The street that I once lived on faced a lake, where a family of geese spent their days gliding back and forth, and anticipating the bits of bread thrown to them by the children of the neighborhood. Sometimes, wild geese would come visiting, and one became so enamored with one white domestic goose that he decided to stay.
At the time, I was completing a master’s degree in music, as a lyric-coloratura soprano. Juggling the role of mother with carpools, dancing classes, and athletic events, I commuted four days a week to classes at a university sixty-five miles away.
As my master’s graduating recital was approaching and I had completed my course work, I rehearsed each morning in my living room the recital program of Handel, Berlioz, and a number of other operatic composers.
Once I began singing the first aria, I could see a white goose leave the lake, waddle across the street and stand at my living room window, while cocking his head from side to side, listening intently. He would remain there until I had finished the entire program. Then he would waddle again across the street to the lake.
On the night of the recital in the university’s concert hall, I was surrounded by family, friends, and academics. But the one I missed the most in the audience that night was the old white goose that loved music.
(My music research paper on the history of opera in America later prompted the sizzling episode in the French Opera House for my best-selling Civil War novel, Flame of New Orleans, now in reprint: Bocage Books, ISBN 978-0-9675233-9-2, $16.95 and e-book edition.)