Blue Water Healthy Living



Welcome The Rare Bear: Bonkers, the gallant gander

Blue Water Healthy Living is proud to welcome a new columnist from Dresden, Ontario, Rev. C.J. Barry Kentner! Barry’s experience in broadcasting spans decades. We believe you’ll enjoy his unique perspective and colorful topics in his series of columns entitled: The Rare Bear. Welcome, Barry!

By Rev. C.J. Barry Kenter

How long has it been since you heard a “Whip-poor-Will”? At once time, in the cities as well as the suburbs, you could hear it call as darkness emerged. But it has been at least ten years, and maybe more than that since I last heard the call. In fact, it was almost forgotten until I was reading some old files. The decline, as covered in the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson many years ago, was partly caused by insecticide. But feral cats and dogs, and habitat destruction are also to blame. Even though the local populations may be endangered, the species as a whole is not considered globally threatened, due to the large range of the birds.

In the South and West, because of the plumage being different, they are called the Mexican Whip-poor-Will. That is its call; Whip-poor-Will, Whip-poor-Will. It is repeated again and again through the early evening hours. The bird itself, by the way, resembles a small owl…about ten inches long, but instead of a square tail, it has long pointed tail feathers. It also nests on the ground and is not threatened until literally stepped on.

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Yes, I miss the Whip-Poor-Wills and several other birds that were once popular in Southern realms. The Scarlet Tanager and the Bluebird to name two.

And while I reminisce about the birds, I’m reminded of someone else I miss, “Bonkers”. He was a barnyard Gander, long in the neck and noisy, but very affectionate. His neck had a ball which bounced up and down as he was sounding, and it came out as a “bonk”! So much for his name.

But it was much more than that. He bonded with my legs. At first, I thought it was the denim I wore and he took comfort in that. But then one day he stretched his neck and nuzzled me under the chin. Our relationship changed. He was always with me when I went outdoors. He never saw the inside of a house or a car, but I did let him ride on the hood of my tractor.
Affectionate though he was, he was also my protector. Never did a dog protect our property as Bonkers did.

One day a lady overshot her destination and turned into our laneway. Before she could reverse and back out of the driveway, Bonkers, with wings spread wide and neck extended, hurried down the drive. I’m sure there was no scarier sight than this. She saw him coming and froze. He was under the gate and pecking at her bumper, which in those days was chromed.

Now the beak of a gander is fibrous, but not firm, and not strong enough to damage metal. But the sound of his beak against the chrome caused the lady behind the wheel to say “He’s eating my car, he’s eating my car.”

By now, I have arrived, and am assuring this visitor that her car had not been harmed. As Bonkers moved quietly back beside me, the lady descended the car and after a close inspection, asked for directions to her destination. As I headed back to the house, Bonkers waddled beside me, head held high, knowing he had indeed protected our property.

His determination to defend our property, however, ended abruptly when he challenged a hunter who invaded our property. He Lost.

Bonkers was an adventure that happened more than half a century ago, but I have promised myself that one day….I’ll have another gander for a pet.


As I wash my hands and face,
I think of God’s “Amazing Grace”
And when I’m standing in my shower
I thank Him for his Mighty Power.
For, if His armor I should wear
I daily put it on with prayer
The “Belt of Truth” around my waist
I dare not buckle it with haste.
There must be time to cleanse my heart
Before I place that vital part
The “Breastplate” of His righteousness.
And then, a prayer for readiness
To stand firm in my belief
With feet shod with His Glorious Peace.
Then, the “Shield of Faith” I raise
With Scripture verse, or song of praise.
I ask for Angels of protection
And a favorite verse I mention
Scriptures learned through memorization
Form my “Helmet of Salvation”
Prayer and faithful Scripture reading
Make the “Spirit’s Sword” appealing.
Thusly Clad, I face the world
My “Banner of Victory” unfurled.

C.J. Barry Kentner 10/95


Barry was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1935 and schooled to Grade 10, but continued educational pursuits until age 65 when he graduated from Open Word Bible College. He started working for Spitzer and Mills advertising in 1952, then moved to the Broadcast arena where for 62 years he was News Director and Talk Show Host at several Canadian Radio Stations. He was one of 5 consultants who managed to lobby for Christian Radio in Canada, and in the last five years before retirement, he was News Director of Canadian Altar.Net News, a network of 25 Christian Radio Stations across Canada from Charlottetown PEI to Campbell River BC.
Barry Kentner is a semi-retired pastor living in Dresden, Ontario.

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