Millstone Goose Lotto

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

I was thinking about you the other day. You could probably use a few million to fulfill your wildest dreams. I watched hopeful people line up at the smokes and lottery ticket counter at the grocery store. It reminded me of old wild west movies where some shyster gets up on an apple crate and peddles a cure-all snake oil to the gullible crowds in the market. Yes, I bought a lottery ticket with the rest of the unwashed. The snake oil didn’t cure, and no one won the elusive million dollars.

Winning the lottery is as likely as catching fish while ice-fishing at the arena.

I’m not bragging, but I have a Ph.D. It fits on the end of my tractor and is called a Post-Hole Digger. I only bring it up because people listen to you more if you have credentials dangling off your name’s end or if you’re sitting on a tractor with a Ph.D. hanging off the back of it. The point is I want you to take me seriously when I introduce the Goose Lotto.

The Goose Lotto is about predicting the date that the first goose lands on our pond in Corkery. Our family has been doing a goose lotto for years and wants to open it up to Millstone readers. Ponds stay frozen longer than rivers. You will see geese in Almonte before a goose lands on our pond. Previous dates range from early March until Late April. The goose has to land on the pond; flying over the pond doesn’t count.

We will have a Goose Lotto here at The Millstone News for March and April. We can’t call it a lottery because Ford, Gretsky and all those provincial lotteries that have been fleecing us for years will have a conniption for legal reasons if we call it a lottery. There are three differences between our lotto and provincial lotteries. Our prizes are smaller, our tickets are free, and the odds of winning are very high.

People are motivated by fame and fortune. I’ll ask the mayor if Almonte will build a statue honouring our winner and place the figure next to Naismith on the bench near Baker Bob’s on Mill Street. The winner’s image would be seated next to Naismith, holding a goose instead of a basketball. I can’t guarantee the mayor will approve the plan, but the odds are higher than you winning the 649 lotteries.

Our prize is a 1967 Canadian Silver Dollar with the image of a goose in flight. All people picking the correct landing date will receive the silver goose dollar and a certificate stating that you are a genuine winner and revered community member. The second and third prizes for the following closest dates are a bag of goose dropping scrapped off my lawn in June. These goose droppings enrich your soil and add a distinct aroma to your property. The Irish in Corkery love goose droppings. They are as green as shamrocks and green beer.

Years from now, people will see you walking down the street and say,” There goes So and So; she won the goose lotto back in 2023. Maybe she’ll bless our lottery tickets so we can be winners like her.”

We’ve all had a long enough winter. The purpose of the Goose Lotto is to capture that feeling inside us that longs for spring, the tulips, and the greens of grass and trees. The return of the geese, who seem to bring spring with them as they fly home to us, is deeply symbolic of our longing for a new year filled with birdsong and the fragrance of spring flowers.

If any of our readers have a trophy kicking about in the basement, looking for a worthy cause, consider donating it to the Goose Lotto. If we do this every year, the award will eventually have sets of rings below the trophy as The Stanley Cup does. The Cup, passed along year to year, would record the landing dates and the winner’s names. I have a plastic dance studio trophy that doesn’t carry the same prestige required for such a monumental award. I’m sure one of our readers won a golf or bowling trophy that would love reincarnation as a Goose Lotto award.

Please find the address below. Enter the date you predict the geese will arrive at the pond with your name. It will be great to have some contact with my readers.

I’ll be sitting out on the pond in my lawn chair and a thermos of tea. I’m working and won’t be available to complete any tasks on my bride’s list until the geese land in Corkery pond. I don’t mind if the geese take their time coming home this year.

Please join the Goose Lotto and help us welcome spring back to our community. To enter your prediction, simply fill out the form below: