The Sailor Sons Smiled

In recent weeks, Mother Goose requested a GIGANTIC favor of her readers and fans: to flood the mailbox of her sailor sons with Christmas cards from around the nation and around the globe.

We are happy to report that “Operation: Christmas Card” was an ENORMOUS success! My sons only check their mailbox a couple times a week because usually there’s nothing in there — there’s nothing more depressing than an echoing mailbox at Christmas.

But when they checked it, they found ten cards! They were happily surprised, and didn’t know a single person who sent them!

The next time they checked their mail there were twenty cards all stuffed inside!

On Christmas Day, they reported to me that they had fifty more cards in their mailbox! They laughed and smiled at the wonder of it all!

Just a few of the cards they received...

Just a few of the cards they received…

There were cards from school children with the kindest sentiments of encouragement and Christmas love. There were cards from retired Navy officers. There were gift cards and goodie boxes. There were handmade ornaments — those sweet popsicle stick creations that always bring joy on the tree.

Wherever you are, dear readers, Mother Goose is honking a delightful “thank you” in your general direction. If a goose flies over your house honking today, it’s me. If a goose is near your pond flapping her wings and honking for joy, it’s me. If you see goose tracks in the snow, that was me dancing a jig of great happiness.

With all my heart, I thank you for making a difference. My sons will never forget Christmas 2012 because of your gracious thoughtfulness and consideration to them. My sailor sons smiled on Christmas Day.

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Tasting Wine with Mother Goose

Many of my more abstaining readers may be shocked to learn that Mother Goose enjoys a glass of wine now and then! Indeed, I do find great joy in the occasional sip — just to dip my beak into a half-filled crystal goblet brings a smile to the feathery face of this old goose. Of course, I imbibe for medicinal purposes only, you understand. As the great apostle of old advised his young friend Timothy, “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” (1st Timothy 5:23)

Recognizing my ever-present health concerns, my dear friend, Jane, invited me to her first annual wine tasting party.

Mind you, this was no run o’ the mill drinking party, but a well-organized and well-attended event. Several of Jane’s most intellectual and well-heeled friends were invited to learn more about wine and to taste some very exquisite varietals around the fireplace of Jane’s new home. There was gaiety and spontaneous laughter and much making of merriness as befitting the holiday season.

Jane had brought in a wine expert for this occasion — a young man by the name of Chuck Keller, and he is an actual wine advisor with a unique company called Wines for Humanity. He travels to your home with his case of fine wines. A portion of the profits of wine sales for the evening are funneled into a worthy cause such as support of shelters for homeless families with children, or aid to the wounded warriors in our country.

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Chuck poured a bit of wine into each of our glasses and began educating us about the fine art of wine tasting. Our first sample for the evening was a light-bodied Italian white wine. He patiently explained to us how to examine the color of the wine by holding our glass up to the light.

After we ooooh’d and ahhhh’d about the lovely color, Chuck demonstrated how to tip our glasses at nearly a 180 degree angle so as to judge the “legs” of the wine. Mother Goose was somewhat confused at this idea, but apparently we were to watch for how the golden liquid clung to the inside of our goblet as we tilted it back upright.

This was all quite odd to Mother Goose — I had to pause and reflect how the legs of a wine might influence my drinking of the wine… In the end, it didn’t matter to much to me personally, as all the wines we tasted and retasted were all quite excellent to my palate regardless of the thickness or length of their legs.

When we had ogled the legs of the wine for long enough, our wine advisor showed us the proper method for swirling the wine in our glasses so as to release the bouquet of the grapes. This is not as easy as it appears. You must set your glass on a flat surface and then briskly rub the bottom of the goblet around and around in a vicious circle. Then immediately bring the glass up to your nose and using both nostrils, sniff deeply the aromas of the wine.

This was truly glorious to Mother Goose who had never experienced the rush of wine odors before this particular evening. It is in the swirling of the wine that the very complex smells are mixed with air and then sent wildly into your olfactories. We could identify hints of vanilla, tobacco, berries, pears, cranberries, violets, earthiness in the red wines, and even grapes in the bouquets of these various wines.

At this point in the tasting, our lovely and amusing hostess had an interesting question: “Chuck, are these smells and flavors built into the grapes or do they add natural flavorings to make it taste so good?” I was glad that she asked this question because Mother Goose has also wondered at times how these wines made from grapes can taste and smell so differently. Perhaps you have also wondered that same question… Our wine advisor patiently advised us all that these wines have no added ingredients except yeast to hasten the process of fermentation.

