As those reading the Fiction Writing competition have now learned (and are in therapy to deal with) I have an
odd fascination with rubber duckies, be it in print or with photos.
Rather than bore them with all my photos and duck-related stories I'm going to collect them all in one place, namely here.
I can probably spin a few good yarns about my relationships with ducks that dates back to a pet duck (or turkey), depending on whose memory you believe, that was later consumed for a meal.
But I didn't know that part until later.
All I knew was that when friends at one online community bought me a devil duckie I was hooked. I took a photo with it and soon others were sending them to me. It got, well, most fowl. And it didn't help that I thought it all enormously phunny.
But something important between the bird consumed as a child and the birds received as adult while in Arkansas and then in Md.
But for now let me just tell you about the duck races. There were actually two of them, years apart.
And I'm not sure which one I told Festive about.
The first, the one that confounded me, took place when I was a mere lad of about 25 years age. It was the first time I had observed, let alone reported on, a duck race.
All I knew was the basics: People had put money in, at some fundraiser, on the chance that their duck would come in first place in this water race.
And I, young and naive, had one question: How in the world can they be so sure that these ducks will all race to the place.
So what was it everyone but me knew?
The answer.. That they were not real ducks!
They were fakes.
Not the real ducks, like I just saw hanging out at my coffeehouse, but plastic duck impersonators.
I can't believe I didnt know that and whoever told me that probably thought I was the biggest idiot in the world.
Then about a decade later, by which time I had taken - and posted online - photos like these - I was given a new job. I was at a party held by the Hagerstown Jaycees (think Elks or Lions clubs but for people under 40 years age) and was asked to be in charge of the duck race.
THIS time I felt so superior in that I knew what I was hoping at least one person would not know, namely that these were not rubber ducks.
Then something awful happened. I was asked to number the ducks. As in write numbers on their
backs and beaks and even though these creatures were not alive it still seemed like animal abuse. But I did it. Then I went down to the creek and from one bridge I'd dump all the ducks into the water. People stood on the riverbanks and cheered, "Go, 14, go!" and I was thinking this is clearly something that would be much more entertaining were I not sober, but I'm glad I was - sober that is - because the other half of my job was to run over and get all the ducks after they passed the finish line.
Because these were not our ducks to keep, but they were rented ducks, ducks of the night if you will, rented, used and returned and if we returned missing a duck... well, I presumed some kind of rubber duckie pimp would come a-hunting, looking to cap my sorry skinny white ass.
So I'd let loose the ducks, rush over, write down which ones came in first, second and third, then collect them before they got to the next turn in the creek for fear of being hurt by mr. scary duck owner and then repeat.
I think I did this five times in three hours.
It was exhausting.
Yet when I shared all this with Festive she, for some reason, thought it quite funny.
I have no idea why!
Amid all this fowl fowl mess I got to write duck stories. As in real news articles like this one:
this is before my editor changes it)
By SCOTT BUTKI
Miss Colonel pulled into the drive-thru at Kentucky Fried Chicken in the last two
weeks but rather than flying through it, she decided to stop and sit in the red
mulch by the entrance instead.
It’s uncertain exactly why Miss Colonel, a duck, decided to stop and build a nest
there but she’ll be allowed to stay there until a few hours after her babies are
born. “It’s odd. It’s really odd,” Doug Chapman of Chapman’s Turf Pro and Lawn Service
said of her nesting choice. He and his son do the groundkeeping for the restaurant.
But there may be a logical explanation for Ms. Colonel’s nesting selection, said Liz
Huntzberry, a wildlife rehabillator.
Ducks often return to prior nesting locations. So it’s quite possible that Miss
Colonel returned to an old nesting site only to find rural land replaced with
buildings and asphalt, she said.
She predicts the eggs will hatch in about two weeks, she said.
About a week ago the Chapman noticed a duck in mulch between the sidewalk entrance
and the restaurant, quite near the drive thru.
But unlike the food inside the business, she is no chicken. She stands up sometimes
to defend her nest, he said.
The Chapmans were concerned about the duck’s safety. The Kentucky Fried Chicken
manager had no objection to the ducks remaining there if it was a safe environment
for the bird family.
He made some phone calls Thursday looking for some help and was put in touch with
She provided two options: Break the eggs and move Ms. Colonel or put up a fence and
let the mother duck stay there until her six eggs hatch.
He opted for the second option. A few hours after the eggs hatch Huntzberry will
help move the duck family to a creek by her home in Smithsburg.
Chapman asked Lowe’s Improvement Warehouse if they could help with his predicament.
The company donated chicken wire for a fence around the mulch in which she is
nesting. The value of the donated items was about $30, said Paula Ruth, assistant
manager of the Hagerstown store. “’Do you want to help?’ he asked, and we said yes.” Ruth said.
Ruth and Chapman chose the mother duck’s name.
Chapman predicts children will enjoy looking at Miss Colonel and the ducks-to-be
when visiting the restaurant. “This place will be buzzing,” he said.
After I wrote that I asked my city editor if I could continue with the duck theme. Perhaps ask politicans if they are pro-duck or anti-duck. Use foul/fowl jokes.
For some reason she said nyet to it all.
OK, I think that's enough duck stories for a month or so.
Stay tuned... next time: How did all of this begin? Did Scott actually eat a duck as a child? Is that how he turned out
like he did
Next time on.... The Duck Files