Toshie and the Wild Geese

Copyright 2005 By Bucky Edgett
    Toshie was spending the weekend at her grandmother Yo’s house. In the morning, Yo said, “Do you know, Toshie, I heard geese last night, very late in the quiet night. They kept me awake, honking as they flew by. Wasn’t that a lovely thing to hear?”
    Yo and Toshie had a nice day playing and doing some chores. Sometimes Yowie played, but he never did chores. He couldn’t remember what to do, because he wasn’t as grown up as Toshie. Yo read Toshie three stories at bed time, and Toshie heard almost all of them.
    Yo’s old house made funny little noises in the quiet night. Toshie woke up.
    She lay still in the quiet, holding Alexandra. Yowie was asleep in his own bed. He never woke up the whole night.
    Very faintly, from far away, Toshie heard the honk, honk, honk of the wild geese. As the geese came nearer, their honking was louder. Then Toshie couldn’t hear the honking any more, but instead she heard a rushing sound like waves at the ocean mixed with a high faint whistling. The face of Lady Moon, which Toshie could see outside her window, was covered with big dark shapes that dropped down to the ground. Three of the shapes came right at Toshie’s window. She heard the loudest windy whistling whooshing noise of all and there were three beautiful wild Canada Geese landing on the floor of Toshie’s room!
    “Oh, geese,” said Toshie, “Hello geese.”
    One goose stepped forward. Her proud black neck was long and straight. Her creamy tan breast was plump and strong. Her white chin was neat as neat. She was so big, she was as big as Toshie.
    “Hello, Natasha,” said the beautiful goose. “We are on our way to our winter home on the bay, and have stopped to have a visit.”
    “Thank you, geese,” said Toshie. “Would you like to have some cocoa?”
    “Yes, thank you,” said all the geese. Toshie fixed some pretend cocoa on her play stove, and she and the wild geese enjoyed their cocoa together.
    “Now Natasha,” said the first goose, “our visit is almost over. Would you like to fly down and pet us before we go?”
    “Yes, please,” said Toshie. The goose stepped up near Toshie, and stretched out her black neck. She very gently pecked Toshie on the cheek. All three geese spread their strong wings and flew out the window, and Toshie was caught up in the rushing and whistling of their wings so that she went right out with them. They landed in Yo’s back yard by the end of the grapevine. Dozens of beautiful wild geese stood about Yo’s yard. Their creamy breasts and pretty white chins were silvery in the light from Lady Moon. Toshie walked among them and petted their broad smooth backs. The geese chuckled and murmured softly.
    The first goose said, “We must leave you now, Natasha. We have many miles to fly to our Winter Home on the Bay, and we are very hungry. We have flown a thousand miles today, with nothing to eat. And your grandmother’s grass is so nicely trimmed there isn’t much for us here.” The geese all began to cackle and honk. They opened their wings and shook them.
    “I will fly you back to your room,” said the goose. She pecked Toshie on the cheek and both of them flew in at the window.
    “Sleep well, Natasha,” said the goose. “Dream of us eating soft rich grass at Winter Home.”
    “Goodbye, goose,” said Toshie. “Thank you for coming to Yo’s house. I love you.” The goose flew out the window. Toshie saw the dark shapes of the geese cross Lady Moon. She heard their honk, honk, honk far away.
    Yo was working in her garden. Toshie was using the sprayer handle of the garden hose as a microscope, looking at insects and pretty flowers. Poppa came out to see them, carrying his coffee.
    “Good morning, Peanut,” said Poppa. “Morning, Mom. Everybody sleep well last night?” Then Toshie remembered the visit of the wild geese.
    “Yo,” said Toshie, “Last night the geese woke me up saying honk, honk, honk and they flew in the window and we made cocoa and flew in the yard and I petted all the geese.”
    “That was very nice of the geese to let you pet them,” said Yo. “Wild creatures aren’t usually so tame.” Poppa and Yo smiled at each other.
    Poppa left for band practice. In the afternoon, Momma came to Yo’s house to take Toshie home.
    “I need to run some errands,” said Momma. “Nicky is at Merin’s, and Toshie and I are going to look for some new shoes for her. I think we’ll drive through The Valley to the mall. We’ll be home in about two hours. You need anything?” Yo said no, that she was fine. Toshie climbed into her car seat and Momma buckled her in.
    As they drove by the Long White Fence in the Valley, Momma pulled her car over to the side of the road.
    “Listen, Toshie,” she said. “I think I can hear geese.”
    “Yes, Momma,” said Toshie, “The wild geese say, honk honk honk.” And indeed the sound of honk, honk, honk came drifting into the Valley from over the ridge.
    “They’re coming closer,” said Momma. “Oh look, here they come.” Two long vees of wild geese flew down. They circled in the air high over Toshie’s head. Then the vees broke into a flock of honking geese with roaring wings. They landed in the pasture beyond the Long White Fence.
    “These are my geese,” said Toshie. “I will pet them.”
    “Oh, Toshie,” said Momma, “you told me your geese were flying away to the bay. These must be some other geese. Wild geese don’t like to let you get close. If we try, we’ll frighten them away. Let’s watch them from here.”
    “Oh yes, Momma,” said Toshie. “That’s right.” But her face fell in disappointment.
    “These geese can be your friends, Toshie,” said Momma. “You just have to be friendly from far away.”
    Then Toshie knew that all geese were her friends, and that made her happy. Forever after, when she heard the wild geese honking far up in the sky, Toshie always stopped to see them, and wave Hello Goodbye.