Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Ducks

Kids have far more fun on holidays than adults do. By the time we've hit our thirties, we've exhausted all of the simple ways of having a good time and we find the burdens of life weighing down on us. Most of you will probably look back on past Christmases, Easters, and other holidays and have a number of memories that will keep you smiling for the rest of your lives.

For a few years, we really looked forward to Easter coming. And that anticipation was for one simple reason - ducks! For a few years, every Easter season, my brother's godmother would bring us a gift of a couple of small ducks for us to have as pets. The birds were past the point of being chicks and were just starting to grow. For not being able to catch a ball or play with certain pet toys, they were really fun to have, especially for kids who still had some time yet before the teen years came upon us, when our interests shifted to different things. Anyway, some kids got rabbit, but we were the only ones who had ducks, which made us unique and all the other kids around the block thought it was cool. They wanted to come by and see them and pet them, and maybe some adults had thoughts of eating them - or not - who knows?

One thing we found out with experience is that ducks get too big for pets when you have only a small concrete patch for a yard and no where to house them. As they grew, the ducks sometimes escaped from the back yard because one of us would leave the gate open and give them their freedom. Once, the lady who ran the variety store around the corner, Mrs. Lenore, came running to our house and had my mom run with her back to the store. The birds made their way down the alley, waddled a few feet down Oregon Avenue, and up the two steps into Mrs. Lenore's store. My mom calmed her down and took the two of them back home and secured them, nervously waiting for us to again leave a gate opened, or give them some other way to get away again.
(See http://phillymemories.blogspot.com/2006/03/remembering-mrs-lenores-old.html)

Because ducks get too big as pets, we never had them longer than mid-summer. As they got too large to keep around, my grandfather would make arrangements for someone to take them "to the farm". We would take my parents word that the birds were going to some nice place to pleasantly live out the rest of their lives, as it would be much better for them than risk seeing them run into traffic or have something else happen to them. What my brother and sister and I wondered secretly is whether they were going to Shady Acres (or whatever nice name you want to give the "farm"), or if they were going to end up as someone's dinner. Probably they did find a nice home, but we had a curious suspicion of things like this.

After maybe three years of having ducks at Easter, my mom asked that my brother's godmother no longer bring them. As much as we were grateful for them, she knew we were heartbroken because the ducks would be gone in just a few months, and she didn't want to see us disappointed again. And so, that ended having any kind of birds as pets. A few years later, we'd get our first dog, but until then, we'd have to enjoy the memories of these waddling birds running around and pecking us.

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