by Hollee Temple
Marshland Episcopal Cathedral boasted the most magnificent steeple in Bigtown. The contemporary cathedral had been constructed of steel and glass to produce the feeling of being right in God’s gleaming eye. Marshland Episcopal had every attribute I desire in a church, and had it not been for an embarrassing incident in the parking lot, I might still be going there today. Instead, I have a melancholy and cautionary tale to relate.
As its name implies, Marshland Episcopal Cathedral was built on the edge of a marshland which had long been the nesting ground of wild fowl. Many species of water fowl make their nests in the natal marshes of their ancestors. I never had any reason to concern myself with the nesting habits of fowl until my first and last spring season at Marshland Episcopal.
One fine Sunday, I parked my car and proceeded to walk toward the cathedral. As I approached a tree studded island, I noticed two geese, one sitting and one standing in the grass. Thinking myself in no peril whatsoever, I walked past the island toward my goal. Then I heard, “Honk,” followed by several louder and closer honks.
Just when my fight-or-flight response triggered, but before I had started running as fast as my high heels would allow, I felt something grab the skirt of my new red and white poppy-covered dress. I heard a ripping sound followed by a flurry of frantic honks. I tugged to free my skirt, and I felt several hard pinches on my tender bottom!
I pivoted to face my attacker, but as I did so my full skirt flared upward and the gander disappeared beneath it. I must have been a sight to see rushing in circles, screaming, beating at my billowing skirt, hat dangling by a hatpin, bun askew, feathers flying, amid lace torn from my white silk underskirt dragging on the pavement.
A bevy of church men rushed to my rescue. I will never forget how those men stood nearby, scratching their heads and holding their chins while they watched me struggle with a honking, nipping goose under my dress!
My cries for help resolved their indecision, and two or three of them dove under my skirt and got control of that wing-flapping gander. I cannot bear to recall what happened during the several minutes it took them to overpower and disentangle that big bird beneath my skirt!
I can only bring myself to relate this ghastly tale because I harbor the hope my story might save others from a similar predicament. So please take precautions in springtime. Before care freely walking about, be sure to inspect grassy areas for evidence of nesting geese. Never forget, father geese are very protective of their goose mates and goslings. Now you know that by merely walking near a nesting pair, you run the risk of being attacked by a gander which could result in the undesirable and extremely unsettling circumstance of men wresting with wild fowl underneath your dress and then discussing the incident for years afterward.
Exerpt from "Thelma Lou Whimsy Goes Church Shopping"
Copyright 2011 Hollee Temple