Geese in the Pool!
by Margaret Rodeheaver
"When can we go swimming in your new pool, Gramma?" Adam asked. He stood on the balcony of the condo looking down at the bright blue rectangle.
It was a big pool with stairs leading out of the water at the corners. There were chairs all around it, and flowers and grass beyond.
"Whenever Grampa finds the box with our swimming suits and towels."
Adam helped his sister Carly up on the step stool so she could see over the balcony rail. The pool sparkled in the morning sun. To the north, Lake Erie shimmered dark blue and green.
“Is that our beach?” Carly asked, pointing to the sandy bit of shore off to the east.
"Yep. That's Edgewater Park, our favorite beach," Gramma said.
"I like this condo because it has a pool,” Adam said. “But I’ll miss the bird feeder in your old back yard."
“I will too. But look at all the seagulls," Gramma said pointing.
"We're higher than they are!" Adam watched the seagulls circling in the sky. A few sailboats skimmed across the lake. He looked again at the pool. It was still early, and no one was swimming yet.
“Hey, everybody. Surf’s up!” There was Grampa wearing his old swim trunks and a colorful beach shirt. “Better get your swim suits on, or I’ll have to go down to the pool by myself.”
Adam and Carly raced to put on the swim suits their parents had packed for them. Soon Adam bounded into the living room in his swim trunks. Then Carly appeared wearing her bathing suit and flip flops. Gramma was ready too, with plenty of fluffy towels stuffed in her beach bag.
The four took the long walk to the elevator, and Carly pushed the button that took them to the ground floor. It was another long walk to the door leading out to the pool.
Adam hurried to the open door, but stopped, eyes wide. The others joined him, and stood staring.
Two large Canada geese and six little goslings paddled around in the pool. The big geese had long black necks and heads, with white patches on their throats and cheeks. The fuzzy goslings were gray and yellow, with black bills.
"How did geese get in there?" Adam asked.
"They must have been nesting nearby,” Gramma guessed. “Probably in that brushy grass beyond the flower garden."
Adam looked at the grassy field, and saw a fence and an open gate.
Two workmen walked around the pool. One had on a red tee-shirt, and the other wore a ball cap. As the men got close to the geese, the large birds flapped their wings and hopped out of the water. The goslings tried to follow, but could not get out.
"Their wings are not strong enough," Adam said. "They're too young to fly."
After a moment the large geese jumped back into the pool near their little ones. They swam away from the men, and the goslings followed.
Adam groaned. “How will they get the geese out of the pool so we can swim?” he asked.
“Let’s watch and see,” Grampa said. “Maybe the workmen will have some ideas.”
The men walked around the pool, shooing the geese toward the steps at one corner. The big geese were able to climb the steps and hop onto the pavement. They waddled back and forth, staying close to the goslings. The goslings paddled around and around in the water over the top step.
"I don't think they can climb out," Adam said.
The big geese hopped back in the water and led the goslings to safety in the middle of the pool.
“What now, I wonder?” Gramma said.
“Maybe they could make a ramp, like our Papaw has by the steps to his porch,” Adam said.
While the workmen talked together Adam looked around. He saw a long orange board on a rack fastened to the side of the building. The board had holes along the edges making it easy to carry. Adam spoke to the workmen and pointed to the board.
The man in the red tee-shirt took the board off the rack and carried it to the pool.
"What is that, Gramma?" Carly asked.
"It's a backboard. We used them to rescue people when I was a lifeguard."
Adam watched as the men placed the board in the water on the steps. "See, they’re making a ramp," he said.
The man in the red tee-shirt tilted the board into the water, but the end kept floating up. He had to hold it down. The other man waved his arms, trying to shoo the geese toward the ramp. But the geese were afraid of the men. They swam to the middle of the pool again.
“Poor geese,” Carly said. “They need a step stool like I used on the balcony.”
“Yeah, but one that won’t float,” Adam added.
The man in the red shirt stood beside the pool with his arms folded, watching the geese. The other man pulled his ball cap off and scratched his head. Adam looked around again for ideas.
Suddenly he walked past the pool chairs toward some large rocks around the flower bed. He tugged and tugged, and finally pulled up a flat-looking rock. The man in the ball cap helped set it on the top step in one corner of the pool.
“Well, that’s a step stool that won’t float!” Grampa said.
The man in the cap motioned to the others to back away. Then he crept around the pool, easing the geese toward the corner. The geese swam toward the stairs, but then swam away again.
Finally one brave goose climbed on the rock and out of the pool. It paced along the edge of the pool, staying close to the others. The big goose still in the water herded the goslings toward the stairs. One by one they scrambled onto the rock and were able to hop out of the pool. Finally the last big goose climbed out.
The geese waddled past the pool chairs, through the flower garden, out the open gate, and into the grassy field beyond.
Suddenly Adam heard clapping, and looked around. He didn’t realize that other people were out on their balconies watching the workmen rescue the geese. The workmen bowed and waved to everyone.
“You should take a bow too,” Grampa said to Adam. “You had the idea that finally rescued the geese.”
"I have another idea,” Adam replied. “Let’s go swimming!"