Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

For the past several months, I have been concerned that Henry could be at the outset of experiencing a nervous breakdown.

Granted he is his usual friendly self, always happy to see us, and without a mean bone in his body, or should I say, “a mean feather in his coat?” But, he continues to be persistent in wanting to come inside our house.

When I let him out of the barnyard to get some exercise and enjoy munching on some greenery, he immediately goes to the rear stoop, and begins gently tapping at the storm door with his beak, politely asking for entry. In the interest of preserving domestic marital happiness, I have not acceded to his wishes.

Recently a gaggle of Canada geese flew overhead in V formation on their northbound migration to the land that gives them their name. They were honking away as they flew, perhaps seeing Henry down below. He began honking back, perhaps telling them in “goosetalk” that he was perfectly contented to remain where he was and wishing them bon voyage.

I encourage Henry to remain in the barnyard, however I can empathize with his plight, inasmuch as how could anyone want to spend 24/7 with Gladys? He has opted, of his own volition, to stay in the outer yard, and to take his meals separately. For her part, Gladys does not seem to realize that he is outside, having formed a solid relationship with Quack the duck.

Henry’s problem, I surmise, is that he cannot understand why Maggie, the corgi, comes and goes with us at will, and he cannot do the same. I have commenced taking her out via another door to keep him from noticing, but I think I need to be more creative in handling the situation. I am giving him much more of my outside time, chatting, honking to the best of my ability, and walking with him. He likes all that attention, but he does not want to be petted or held.

The problem is compounded somewhat by the sly maneuvers made by Eve the cat. She is always hungry, begging for food. She thinks she can play one family member against the other. After being served by one of us, she carefully observes who did not see her being fed, and immediately meows at that individual, asking for her meal. She is the most duplicitous feline I ever have known.

Henry is a moderate eater, often leaving some of his serving for later, but not Eve, who has the mentality of a pig, ever ready to eat. If I gave into her food whim, she would expand to at least 25 pounds. I suspect she even has inspected Henry’s unfinished meals as potential second helpings for herself, but fortuitously she realized that she would not like corn or grain as well as her premium cat food. Not to be petty on my part, but, unlike both Maggie and Henry, Eve manifests the same lack of gratitude for her food that is typical of Gladys’ behavior.

Also unlike Henry, Gladys leaves no morsel uneaten. She truly exhibits a mentality more characteristic of a hog than a goose. Quite simply, she wants it all, and then some. She is a cotton patch goose, a breed developed to keep Southern cotton fields free of weed growth. Save for the times she is laying an egg in the late winter and spring, she is constantly on the move, thus given her exercise regimen, she has no “weight problem.”

I remain hopeful that Henry will continue to adjust to living outside our house, knowing how much we care for him and value his company, and one day come to the awareness that he can lead a wonderful life without having to be in our kitchen.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staffhttp://www.rrecord.com
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