Jackie and his wife Sue had a small farm in the flatlands of west Texas. It was dry, very dry, and things weren’t going too good at all. He tried growing corn, but it just shriveled up. Even his jackass, who followed him around everywhere, was looking skinny and dried up. What remained of the goats made a lot of irritating noise. Jackie is a country boy, dressed mostly in raggy working clothes. He had this strange cone like hat with a broad brim. It kept out the sun good, but looked really funny. Some thought it was a Mexican hat, but it was plain and without designs. His shoes were falling apart, but there was not much left to sew together anymore. Jackie and Sue and their four kids- Jim, Joseph, John and Lillian. All of them were hungry, too.
One fall day a heard of geese was honking overhead. Didn’t look like they were going to stop either ‘cause they didn’t see anything that attracted them. Jackie needed to make them to stop though, because what he saw was dinner. He yelled for Sue who was in the house to bring his rifle. His mother, Betty, who was sitting on the rocking chair, laughed and said he sold it in the summer for cash. But he remembered he had an old musket – a Kray Jorgenson 303 – hidden in a bale of hay in the barn. It was mighty old, and not well taken care of, but it was probably good enough to bring down a goose for dinner. Jackie Festus positioned himself in a corner of the property by the barbed wire fence and loaded up the musket. He blew a whistle to call the geese in closer. That got everyone’s attention.
He was a bit afraid the musket might explode in his arms. But his hunger drove him on to take the chance. He had a wife, four kids and an ailing mother to take care of. There were some clouds in the sky, and he was praying that the rain he’d been praying for before wouldn’t come just yet. As soon as he got some dinner he prayed some more!
First shot missed and panicked the geese who flew in all directions. He reloaded quickly. By this time a neighbor, not too far off to the east was paying attention. He fired again and one goose fell. The kids were screaming with delight and started running for it. Sue, was happy and a bit sad at the same time. She knew she would have to clean and prepare this goose herself and never like that messy job. Jackie fired one more time and got another! His luck just maybe changing!
Grandma Betty let out a happy sounding “Whoop!” from her rocking chair, and as near to ever rose up more than bit at the thought of goose for dinner!
Sue was right. It did take some time to clean and fix up those geese for dinner. She got her daughter Lillian to help out. Jackie was busy in the barn teaching his boys about the musket. That night the Festus family all ate goose for dinner and went to bed full and happy.
This story was written by the residents of Altrusa House in Gainesville, Florida on August 26, 2016