Martine Remonstrates with the Geese

Martine at the L.A. Arboretum

Martine at the L.A. Arboretum

Martine and my father have some interesting things in common. My Dad loved to feed the pigeons and, before he married my mother, had his own pigeon coop. Martine also likes to feed the birds, but she prefers ducks and especially geese.

Geese are not the most cooperative of birds. Years ago, when Martine lived in Twentynine Palms and worked at the U.S. Naval Hospital there, we used to have brunch at the Twentynine Palms Inn. On the premises, there was a little pond and some very obstreperous geese, who used to go after Martine. I would have to run at them shouting “Bo!” until they backed down. (Thus no one would claim that I couldn’t say “Bo!” to a goose.)

The last time we went to the L.A. Arboretum, Martine brought along with her a sack of stale bread which she threw at the resident geese and ducks. Predictably, the ganders were being hyper-aggressive and kept pecking at the females and beta and gamma ganders to monopolize the bread. In return, Martine would remonstrate with those geese and make a special effort to feed the better behaved birds more of the crumbs.

Anyhow, when she does that, I feel a special warmth for my little French girl. There is something so sweet about her criticizing the “bad” geese that my heart warms to her all the more.