Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lord Love a Duck

I thought it was my wife calling at ten last night when the phone rang. Not only was she at the coast for the weekend with her female friends, but when I glanced at caller I.D. it showed her name. So I answered it, "I was just thinking about you."

Which is when my son's girlfriend said, "Hello, we've been sidetracked by adventure," and I remembered that both of our teenagers' cell phones show my wife's name on our caller I.D. and that something must be up if his girlfriend was calling here when he was supposed to be walking her home.

"We have a duck" were her next words. And, of course, they were bringing it to our house--where else would you bring a female Mallard found standing in the road, so tame that our son was able to walk over and pick it up in his arms. They thought it might be injured. They didn't want it to get run over. They knew I'd be a sucker for a sweet duck.

"Isn't she pretty?" were the girlfriend's first words when they came in, and my son looked like a pro holding the duck--his years assisting at the zoo finally paying off in real life. They had a plan, to put the duck in the basement bathroom with food and water while trying to find the duck's owner. In the morning.

I just crossed my fingers she'd live that long. Wild animals found standing still are so often ill, I wasn't counting my ducks until she quacked come dawn.

Yet, there she was when I came down, and our daughter showed our youngest, who, ironically, had been up late the night before babbling about the play he'd seen on a field trip that day called "Giggle, giggle, quack" starring, you guessed it, a duck. He was less impressed than you'd think, considering there was a wild duck in our basement, hooting pleasantly.

Not that odd animal situations are unusual here. Our small dog just came out of her second heat, so it was sexual play all day between her and our fixed ancient Labrador for the last two weeks. And then he keeps injuring himself, because his skin is old and dry, and there are blood spatters here, there and everywhere, and I'm boosting the Spot Cleaner industry with every hop to the store.

We catch lost dogs and find their owners. We once caught a parakeet in the park using a sweater. Strange animals incidents are nothing new.

Our daughter is thinking up names for the duck. I keep reminding them the duck is not staying. Unless she is claimed by an owner or the Audubon Society wants her, our teenage son has picked out a nice campus pond for her to live out her days in the society of Socialist collegiate ducks with a pond featuring an abundance of naturally occurring snails and slugs.

Until then, we're going to post a sign on the bathroom door reading "Danger, Duck" and enjoy the confusion when visitors open the door. Giggle, giggle, quack.

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