A Goose by Any Other Name

When I am out bicycling, I always pay attention to the animals I see, for two reasons.

First, I have always loved animals. I enjoy watching and admiring them all, from “Scooter,” the driveway lizard (yes, I name random critters; don’t judge), to the magnificent Palominos down the road from our neighborhood.

The second reason comes from a slightly darker place… if one of those creatures should happen to be an aggressive canine who views me as a nutritional supplement, I’d at least like a heads-up, thank you. And so I watch.

I ride past a lot of livestock in our rural area, including goats, cattle, horses like the aforementioned Palominos, and cute little donkeys, as well as the dogs that supervise them. But things are not always as they seem.

One morning I was aghast to see half a dozen full-grown Canadian geese hanging by their webbed feet from someone’s hog-wire fence. Oh, wait — those are the lifelike resin lawn-ornament ones. The homeowner must have moved them off the grass so he could mow. Cancel that call to the SPCA.

Another day, I noticed a new landscaping feature on the front lawn of a small ranch. The owner had set up an old-fashioned bathtub as a watering trough and planted some bushes beside it. In fact, a little donkey was stepping toward it for a drink as I rode past. How cute. On the way home an hour later, that same donkey was still taking the same step toward the bathtub. Fooled again! “That’s no livestock,” I said out loud (yes, I talk to myself while cycling; don’t judge). “That is Jivestock!”

So then I started wondering what lies behind this Jivestock trend. I had heard of people using fake owls to scare snakes away from chicken houses, and fake snakes to keep ducks or geese from nesting in inappropriate spots. The fake geese, I imagine, are there to ward off possums or predatory birds. Curious, I did a little online research and found you can also buy fake coyotes to scare away geese. It all sounds like an Old MacDonald’s Farm version of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” What next, fake hunters to scare away the coyotes?

But I digress…

Really, I don’t mind getting fooled by Jivestock while cycling — no harm, no foul, as they say. (Or, in the case of the fake geese, “no fowl.”) It actually amuses me, if anything. But “jive” abounds in other areas of life, with much higher stakes. For instance…

Money, fine and useful as it is, can offer only counterfeit security.
Hyper-scheduled busyness imitates purpose.
The physical pleasures, meant as gifts for us to enjoy, masquerade as our sole source of happiness.

Several weeks ago I told about the first time I learned that things are not always as they seem. I invite you back to my childhood to see how wrong a person can be, and how I found a real source of security, purpose and joy. The only real source, in fact.

And that’s no jive.

Thanks for reading!
PS: I am linking up this morning with Company Girls Coffee. Come have a cup!

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in Thoughts on Two Wheels, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Goose by Any Other Name

  1. Star says:

    Ha! There is a fake Dalmatian in front of one of the houses I run by in the mornings. The first time I saw it, I had to walk almost right up to it before I could figure out if it was fake or just freakishly still! I really do not get the whole fake animal as a yard ornament phenomenon. I, like you, am so grateful for the One True God. How amazing that He is so faithful, so loving, so kind to send His son for us!


    • Jan says:

      Whoa, I’ve never seen a fake Dalmation… love your phrase “freakishly still!” I did ride past a smallish dog once that I’m still not sure about (real or fake).
      Thanks for commenting!


  2. Jen says:

    This is a great piece of writing. I went from laughing out loud, to nodding my head in silence, a slight smile on my face, knowing exactly what you mean about true security. I also want to thank you, dear one, for your perpetual and continual encouragement that you have left on my blog. It means so much.


  3. Meg Moseley says:

    Hi, Jan! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. The more, the merrier!

    I don’t have a driveway lizard, but I have a little anole lizard who hangs out on and in the grill in the back yard. I’ve started calling him Smoky. He changes colors from green to gray or brown, depending on where he is, and sometimes he’s just gray from the ashes.


  4. Marie says:

    Hey, I enjoyed your post…very funny……do you think having fake animals is like having fake flowers around…and do you have to dust them? Anyways, thanks for stopping by…ya, the coming home day was daunting, and I ended up with a good cold from the recirculated air on the plane( someone kept hacking!) …but the trip was very worthwhile and enjoyable. Come again!


    • Jan says:

      Thank you, too, for your visit and for commenting. I hate to admit it, but I seldom dust — so if we did have fake animals they would be on their own! I will look for you again on Friday.


  5. Pingback: Uppity Appliances | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

Your Turn: comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.