“Shhhh, don’t be so obvious, Mildred!” Harold exclaimed (quite obviously).
Mildred ruffled her feathers in distaste. “I revoke that statement! I am ever so subtle in my covert inquiries.”
“Keep your voice down,” whispered Hildegard, “follow my lead – feign preening, like this.” Hildegard made a show of twisting her neck around allowing her bill to mindlessly stroke every feather over her left wing so she could get a good look at the new arrival.
Harold began to feign preening as well. One, by one their geese neighbors waddled over curiously, joining the surveillance.
“Charming mate, in’t he?” A scraggly goose chimed in.
The goose to his right added, “A bit lanky, eh? Sure do stick out like a sore thumb don’t he?”
Mildred piped up, “I wouldn’t know I’ve never grown a thumb of my own, much less a sore one. Sounds rather uncomfortable. I wonder if he is uncomfortable. You think his neck gets tired?”
“I was wondering about his legs,” Hildegard queried, “I wonder if the tide has snapped his legs in half before.”
“Preposterous, “declared Harold, whoever heard of such a thing. No, he seems to be confident in his stance, he wouldn’t look that way if the bay had gotten to him, good lord, remember Waldo?” The gaggle shared a few sympathizing honks in agreement.
“Yes, yes poor Waldo, may he float in peace,” Mildred spoke somberly.
The scraggly goose broke the moment of silence, “Well, oughtn’t we welcome him to the goose pad then?”
“I suppose…” Hildegard trailed off uncertain. Then convincing herself, “He has been perched on our rocks long enough now to warrant a simple greeting…”
“Salutations fellow, feathered friend! How do you do?” Mildred was waving her wings about as she called out to the migrant. “Do think he heard me?” She whispered to the group.
“Heard you, Mildred? I don’t think he had a choice! The whole bay hears you honking all day long!”
“Harold, you miscreant. You’re the one that only has one volume level. And it isn’t reticent, I can tell you that.”
“Hush! Look, you made him fly off now!” said Hildegard
“So much fer makin a new acquaintance,” the scraggly one began floating away, the one on his right a few inches behind.
“Well, you happy now, Mildred? Your raucous honking lost us a new acquaintance. We’ll never know his story.”
“Well, Harold, I am not pleased, but it was not my doing. Perhaps he doesn’t speak goose.”