And then at last when Mother Goose was becoming so thirsty and her throat so parched that she thought she might faint, we were encouraged to drink our wine. And oh the joy that filled my heart!

And on and on it went throughout the evening. Starting with the Italian white, moving to a New Zealand Savignon Blanc, over to France for a country red, back to Italy for a deeper red, to Argentina for a Malbec and at last we finished with a Golden Cream Tango served in a tiny chocolate cup. We sipped, we tasted, we nibbled on all the tasty foods at the table — cheese, crackers, shrimps, olives, sushi and even some sweet and sour meatballs.

We learned so much about wine and wine-making and wine-growing regions of the world. We learned history and geography and language. We learned some chemistry, and we learned social graces. We learned about sulfites and the difference between twist-on caps vs. natural corks vs. unnatural corks. We learned about wine pairings which is simply discovering which wines compliment which foods. In fact, Mother Goose even heard Chuck say that wine is perhaps a wonderful condiment for the foods we eat, and I liked hearing that!

But, of course, I only drink a bit of wine for the health of my stomach, you understand…

And it was all really fun for Mother Goose. In fact, the evening just got more and more fun by the minute. My stomach never felt better!

Dear reader, I hope that you will find yourself in the presence of some discerning wine tasters this holiday season. Do not be intimidated by the complexity of the wine you sample, but only let your heart soar to new places as you sample wines from around the world. Let your love take flight on the wings of a dove as you enjoy time with your family and friends and the fine fruit of the vine.

And thank you, dear Jane, for including me in your intimate gathering of sippers and tasters. I’m sorry this picture of you is so blurry — I guess that means that your wine tasting party was a wonderful success!

Jane and Allen might have tasted even more wine than Mother Goose...for their health, of course!

Jane and Allen might have tasted even more wine than Mother Goose…for their health, of course!

As Busy As A Goose

We’ve all heard the expression “as busy as a bee”. And that’s really busy, I know. The bee is a tireless worker — they take the work ethic to the next level and then the next one after that. It’s a common “bee expression”.

A honey bee at work…

But what about a goose? Is there an expression for a busy goose?

Here are some common (and also some uncommon) expressions about a goose I’ve discovered at this website:

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

We’ve used that one before, haven’t we? But what does it mean, for gooseness sakes? What is good for one person is good for another; often what is good for the man is good for the woman. Have you heard this version? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? I like that one!

“She doesn’t have the sense God gave geese.”

Simply put, it means the person is stupid, perhaps more stupid that a goose. Mother Goose finds this expression very offensive…

“The goose hangs high.”

This expression means that everything is good. I find it ominous…

“It’s as slick as goose grease.”

Well hmmmpph…how about it’s as slick as human grease…

“The story gave her goose flesh.”

Of course, this is the bumpy condition of the skin induced by cold, fear, etc., caused by contraction of the muscles at the base of the hair follicles with consequent erection of papillae: so called because of the resemblance to the skin of a freshly-plucked fowl. Also called: goose bumps, goose pimples, goose skin. Mother Goose is alarmed at the thought of freshly-plucked fowl! Please know that I apply multiple hand lotions and creams all over my bumpy goose skin.

“The soldiers were goose-stepping through Berlin.”

This is a military march step in which the leg is swung rigidly to an exaggerated height. Perhaps you’ve seen footage of the Third Reich army… This is definitely not a positive image for the goose.

“All his geese are swans.”

This saying refers to the person who constantly exaggerates the importance of a person or thing. And is there a reason why a goose should ever wish she was a swan…

“To cook someone’s goose”

This expression means to spoil someone’s plan or bring about their demise. Again, Mother Goose takes offense.

“To kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

And we know this expression suggests the sacrifice of future benefits for the sake of momentary present needs. Very troubling indeed…

“To goose a person” is to prod them playfully in the behind. I do not think this is an appropriate expression at all. It seems to imply that a goose would run up behind a person to bite their bottom…

“As often as a goose goes barefoot.”

This is a new saying to Mother Goose. It simply means ALL THE TIME. Looking down at my own webbed and rubbery feet, I quickly grasp the meaning.

“She cannot say boo to a goose.”

This is a way to describe a shy person. Believe me, plenty of introverted and shy people have said “boo” to this goose!

“Off on a wild-goose chase.”

