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Friday, February 20, 2009

This is a true story about a little duck. All pictures except the last three were borrowed
Once upon a time there were two mallards. Sampson was big and strong with a lovely head of green feathers. Delilah was a beauty in her own secretive way, often casting 'those' glances at Sampson.

Eventually Sampson let his guard down and soon Delilah found herself the keeper of a large nest of eggs. For days and days she sat on the nest keeping the eggs warm and protecting them from predators.

Then one bright spring day she felt a lot of movement under her feathered breast so she took a peek and much to her delight she found many little fluffy ducklings. They struggled to get out from under her and look around so she carefully waddled off the nest and the little ones clumsily followed her.
Out they went to the yard where the ducklings excitedly investigated everything they saw, pecking at a blade of grass and staring wide eyed at a wiggly worm.

But Oh!! What is this? One lonely egg left in the nest. Maybe it is no good and should be tossed. Or maybe it has a little duckling that was just too immature to hatch when the others did.
Well my dear friends at this point I did what was the usual for me. I carefully carried the now cooling egg to the house and wrapped it in a towel and kept it warm hoping that if there was a live baby in there it would eventually be strong enough to peck it's way out.
My daughter and her little boy were visiting me during this time and I thought my young grandson would enjoy seeing this miracle.

Later that evening if we put our ear close to the egg we could hear faint pecking sounds. He was alive!!
It seemed to take forever for the little duckling to make his way into the world and when he did he looked gross. From the look of Johnny's face when he first saw it I'm surprised he didn't tell me to put it back in the shell.

Wet and slimy, exhausted from the difficult work out, he laid very still and rested. Then a wing moved slightly, then a gangly leg tried to move. I kept the heating pad under him so he wouldn't get chilled and eventually he was able to move all parts of his fragile little body. When he was able to stand I felt like cheering. My daughter called him Dudley.

All dried out and looking like a fuzzy stuffed toy, he was cute as can be but he wasn't as active as his nest mates had been. I hoped that wasn't a sign of anything serious.

The next morning we sadly found that Dudley had died.
For reasons unknown, many times a fowl will even push an egg out of the nest. It's like they have an instinct and know if there is something wrong with it.
Because Johnny had formed such an attachment to Dudley I decided we should have a little funeral so he could do whatever he could for his fuzzy friend and grieve his passing. We wrapped Dudley in clean cloth and put him a little box. We dug a hole in the back yard, placed Dudley in it and covered it up, all the time reassuring Johnny that Dudley's spirit was with Jesus and only his sick body was in the ground. It's amazing how fast he accepted this.
I had a duck decoy in one of my gardens. Johnny brought that as well as a little skunk figurine. He put them on Dudley's grave with a small bouquet of flowers.

I said a little prayer and just as I finished, Johnny yelled, "Wait! Wait!" as he ran to the house. He quickly returned with a toilet paper core. When he got to Dudley's grave he put it to his mouth like a horn and began tooting Tapps into it.
I know his little heart was as serious as it could be but this grandma nearly split a gut trying to keep from laughing. As you know mirth can be horrendous to contain but I'd rather have split a gut than hurt this Little boy.
I probably don't have to tell you that Johnny's dad and big brother were both in the Navy. To Johnny, Tapps was just as natural and necessary as the prayer.

Then when his tapps were done this little guy sobered me to the core as he looked toward the little grave and with his chin shaking and in a quivering little boy voice said,
"I loved ya."



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