I will never forget the first time Mother Goose invited me to her cottage for lunch.
It was a spur of the moment thing, as my visit to FairyLand was supposed to've included lunch with the Sprats. But Jack would eat no fat and his wife would eat no lean and they could not agree on what to serve that day. I just backed away, not wanting to be there to listen to them argue, and Mother Goose pulled me aside. "It will be a while before you get back to El Paso, Wanna, and if you're willing to take whatever is in the cupboard, come with me to my cottage."
She was right; it does take a while to get from there to here, so I accepted her kind offer.
I don't know where I got the notion that she lived in a castle, but I was certainly wrong about that. She lives in a neat little cottage that is far from pretentious (although I understand she conducts some of her governing business at other places).
I should've known there would be a goose there to greet us.
What a cozy little place. In many respects it reminded me of my grandmother's kitchen, although it was long ago and far away in Oklahoma.
"Ah," Mother Goose said. "I had forgotten; just picked those strawberries this morning. They will be good with some good rich cream."
Her furniture was simple, well worn, and functional. The jelly cupboard held several items, including a silver plate filled with packets of seeds, ...
... tart pans, strawberry jam, a small pan and a bowl.
What an inviting place to sit. Through the window one can look out into Mother Goose's garden.
She tossed her cape and hat onto the window seat and said, "Make yourself at home, Wanna. I want to check with Goosey to see if I've had any messages while I was gone." So while she went out to confer with her Special Assistant, who served many functions from confidant to social secretary to mode of transportation, I did just what she said. I made myself at home and looked around, glad that I didn't have to feel guilty about being nosy.
Her grapevine wreath reminded me of the days when I used to take walks along the canals and pick weeds and grasses for wreath making. Our neighbors also had a grapevine, much of which leaned over our rock wall. I made many wreaths, swags and baskets from those vines, weeds and grasses. Seems like everyone in my family and all my friends were the beneficiaries of that green thumb phase.
The neighbors had more grapes than they knew what to do with, and insisted we pick any that were on our side of the fence. It was a contest with our dog Chiffon every year to watch them ripening; and the day after we decided they needed one more day, we would go out to find she'd eaten every one of them!
The bow-tied goose nodded a greeting and went back to napping. Curious; I never thought that geese would nap; just goes to show you how little I know about the animal world.
I made a note of the time; still morning, and plenty of time for my other scheduled visits.
Well, I've just been speaking of green thumbs; who knew that Mother Goose had a humorous thumb?
That little plant chuckled and snickered and smiled at me the whole time I was there!
Everything was neat as a pin and I looked closely at everything in the hutch.
More evidence of her gardening interests.
Canisters, tins, another jelly jar, a silver serving piece and a mortar and pestle....
And, of course, the makings for tea.
I don't normally take sugar and cream with my tea, but decided I would if she offered. I have never experienced a richer, more delicious cream than what I have tasted in FairyLand.
My stomach rumbled when I saw the sausage and cheese.
And, who knew if lunch would include a fresh egg scramble?
With an orange, maybe.
That broom helped explain the tidy appearance of the kitchen.
A this point, Mother Goose returned. "Pull up a chair, dear, while I get us plates and glasses."
We had milk, a meat pie, cheese and bread. The only thing missing was onions; I always said I could live a happy life if all I had to eat were bread, cheese, milk and onions.
When we were finished she got down the washing-up pan, ...
... and poured water from the pitcher, and before I knew it, everything was washed up and back in the cupboard.
Then, we were taking a tour of her bedroom. "It's small, I know," she said, "but it's enough for me. I have so much to do that I am not interested in managing a larger household. I have enough help from Goosey and her relatives.
"For example, Pinkie here is very good at clearing up crumbs and really enjoys pulling the quilt straight on my bed each morning."
""What a wonderful bed," I said, gesturing to the wooden sides that formed a goose shape.
"... and such a beautiful yo-yo quilt," I commented. "I have always admired them, although I never owned one. A friend of mine tried to get me started making one in miniature, but I got about a dozen yo-yo's done and decided that was more than enough to convince me where my talents and interests DID NOT lie."
"This quilt was a gift from Curly Locks, who sews a fine seam while she sits on a cushion eating strawberries and cream. Which reminds me - I forgot to serve the strawberries. Well, you can take the basket home with you."
At that point, I noticed a small odd-looking cat curled at the foot of the bed. "Pussy Cat went missing once which caused us a great deal of anxiety. She came home all bedraggled and weatherworn and swore she had gone all the way to London to see the Queen. She does tend to exaggerate."
"She snores, you know," said Grey Goose, who appeared from behind the bed where she had been tidying Mother Goose's bedside table. "I keep telling Mother to do something, but she just smiles and reminds me that I can't hear myself sleeping!"
She had laid everything out for Mother Goose's convenience at naptime. Her reading material, paper and pen, and cookies and tea. And, of course, some quilts if she should be chilled.
I could've sworn I saw that tiny goose figure on the table flapping its wings.
It was time to go, so we left Mother Goose's cozy bedroom and her helpful assistants.
Apparently Goosey had come in while we were upstairs; someone had gotten the food out again, I noticed.
"Do you have time to look at my gardens before you have to leave, Wanna? I'll set the strawberries here on the bench and take you on a quick tour."
"Primroses, maybe? I never remember what I have planted half the time."
"Nothing beats fresh produce and fruit from one's own garden."
"Your well is conveniently close to both the kitchen and the garden," I commented.
"I like a variety in my plantings," Mother Goose said. "I like to toss out seeds and see what comes up, much like Mother Nature's method with wildflowers."
"Looks like it's nap time for somebody else around here," I observed. Then I remembered that Grey Goose had already poured Mother Goose's tea, so told her that I needed to head on back so that she could go in for her snack and afternoon nap.
"Oh, sunflowers," I cried. "Now those do make me feel at home."
At this point, Mother Goose pulled up a bucket of water and offered me a dipperful. The water from that well was clear and cold, quite refreshing on a warm day.
A profusion of varied blooms lined her pathway.
"What a tree," I cried.
"Well, the Woodsman who does my heavier gardening likes topiary forms, however big."
What cheery blooms in this pot!
At this point, I hugged Mother Goose and thanked her for lunch and a very pleasant visit.
I waved goodbye as she went in for her nap.
Taking my basket of strawberries, I left for my appointment with Mother Hubbard. And as I walked down the lane, the scent of Mother Goose's roses wafted after me.
You can read about the making of Mother Goose's cottage, its landscaping and furnishings here.