Homeless in Vancouver: Lucy in the park with Diamond

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      The weather was really nice yesterday. It was a shame I was so under it with a spring cold.

      After cashing in bottles I returned to South Granville and occupied a bench in the park in front of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) building just off the southwest side of South Granville Street and West Broadway.

      The park is such a peaceful place. You’d never know the VSB building was full of socialists and anarchists bent on creating school curriculum to poison the minds of impressionable children.

      But speaking of disagreeable characters in the park, there were the Canada geese—they’re back. Two of them, in particular, spend a lot of time in the park…or across the street from the park in a thin grassy area…or right on the roadway.

      Two of our national birds too close for comfort

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      While I relaxed for an hour on a bench, the two fat fat national symbols were never more than a few feet away, lazily cropping the grass. I could see they were messy eaters. Though they gave the appearance of being choosy, they were remarkably indiscriminate about what went into their mouth—half a dandelion head, a clump of grass, a white thing.

      They remind me of something supposedly said about our most popular, longest serving prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, by one of his colleagues: that he looked better the farther away he got from you.

      That’s how I feel about Canada geese. I like them best in the fall when they fly south in their V-formations, honking their farewells for the winter.

      I ended up giving the geese—and a lot of pigeons—something besides grass to eat and then I repaired to McDonalds, where at least most of the patrons eat with their mouths closed.

      The Green guy caught up with me while I was locking up my bike outside the restaurant.

      He told he’d seen me talking to the geese in the park. He looked at me almost expectantly.

      Yes, I told him, I had both contemplated the proper oven setting for a goose and how one of them would react to a Taser—he looked a bit stricken. Finally, I explained, I had just fed them Cheerios.

      “Good answer,” he said, looking relieved.

      “You know they’re monogama…monoga…they mate for life?”

      He was sure they were the same two Canada geese that had returned to the VSB park every spring for at least three years.

      And what’s more, he had named them Lucy and Diamond—I interrupted him when he tried to explain what song those names were from.

      And did I know there was a crow in the area with one white feather?

      He was sure it was always the same crow. He called it Sheryl.

      We could definitely use more of his kind of crazy on the street.

      They really do goose step!
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer


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      hamada sehwiel

      Apr 27, 2014 at 11:51pm

      it is so nice story , i liked , we hope to save nature for future. thanks from the stste of Palestine - Gaza


      Apr 28, 2014 at 4:01am

      With each letter that I type, it's one less character remaining.


      Apr 28, 2014 at 9:49am

      Amazing animals, migrating geese are able to fly as high as 10000 metres to catch the jet stream to push them along their routes. With their large lungs they are able to use oxygen more efficiently than we can


      Apr 28, 2014 at 12:18pm

      This was such a joy to read! Witty, refreshing, and visually amusing. Thank you.