By Kendra Hennis
Tuscola’s Susan Kelley Henry and the Friends of the Goose tells the story of the Crystal Lake Goose, Goose, in her book, “The Amazing Chinese Goose”
Goose’s story began in 1986 when he was left at Crystal Lake Park in Urbana, Illinois. Goose is a Chinese Goose, rather large and white, tan, and brown with a brown stripe that ran from the tip of his beak to his back. He also had gold colored eyes and bright orange feet. Henry noted that he “caught their attention right away” when she saw him for the first time in 1995.
She said that “because Goose was a Chinese Goose, he was heavy breasted, which prevented him from flying long distances. This made it impossible for him to fly off with his goose family as winter approached. We believe it is why he ended up staying at Crystal Lake Park for so long. He knew that he had people who would take care of him and that he would have food and friendship throughout the winter season.”
Henry began writing the story of Goose in 2008, after his passing and the loss of her mother. She said that the story took a long time to write and publish because she and the other storytellers wanted to tell Goose’s story properly. In addition, Henry created a coloring book for readers to go through as they read Goose’s story. She said the inspiration came to her when her great-grandson, Lucas, was born, as she wanted something for him to be able to enjoy and follow along with in her book. Henry said, “We can all learn something from Goose. He had nothing, yet he had everything. He did not earn his rewards in life because he was wealthy or earned higher degrees. He earned them all because he opened his heart to those around him and shared his life with them.”
In her introduction, Henry says, “As authors of his book, we hope to tell you how much we enjoyed “Goose” with our memories of him and how animals are a passion in all our lives. Our strong friendship and love for Goose, Patience, their goose family, and their duck friends have created a bond between them and us-their human friends. Because of this bond and our love for Goose, we have formed a group that we now call “Friends of Goose.” God’s plan for Goose’s life brought us all together. He opened our eyes to the love of animals, nature, and friendships that we would never have had without him. He touched our lives and changed us all for the better. We hope our words convey the amount of love that we still have for our “Goose.”
“The Amazing Chinese Goose” and coloring book can be purchased from Amazon. The book is also available at the Tuscola Public Library, Camargo Township District Library, the Champaign Public Library, and the Urbana Free Library.