To spend any amount of time around Canadian geese is to hate them.
They are bossy, poop constantly and will occasionally honk at you and display their disgusting tongues. Just knowing that they have tongues is bad enough. You can’t unsee that.
Your sister will probably never tell you about the time she may have saved a goose, and since she doesn’t read here, this is an excellent place for me to tell you about it.
Back when she was in marching band, and they marched at parades in a smattering of small towns across the state, I drove out over the scary bridge to pick her up from a very late parade day.
It was so late that I was surprised that anyone else was driving around and very few people were. It was cold and clear and very quiet on the scary bridge.
I don’t think any of you called it the scary bridge until you were learning to drive. The scary part is the slippery feel of the metal waffle surface on the tires. The way it’s thirty feet above the reservoir is not especially scary, until you think about how ancient the bridge is. These days I just avoid it and take a few extra minutes to cross on a less scary bridge.
That night, as we returned from the school, I saw something on the scary bridge that I had never seen before and have never seen again. A Canadian goose was staggering around on the bridge, flapping and struggling as its sad paddle feet slipped through the metal grate of the driving surface.
We slowed down and stopped in front of it and I told your sister to get out and catch the goose. She balked. I bullied, reminding her that she has wrangled all sorts of large birds before. She protested a little more, but I insisted and said that she would probably only have to wave her arms to shoo it off the bridge to safety.
Unfortunately, geese are not much like chickens or peahens. Chickens have more personality and peahens have even more stupidity. The goose had enough sense to flail more frantically as soon as your sister started to approach it.
They continued their bird dance long enough that I began to worry that we’d have traffic. Finally, she half-scooped the goose up and it whooshed over the side of the bridge. I congratulated her when she got back in the car. “You saved it!”
“I think I killed it,” she said.
“Don’t be silly, it can fly.”
“I heard a big splash.”
“Don’t feel bad, it can swim too. If it’s dead it’s not your fault.”
“Anyway, geese are horrible, so there’s that.”
And that is why those geese migrate in a V formation.
V stands for “Very possibly bested by a parade-weary horn player.”