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What's Good for the Goose: A Friendly Missouri Farmer

October 16, 1994|From Associated Press

PATTONSBURG, Mo. — When Vivion Williams walks over his farm fields, Jasper walks over the fields. When Williams walks around his yard, Jasper walks around the yard. When Williams goes to the gas station, Jasper does too--flying behind Williams' pickup.

Jasper seems to have forgotten that he is a Canada goose. Or is it she?

"I'm not right sure whether it's goose or gander," said Williams, who loves birds and keeps a small flock of white geese. "I just called him Jasper because I thought it was a good name for him."

A pair of Canada geese stopped at Williams' northwest Missouri farm a couple of months ago for a brief rest. A few days later, one was back, and it began shadowing Williams and talking to his dog, Lady, in dulcet goose tones.

When the 78-year-old farmer takes a run to the gas station, Jasper takes wing--flying just over the top, rear or to one side of Williams' pickup. When the truck stops, Jasper lands.

Just to play a trick, Williams once sneaked into his truck and took off. Jasper became agitated, honked three times, then took off, flying in widening circles around the farmhouse like an enraged model airplane. Finally, he spotted the truck. All was well. He landed.

Williams knows that one day this goose fascination with man and dog will end and Jasper will likely fly South with others of his kind.

"He's free to go at all times," he said. "I never make any effort to cage him or pen him or anything. But he's a lot tamer than the domestic geese I have. I'll miss him when he goes."

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