Risky Business with Lawrence

My dear Husband Goose had a RISKY adventure last night in his ongoing efforts to help our friend who wanders, Lawrence Little.

We had returned from a lovely afternoon dinner and visit with Cousin Laura and her son Anthony — in fact, we were still digesting the delicious fried chicken, stuffing, carrot cake and saganaki when there was very loud and insistent knocking on the front door of the Goose family dwelling. Mother Goose was busily making up the beds upstairs with fresh and delightfully soft sheets and could not answer the door.

I could hear talking downstairs but could not quite make out the specifics of the conversation. And then Husband Goose popped his head into the bedroom and announced that he was taking Lawrence to a place somewhere on Central and “Where’s the leftover chicken and stuffing in case he hasn’t eaten?”

“Omigooseness, it’s in the fridge,” I replied, but he was already heading down the stairs. I smiled to myself at his sweet eagerness to serve our homeless friend some homemade dinner and drive him to his desired destination. Husband Goose has a very large heart, and it seems to be growing larger everyday as he sees that he can indeed make a difference in the life of one single person.

Peeking out of the bedroom window, I watched Husband Goose back out of the driveway in his ten-year old Cadillac Eldorado with Lawrence riding shotgun…heading for one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods on a Saturday night! HOnk Honk!!!

Imagine my concern when I looked at my cell phone ten minutes later and saw that I had missed a call from my husband and there was also a text saying “Out of gas.”

out of gas

Of course, in a frantic flap of feathers, I tried calling him, but didn’t get an answer. I replied immediately to his text asking where he was and did he need help. I listened to a voice mail that he had left accidentally — one of those recorded messages that happen when the phone is left on unbeknownst to the caller. I could hear my husband talking with somebody, asking where the nearest gas station was.

There was nothing I could do but wait.

Finally a text message.

“The Lord helped me.”

With great relief, I received his follow-up call describing the situation. He had dropped off Lawrence at a temporary residence he’s staying near a White Castle restaurant and then made a left turn onto a dark street and then another left turn onto a darker street. There are many streets like this in Chicago — one way streets that can lead you deeper and deeper into gang territories.

This street of traffic was blocked by a small commuter van unloading a disabled and wheelchair-bound passenger. At that point in his adventure, the car chugged, sputtered and then nothing but silence from the under the hood.

Indeed out of gas…

A predicament indeed in this neighborhood, no matter who you are.

Suddenly behind him was a dad in a van with his young son.

“Hey buddy, you’re blocking the street. What’s going on?”

Husband Goose explained his dire circumstances. The man was willing and able to help this older goose in a crisis, sharing what little gas he had in his gas can and then even driving him to a gas station nearly five blocks away and back to the stranded Caddie still parked on a quiet dark street in gangland. I’m sure that Husband Goose wondered what might be left of his pretty car after twenty minutes of apparent abandonment.

But lo! and behold! All was well, the thirsty car was satiated, hands were shook, thanks were extended as well as a few dollars for the stranger’s kindness. Indeed I can only assume that he was an angel of mercy on a treacherous mission to help a goose who stepped out to help a homeless man.

Let’s just say that when you make the personal decision to do “whatever it takes”, in essence to lay aside your personal security and go on the mission to assist a homeless person, you will undoubtedly find yourself outside of your own comfort zone.

It will surely cost you to walk alongside a person who walks miles everyday in search of shelter and food — the true necessities of life. It might mean you give up your left overs or your hot chocolate. You might have to spend time, and it’s never ever convenient to stop doing what you had planned for the sake of someone else.

We give of ourselves when we consider the plight of another. The unfortunate homeless have a unique set of problems, but they are not impossible problems to solve. Indeed, if we help one person at a time, the problems are not insurmountable at all.

There is a solution.

The solution might be you.

God bless you today with love,
Mother Goose

P.S. Lawrence asked if we could take him to church again today, and also he is considering going back to college. Just sayin…

Tutor Me THIS, Mother Goose

Yesterday was the fingerprinting, and now let the days of the criminal background check begin…

I wonder if the Wisconsin state patrol “incident” will come up again. I wonder if the church shunning “incident” will resurface its ugly head. I wonder if my traffic tickets will show up. And what about my day in court after the rear collision accident…

Much honking…

They provided me with a nice menu of various crimes, misdemeanor and felonies. I think their intention was to jog my memory for any activities I may have been involved in that may have been contrary to the laws of the land. Nothing on the menu looked very appetizing or appealing to Mother Goose. And I shall spare you the details of the list…

But on with my story!

Yes, Mother Goose has been selected from a large applicant pool of millions (I’m assuming…) to perform and provide tutorial services to the small children in the Chicago Public School district — on the far west side of the city. These neighborhoods are desperate places — both the need and the risk is great. Many of my most faithful readers will remember how often Mother Goose has mentioned the Austin and Garfield Park communities, and how my heart is touched by the unemployment and crime and gang presence in those areas of the great city of Chicago.

And as soon as my own background is checked and rechecked, I’ll be going daily into those areas of the city to help the little ones to become proficient in their reading and math skills.

And yes! This is a paying gig for the goose! You might even faint away if I told you how much they intend to pay me!

Not too long ago, I posted a little story about Dreaming the Impossible Dream. One of my impossible dreams is to work with military and veteran families in these west side neighborhoods — one of the challenges that we face in our coalition of services is to actually locate these invisible families. They don’t easily self-identify to outsiders.

