Behold, Father Goose himself sitting beside his mate. When I looked down the steps yesterday to check on Mama G, there he was. She’s been on her eggs for about twenty-four days so the goslings could hatch any time. I’ve had a few visits with Mama but this was the first time I’ve officially met Papa.
“Mama G,” I said. “Papa. You okay today?”
Mama looked up in silence. Papa gave me a long gander over his shoulder. I sensed I’d come at an awkward moment.
“If this isn’t a good time . . .”
“You the guy I took on the other day?” Papa said.
“I am. I came down to check on the wall and it upset Mama G.”
“Don’t pick another fight,” Mama muttered. “It was a misunderstanding.”
“I ought to flog him,” he hissed. “I ought to goose him. I ought to tar and feather him. What if he figures out what you’re sitting on! Hello! Think big honking omelet!”
“Darling, he already knows. I’ve shown him.”
At this Papa flew off the handle. “You . . . showed . . . him . . . the children?” he shouted.
“Sweetie, it’s not like he’s a turtle,” she warbled. “Come give Mama a kiss.”
“Turtles!” he spat out like he was tasting rotten weeds. “They’re down there — waiting, watching. When our babies hatch, they’ll be sitting ducks for those villains.”
“You’ll protect them, Dear,” she said soothingly. “Just as you do me.”
They didn’t see me take their picture. I don’t think they knew when I left. It was, after all, a family matter.