Mr. Charles Funk defines this expression as a vain pursuit of something, which even if attained, would be worthless. OMIGOOSENESS to attain a goose is worthless? Perhaps I need to goose Mr. Funk once and for all…

Well, dear reader, that gives us much to ponder!

Tomorrow we will explore just how BUSY this goose was on Saturday. I have pictures to prove it! Hmmmpphhh…. HONK!!

As busy as a goose…

Never a Plain Jane

She was born with a fancy name, Jane Marie Belongea. Though she entered our world in the usual way, she was in Wisconsin. And if she stayed there, she’d never meet Mother Goose. So after many teenage adventures, Jane learned the trade of fashion design, earned the degree of textile delights and moved to Illinois, where I was already waiting for her but she didn’t know it.

Because we were both living incognito lives at a local grocery store, she as a Salad Bar technician and Mother Goose as a Bake Shop clerk, Jane and I immediately recognized in each other the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit. There is sometimes a wonderful, knowing look in the eyes of a new friend when you just know this is going to be good.

We shared a back room, behind-the-scenes work space at the grocery store. It was a dark and stormy evening outside, but where we worked the air was filled with the sounds of laughter and camaraderie as I prepared the bread and rolls for baking and she assembled hundreds of chef salads.

Suddenly Jane shrieked in horror — I went running to her side. “What is it, Jane dear? Are you OK?” I asked with much concern.

“I’ve lost my heirloom pearl earring,” she exclaimed with great sadness. “I thought I was wearing it when I got here, but now it’s gone. I’ve looked on the floor, but I just can’t find it. Do you suppose it fell into one of the salads?”

Mother Goose looked at her new friend with amazing compassion. “I will help you find it,” she offered.

Jane smiled gratefully.

Together, the two friends opened and perused the hundreds of pre-made chef salads. With our delicate touch, we carefully dug through the cheese, the turkey and ham strips, the hard-boiled egg halves, the lettuces and carrots. For hours we searched for the lost pearl earring — salad after salad — trying not to disturb the artfully arranged beauties in their clear plastic houses. The pearl, the pearl….where can the pearl earring be?

Of course, we never found it….because it was at Jane’s house, lying on her bedroom floor where she had accidentally dropped it!

And so began our sweet, always interesting friendship which has amazingly lasted nearly twenty years.

She was hysterically present at the birth of one of my babies. She designed and stitched my most recent wedding dress as well as several other fancy dresses for me. She has always been a great source of inspiration and good cheer. She has weathered many storms and tragedies. She has redefined and redesigned herself so many times, I have nearly lost count of her many identities. Oh, but she has always remained a true sister in the Lord.

Here are just a few of her many personas — you may begin to think that she is like poor Sybil with all the fascinating characters she has living inside of her:

Bridal and formal wear designer
Salad bar technician
Personal tailor to a well-known midget gentleman
Loving mother
Faithful wife
Wilderness camp director
Missionary to the children of Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico
Professional stylist to Christian recording star, Virginia Hill
Devoted coach of the high school girl’s track team
Stephen’s Ministry counselor
Avid cross country skier and able canoeist
Licensed real estate professional
Amazing and forgiving friend…

We don’t see each other often because of our crazy schedules, but Mother Goose is all in favor of a good texting session. Just last Saturday we brought each other to tears of joy and incontinence with the following text conversation. The cell phone of Mother Goose sometimes predicts what she wants to say — with hilarious results. By the way, we were attempting to encourage one another with some paraphrased thoughts from God’s Word…

Jane: Hey sweet dear Mother Goose…hope u r doing well! Sorry for the late response…..am working 3 jobs lately…LOTS of hours…coming to an end soon! Luv u!
MG: Oh precious friend…let the joy of the Lord be your strength
Jane: Oh ya! He is sew faithful!!! 🙂
MG: His mercies r new every morning!
Jane: Shelter in the time of need!
MG: By his grace I can leap over the wall
Jane: Praise the Lord, I heard His call
MG: He rejoices over us, singing love dongs
MG: Ha ha songs
Jane: wat r love dongs?
MG: I’m laughing so hard, tears
Jane: lol!….ouch!
MG: Kum BA yahoo my lord
MG: OMG hilarious
Jane: Tears…!!!!!! Wetting pants now!
MG: Thx for the laughs honey
Jane: U too!
MG: Love u Jane Marie dear
Jane: 😀

Overjoyed with Jane.

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 65,065 honks to date

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