I truly believe that this tutoring opportunity is going to lead to many connections with kids of military families. Maybe mom or dad is serving in the armed forces. Maybe a big brother just left for Afghanistan’s border zone. Maybe their daddy just got back from the war, but he’s not the same as before he left.

There will be children sitting at my table who know what it’s like to be separated from a parent or sibling — I’m going to be in the right place at the right time to not only teach them how to read better, but help them to deal with the stresses particular to military kids.

It’s nearly like a mission for Mother Goose!

If my criminal background check shows me as a clean goose, then I’m in. HONK HONK

Love, Mother Goose

Three Birds with One Stone

Mother Goose was born for multi-tasking. Like most mothers, I have an innate desire and ability to accomplish more when there is more on the table to accomplish. Something just clicks inside my brain — perhaps in yours as well — when we discover a way to successfully manage objectives simultaneously. Ohmygooseness, I just get goosebumps when I think of the possibilities!

Last Friday was one of those deliciously satisfying multi-tasking days.

We live just four miles from one of Chicago’s most beautiful treasures, the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s a gorgeous place — one of the oldest and largest conservatories in the world. I can barely contain myself in describing the wonder of hundred-year old trees and plants all under a glass roof.

However, the conservatory is surrounded by some pretty dicey neighborhoods. Many old geese are actually afraid to drive their cars through these neighborhoods in broad daylight. But you know Mother Goose — always ready for an adventure! So I grabbed my Kindle, my phone, and a bottle of water; I jumped on my bike and sailed down the street.

It was slightly overcast as I pedaled along the streets, past boarded up stores and grated windows and doors. I smiled at everybody who looked up from their business to see a goose riding a bike. Of all the wonders of the day, I’m sure I got more stares than anyone else in those neighborhoods. I waved my wings at the gangsters making their deals on the street corners, and they waved their handguns at me.

In no time at all and with no problems whatsoever, I arrived at my destination and grinned at my own audacity and faith to do this adventure without telling anyone where I was going. Maybe I was a goose on the lam, as they say…but that is neither here nor there. Time to relax and explore the beautiful environments of the conservatory.

Only four miles from home!

As I walked into the Palm House, I smiled. There was a young lady at the Curiosity Cart, and she offered to tell me about where chocolate comes from. She had actual cacao beans and nibs and plenty of information for me. Sadly, she did not offer to give me any of her beans or nibs, so I stuck my beak in the air and walked away.

Strolling along under the fifty foot tall palm trees from around the world, my skinny goose legs began to protest all the exercise. I found a lovely quiet corner to sit for awhile and read my book. I’m blazing my way through The Hunger Games series, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Katniss next.

Photo courtesy of The Garfield Park Conservatory

Just as I was getting to the good part in my book, along came a group of teenagers on a field trip. I had already observed a very quiet group of preschoolers passing silently by the palm trees, but this gaggle of teens was not very quiet, nor very polite. They questioned the relevance of a goose sitting under a palm tree reading a Kindle. Imagine! I shot them a look of consternation as I packed up my bags to waddle along to another private place. A goose needs privacy most of all when she is reading her Kindle.

I thoroughly enjoyed the desert room with all of its cacti and succulents, and I might have plopped down next to the agave, but again, the field trip crowd was quite distracting. The kids were adorable to Mother Goose, but their teacher was very sharp-tongued, and Mother Goose wanted to push her into a corner to feel a few of the natural barbs.

A perfect place to dump a crabby teacher…

A century plant!

Little flowering cuties…

Instead, I headed out into the great outdoors to observe the gardens. I found a sign with an arrow — it said “This way to the Garfield Goats.” Intrigued, I followed the arrow, and it did indeed lead to the goat pen, but not a goat was in sight. Hmmmph… I did find some boxes of bees, and that was very interesting. Mother Goose is not afraid of bees in the least. And they posed for my camera.

Busy as a bee.

I truly love bees.

The air was sweet and lush from the green grass and flowers — I could see waves of humidity rising in the sunshine. Such a blessing to have this verdant oasis in the middle of Chicago’s concrete and asphalt.

You can see the Willis Tower peeking over the shoulder of the Conservatory. The Willis Tower used to be called the Sears Tower. And we call it the Serious Tower.

Back inside I found that the Fern Room had been reopened — the Conservatory suffered much damage last summer from a horrible hail storm, and the broken glass had fallen most severely in the beautiful Fern Room. Mother Goose loves the Fern Room! I especially love the waterfalls and the koi ponds. I found another quiet bench to park my backside, and once again pulled out The Hunger Games. There’s something so relaxing and peaceful about the sound of water falling — I was immediately transported into my wonderfully fictitious story. Don’t you just love getting lost in a storybook?

The gentle, musical sound of water tinkling down the rocks…ahhh…

Too soon, too soon it was time to leave. As I unlocked my bike, I promised myself and the Conservatory that I’d be back sooner rather than later. Peddling home, I was radiant and all the pedestrians I met on my way couldn’t help but notice. A glowing goose on a bicycle — a sight for sore eyes. Many kind people greeted me along the way, saying “Hey beautiful!” and “Way to go, Mother Goose!” and “Lovely day for a ride!”

I accomplished much in those few short hours. My fresh air and exercise are very important to a goose. Getting away to rest and relax with a good book is vital to my imagination. Admiring the ferns, palms and cacti, I was reminded of what a big beautiful world we live in. My corner of the world is quite small, but on my bike, I can go places other people can only dream of seeing.

You know how I feel about clematis…

Mother Goose is truly blessed. Incidentally, I would never throw rocks at birds — that was just a catchy title to my story. 🙂

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 78,282 honks to date

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