Beautifully illustrated story by Robert Murphy about a boy's friendship with a Canada goose.

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BANDY: THE TRUE TALE OF A COURAGEOUS CAPE COD CANADA GOOSE

Marcia Croce Martin

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THE DUCKS AND GEESE OF ELK CITY, OKLAHOMA
December 2007


November 2007: Choo among her Elk City friends.

    Most people who drive through Elk City don't even know they've been there.  After all, it's a small, nondescript Oklahoma town. Population 10,500.
    Last November, we drove past Elk City on our way to Las Vegas. It was just a name on the map. Just another little town among many little towns we'd drive by. We decided to spend the night 16 miles further west in the town of Sayre.
    That night, Earl fell sick. The nearest large hospital was located in Elk City, we were told. That's how we found ourselves in that little town the following morning.
    The medical care that Earl received at Great Plains Regional Medical Center was outstanding. The warmth, compassion and professionalism extended to us by the physicians, nurses and staff of Great Plains on that nerve-wrecking day forever sealed Elk City on our hearts.
    When the tests were done that day and Earl diagnosed, we took a walk down the street to the city pond. You can imagine our surprise and delight when we were greeted by the resident ducks and geese and our wild friends, the Canada geese, who make Elk City their winter home.


Earl spreads grain for the ducks and geese of Elk City on Thanksgiving Day, 2007

    We were fascinated by the incredible variety of ducks and geese at the park. Other than Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks and coots, there were many friendly Pekin ducks, aggressive African geese, Chinese geese, American buff geese, buff ducks, call ducks, crested ducks -- you name it! We'd never seen so many types of ducks and geese in one spot in our lives.


Pictured are four Chinese geese (white with orange knobs on their foreheads), an African goose (last goose on top left with a black knob on the forehead), an American buff goose (3rd goose from left, shown about to walk toward the curb) and a Canada goose.


A crested duck at Elk City

The ducks and geese of Elk City were wonderful therapy for us during the frantic, stressful week as we tried to accept the diagnosis and made preparations to return to Canada for Earl's further treatment.  Some of the geese and ducks at the pond were crippled or injured but they were courageous in the face of great difficulties. They gave us a reason to keep going no matter how dire the situation seemed at the time. The others greeted us with great enthusiasm every time we visited and were even successful at making us smile and laugh at their antics. We needed them during that dark, uncertain period.

Therefore, when we drove through Elk City and arrived at the park this Thanksgiving Day, we were relieved to discover that the park had remained unchanged from a year ago and we were thrilled to be greeted by our honking, quacking friends who made their way to us just as quickly as their webbed feet or wings could carry them.

It was our time to give thanks, our homecoming to a peaceful, caring community and our reunion with our waterfowl friends who brought solace to us in our time of great anxiety.


   




   








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