right to him is investigated and summarily attacked, with much hissing and snapping of serrated beak.
Including hapless UPS men who are just trying to walk up to the porch with an Amazon package.
I laughed silently to myself, imagining the poor deliveryman’s frightened retreat, tossing the box over his shoulder as he ran for his truck with Uncle Waldo hissing and biting his legs.
I have been bitten by Waldo many times recently, and it doesn’t really hurt much. It just feels like a hard pinch. But it is incredibly intimidating when he comes at you with his head lowered, hissing.
And just yesterday evening when I went out to put away the flocks, foolishly carrying a red bag of meal worms (the color red tends to trigger aggression in poultry), he charged me, undeterred by the stick in my hand and the feed bucket I was trying to defend myself with, and knocked me flat, proceeding to bite me any place he could land a blow.
People, I was freaked out. In my scrambling to get away, I felt that familiar sharp searing pain in my injured knee and knew that it was my meniscus ripping even further.
Good thing I’m having surgery next week, I guess.
But Uncle Waldo has really become a problem. He never attacks Phil; this is because Phil has used the same method of dealing with pets or livestock who challenge him for 25 years. He does what he calls “playing baby,” which entails scooping up the rebellious animal and snuggling it up tight against himself with his arms wrapped around it and carrying it around like a baby, crooning to it softly. Uncle Waldo never attempts to attack him during these baby sessions but looks highly offended.
But everyone else feels Waldo’s wrath.
We keep him because we would like goslings. Goose is wonderfully fatty meat, perfect for rendering fat to cook with. But here’s the thing: Uncle Waldo is apparently a fighter, not a lover. As in: he guards Abigail but he does not breed Abigail.
Which means that he is a very handsome bird, but he is essentially a useless pain in the ass.
And, having been goosed by this goose more than once, I do not mean “pain in the ass” metaphorically.