What’s In The Bag, Goose?

As children my siblings and I hauled our lives around in the small print bags my mom had sewn to organize our toys. Most often we transported an odd assortment of items. As we’d walk past her line of site, lugging our collections, she’d ask, “What’s in the bag, goose?” (I didn’t know the origin of the reference at the time but just found this commercial. )

For me, the phrase became synonymous with, “What are you up to?” It seemed to be her light-hearted way of checking in and checking up on us.

Now, thirty years later, my husband drops his loaded bag at the door when he arrives home from his travel to other LDS church congregations around central Minnesota, and I want to ask, “What’s in the bag, goose?”

In the figurative sense, his bag is full as he supports, strengthens and serves the members and leaders he visits on his assignments. But in the literal sense, we’ve discovered some oddities in his bag—a bright orange cone, a deposit bag, old manuals, envelopes, a foot ball kicking tee, a ball air pump.

My personal favorite had to be the baby doll in purple pajamas. He found it one Sunday morning when he unzipped his bag to pack his belongings for the day. That’s when I finally asked what was really going on.

Apparently, two leaders in our congregation hide random items in his unattended bag whenever Paul visits our “home” congregation.  The mystery of the baby doll unfolded when our children left it on one of the leader’s chairs at the front of our church. But no, they wouldn’t take ownership of the doll, and it returned home in Paul’s bag with these instructions— it belongs in the nursery of a different building. We discovered they had all been at a meeting at this other building. Paul’s bag was lying around and so was the doll.

They continue to add their own assortment of items to his bag, but I wonder if they know that in their own light-hearted way of “checking in” they are really relieving some of the weight.


  1. Camille
    Jul 19, 2010

    You must have a good memory. Or did you jog mom’s memory to get the details of this one? Cute way of “checking in” with us. And I’m glad Paul’s weight is lifted a little with the humorous items in his bag!

  2. Tina
    Jul 19, 2010

    Love it!

  3. ph
    Jul 19, 2010

    For the record: I do NOT leave my bag laying about unattended. If it’s unattended it’s in a locked office.

    Unfortunately, these guys have keys to the locked office (most of the time…)

  4. Laila
    Jul 21, 2010

    That commercial was great! It’s funny how we pick up silly phrases like that to use in our every day lives… but I had never heard of Granny Goose!

  5. Carrie
    Jul 25, 2010

    Too funny! I never knew where that phrase came from, so great. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dennis
    Jul 25, 2010

    What a strange and unusual practice. Those two guys must be really fun. I wish I could meet them sometime. Are you sure they aren’t professionals? Sounds like they are following the example of Joseph of Egypt. Rumor has it the doll was one of those potty training dolls. Have you checked your bag for such evidence?

  7. L Jensen
    Jul 28, 2010

    Fun blog entry. Here is the real story of how the phrase “what’s in the bag, goose” came into our family.
    In about 1965 – when I was in college I joined a “record club” and one of the albums I bought was “Whipped Cream” from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. One of the selections on that album had no words except a pause and “what’s in the bag, goose” and another pause and “provocative”. I listened to that album over and over till we no longer had a turn table to play it on.

    Since then I have purchased the CD of “Whipped Cream” and that selection and those phrases are not on the CD. I think the song was “What’s in the Bag Goose” originally recorded by The-T Bones.

    That is how the phrase came into the family and I found uses for it including the one you refer to. I had never seen the comercial but the voice saying the phrases sounded the same. Thanks for that little glimpse back into memory lane.

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