A Total Stranger Buys the Groceries for Mother Goose

Dearest readers, though Mother Goose has a notoriously bad memory, she will never ever forget today.

There I was at the grocery store checkout, making a connection and establishing rapport with the checker, Barbie. She noticed that I had left my gigantic frozen turkey on the bottom of the cart. I retrieved it and passed it over to her, explaining that my sons would be home from nine months of Navy training this weekend, and we were planning to make a BIG DEAL over them. Barbie stood straight and tall to inform me that she was a retired Air Force servicewoman and showed me her name tag with an Air Force insignia attached to it.

As she continued to ring up my purchases, we chatted about the importance of recognizing and honoring our servicemen and women for their sacrifice. I took out my wallet to write a check, but before I could begin to pay for my order, the man in line right behind me stepped up to Barbie and said, “I’m going to pay for her groceries.”

With a look of total shock and flabbergastedness, Mother Goose turned to look at the man who would make such an offer.

“Oh no,” I began to protest. “You don’t have to do that, really.”

“I would like to do that,” he said quietly. “Really, I want to. You’re a military family.”

Barbie’s jaw dropped down to the floor.

The wing of Mother Goose went up to her mouth as tears started to fill up her eyes.

“Oh no,” I said again. “Really…” and I just kind of trailed off because the look on his kind face said that this was going to happen no matter what I said.

This has never happened to Mother Goose before, and I was completely speechless with wonder and gratitude. I couldn’t honk to save my life — the tears just rolled down my feathery cheeks as I threw my arms around this amazing stranger.

“Don’t cry,” he said softly. “Or I’ll start crying and I’m supposed to be the big, strong guy.”

With a gulp, I thanked him from the bottom of my heart and told him that I’d never forget him. Barbie the checkout woman asked his name because she wanted to report him to the store for Extreme Kindness and a commendation.

“Michael,” he simply answered, shaking his head. He wouldn’t provide her with any more information than that. The bill was totaled up, and he smiled as he handed her $81.00.

Mother Goose just kept weeping and saying “thank you” and “God bless you” over and over and over.

Outside at my car, unloading all of those beautiful groceries, I started sobbing.

Michael, wherever you are, God bless you. I pray that some other goose comes into your life and blesses you the way you have blessed me today.

Still in a joyous state of shock, but totally feeling the love in our little corner of the world…
Your friend, Mother Goose

Seriously!  He really bought all my groceries today!  What an amazing encounter!  THANK YOU with all my heart, Michael!

Seriously! He really bought all my groceries today! What an amazing encounter! THANK YOU with all my heart, Michael!

The Goose is Getting Fat

Mother Goose was considering her weight the other day. After a filling Thanksgiving dinner complete with stuffing and gravy and turkey and assorted pies and cream cakes, Mother Goose realized that the time has come to be more aware of her fat intake. And certainly the following nursery rhyme played into that feeling. At my age, a goose has be on constant alert for the possible over-accumulation of holiday calories. Oh, the cookies I bake! The fudge I make! The liberties I take!

But back to our story…

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do
If you have no ha’penny, then God bless you!

Being a silly goose myself, I wonder how the tradition of Christmas goose for dinner came to be. I feel a little sad about it…

But according to my dear friends at Wikipedia, “King John of England, in the year 1213, ordered about 3,000 capons, 1,000 salted eels, 400 hogs, 100 pounds of almonds and 24 casks of wine for his Christmas feast.” Now THAT’s a much better menu for Christmas. Who wouldn’t feel jolly after a feast of salted eels paired with 24 casks of sparkly wine? It’s so much healthier than a old, fat, greasy goose covered with goosebumps and pin feathers.

Warning: Graphic animal carcass photograph

But returning to our story…

If you are like Mother Goose, your heart is moved to give lavishly throughout the Christmas season. Christmas is about gifts to our loved ones, charitable giving to strangers. Christmas is ultimately about God’s gift to us in sending His Son into our dark world to bring light and hope and love.

We feel a secret inner delight in giving, don’t we? Unless, of course, we are Ebeneezer Scrooge — in which case we better prepare ourselves to be visited by the spirits during the night. (By the way, Mother Goose just finished reading A Christmas Carol on her Kindle, so it is very fresh on my mind today.)

Who can pass up the Salvation Army bell ringer without stopping to drop some coins in the bucket? Who doesn’t buy a bag of groceries to give to the local food pantry or get some extra toys for the Toys for Tots Movement? It’s in our hearts to give and give and give in December. We just love it! Right?

But oh, back to my story…

A penny or a ha'penny or whatever's in your heart.

Please put a penny in an old man’s hat if you can, dear friends. Any old penny will do. On my fifty-minute enthusiastic walk this morning (which I do each day because the goose is getting fat), I walked right by several pennies laying on the sidewalk. I should have picked them up and put them in an old man’s hat, but there were no old men to be seen today. Pity…

And if you have a ha’penny, you can give that too. I ha’t seen a ha’penny lately, but if I did see one lying on the ground or rolling around the bottom of my purse, I’d sure put that in the bucket or in a hat. Either way. How much is a ha’penny worth these days anyway? Maybe about half a cent? Still a ha’penny saved, is a ha’penny earned, I always say.

And if you’re broke down with nothing in your pocket this Christmas season (and I’m sure there are quite a few of us whose unemployment checks have stopped coming…), then God bless you.

Whenever Mother Goose is downtown in Chicago, she is met by many people on the street asking for money. The homeless, the unlucky, the unfortunate, and the penniless seem attracted to Mother Goose as well as the daughter of Mother Goose. I try to help out with a dollar here or there, dropping some extra change into an empty McDonald’s coffee cup or whatever I have in my wallet if I’m feeling especially sensitive and compassionate.

Sometimes though Mother Goose has to say “I’m sorry”. I always feel very sad about that. And then the homeless people look at me and smile and say, “God bless you today, dear.”

Dear and gentle reader, keep some extra cash in your pockets this Christmas season so that you can be a blessing to anybody who might need a little help getting their Christmas goose ham. And bee blessed!

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 79,310 honks to date

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March 2023