Groundhog Bachelor and Drunk Ganders
Before the art opening, over appetizers downtown, leisurely and expansively, my aunts Evelyn and Jane swapped stories availing the phrase “it’s true, it’s true” too frequently. According to their testimony (not quite requiring sworn affidavits), when they were kids on the Martinsburg Road farm, the Riley Place, they boarded a groundhog. Tame as could be, he was an essential fixture in an already too generous Catholic family bursting at the seams – a peculiar but tidy, rather urbane bachelor who had the run of the house but took his suppers in his room and each night burrowed beneath the parlor davenport. No one found this arrangement at all unusual as Grandma took in Old-Pat-McGogh, an ancient farmer neighbor from down the road who had nothing, no place and no one.
And the geese, who oddly resided outside, sipped from fermented squeezings oozing from the base of the corn silo, their own tall distillery. They wobbled, blasted about the barnyard, a few falling down and slurring songs and meandering conversations to no one in particular. We wondered if the geese might have benefited from sponsors – ducks or other reformed waterfowl – and a twelve-step program as the drunk ganders caused their goslings to grapple with dysfunction later in life. They grabbed a quick smoke on the stoop before languishing in the church rectory basement on uncomfortable metal folding chairs and complaining over stale doughnuts and bad coffee. A few relapsed into sad, tragic dissipation. Others became staunch teetotaling prohibitionists. The reception was less eventful.
David Sapp, writer, artist and professor, lives along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. A Pushcart nominee, he was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence grant and an Akron Soul Train fellowship for poetry. His poems appear widely in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. His publications include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha; and a novel, Flying Over Erie.