Wild Goose Chase

conversations with hank


(settling into dinner)

Hank: Okay, lets go around the table. Papa, how was your day?

Pai: (deep sigh) I am exhausted. My day was that I was exhausted.

Molly: (pointing to her toys) Go go go?

Hank: No, muggy, we are having dinner now. Eat your cucumber.

Molly: (obeying, happily)

Hank: I am sorry your tired, papa. Science is exhausting sometimes.

Pai: (smirking)

Hank: And you, mama? Your arm is out of the sling. Are you better?

Me: You know those cones dogs have to wear around their neck after they have a surgery?

Hank: Yes.

Me: Well, my arm sling is a bit like that cone. If I wear my sling then I will not use that arm and therefore rest it properly. So yes, my arm is better and look (flexing my fingers).

Hank: Hurray.

Me: Progress.

Hank: Now it is my turn. My day was crazy. (putting down his knife and fork) So, remember how yesterday the lunch ladies took my tray away too fast with my Christmas watch on it?

Pai: Oh yah, did you get it back?

Hank: So, at lunch when I sat down the first thing I did even before eating was explain what happened and the lunch lady went back and asked the cozinheiras (cooks) and the cozinheira said she gave the watch to Senior Paulo (school attendant) so I ate really fast, it was fish and rice and peas and salad and soup by the way, and it was very good. Then I put my tray away and went to the school yard and found Senior Paulo and he told me that he gave the watch to Professor Manuel (principal) so then I went inside and found Professor Manuel and said, “Excuse me, Professor Manuel? Have you a blue and white Christmas watch?” but I said it in Portuguese and then I explained, without blaming but just explaining, what had happened with the tray and the watch and then not remembering until 4pm and by then it was too late… (deep breath)

Molly: (riveted)

Hank: And he went into his office and gave it to me. (pulling up his sleeve to reveal the lost then found watch with a flourish) Tah-dah!

Molly: (clapping)

Pai: (smiling)

Me: What a wild goose chase.

Hank: Huh?

Me: It is an expression in English to describe just such a sequence of events like you went through to retrieve your watch. Have you ever tried to catch a wild goose?

Hank: No, I haven’t.

Me: How about a farm goose, like in Garvão (our family’s rural village)?

Hank: Nope.

Me: Well, it takes work to catch a goose, wild or domestic, and they’re mean.

Pai: Geese bite.

Me: True story.

Molly: Go go go? (pointing to her toys)