Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sundays at the Goose Pond

I just came across an old postcard that stirred some long-lost memories.

When I was a little kid in the North Carolina Piedmont, my family would sometimes go for a drive after church on Sundays. One of our destinations in the fall and winter was “Gaddy’s Goose Pond” in Anson County.

I thought about those visits several years ago, but wasn’t able to turn up much information on the place. That was then, this is now. During my current explorations, I’ve learned some things I never knew about the Lockhart Gaddy Goose Refuge.

The cover of the December 14, 1953 edition of LIFE magazine featured a beaming Richard Nixon and the title, “Nixon, A Vice President Who Is Making Good.”

But inside, that issue featured a color photograph from Gaddy’s. It’s a nice shot, and the caption reads “Wild geese from this year’s flock of 10,000 fly up over Mrs. Gaddy’s homestead in North Carolina on their way to a meal in the cornfields.”

The rest of the story describes the place remember:

For thousands of wild Canada geese a fishpond in Ansonville, N.C. is regular winter quarters. Every October since James Gaddy decided 19 years ago to give up hunting geese and shelter them instead, he --- until his death last winter --- and now his wife have been host to increasingly huge flocks of migratory wild fowl.

Although the feathery guests get free run of wheat and cornfields planted for them, Mrs. Gaddy supplements their diet by scattering 140 bushels of shelled corn and 100 loaves of stale bread at pond’s edge every week. She meets expense for her refuge by charging visitors 25 cent admission.

In April, when geese go north again, Mrs. Gaddy complains, “It’s so quiet around here it hurts.”

Now, whenever I see a V formation of wild geese flying south I count it a special day. The very first time I ever saw wild geese migrating, though, I was standing in the school yard at East Albemarle Elementary, and the birds were on their way to Gaddy’s.

More to tell.



Anonymous said...

Remember, Hitler was on the cover of TIME as Man of the Year.

Anita said...

My grandfather used to take us there at least once a winter when we came up from South Carolina to visit. I was young; my memories are mostly a confusion of wings and noise, and being allowed to throw corn, I think. I'd forgotten—thank you!

GULAHIYI said...

Thanks, Anita. Your description of the place is pretty much the extent of my memory of it, too.