Monday, October 13, 2008

Reader's Diary #401- Hezekiah Butterworth: A Thanksgiving Dinner That Flew Away

Short Story Monday

Yes, it's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada Again. So what's with the goose clip? Well, I'm sorry, but geese are just funnier than turkeys.

Hezekiah Butterworth must have known this even back in the late 1800s when he wrote "A Thanksgiving Dinner That Got Away:"

"There is one sound that I shall always remember. It is 'honk.'"

Yes, I'm immature enough to still find a simple "honk" amusing. Fortunately, Butterworth's story is aimed at younger readers, so the humour was up my alley. It also triggered a few memories. For those of you who might balk at the almost Norman Rockwellian wholesomeness of the opening, it's not pure sentiment, it's realistic for some of us. My father raised all sorts of fowl when I was a boy, including geese, the largest and most intimidating of the lot. I quickly learned that an aluminum baseball bat did nothing to frighten them away (though it probably didn't help that my aim was lousy and I could never make contact). Eventually, I knew to check if the coast was clear anytime I wished to simply cross the backyard. Yes, I too remember "honk." I also remember "hiss." And a wingspan so large you'd swear rabid angels were about to strike you down.

Unfortunately Butterworth didn't seem able to milk more comedy out of the bird and took the story in a forced, slightly supernatural direction which didn't seem to mesh well with the opening tone. Still, it's a charming little story taken from The Children's Book of Thanksgiving Stories found in its entirety at the Project Gutenburg.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great first name.

Geese are scary. Geese hate me. It's possible evil spirits inhabit them.