The Early Times 3

Many people have a custom at Easter of giving baby chickens and ducks. My family never did but we always acquired some of these creatures when they grew to large for our city-dwelling friends.

One year it was two ducks, named Dopey and Grumpy who had spent their first year of life as pets in some one home. Now they were too large and were not house broken. They were crazy ducks.

They could play hide and seek, come when called and other games.

After they were acclimated, they were let out with the chickens and soon were adept at catching bugs and seemingly enjoying themselves. But they never stopped want to be around people.

Our house was built on the side of a hill fronting on East Lake Drive. The driveway ran down the side to the terrace at the rear. We kids slept in a room which had windows level with the driveway. Our baby sister Shelley, slept in a crib next to the window. When Dopey and Grumpy discovered her they began sleeping by the window day and night.

We had to convince the Hoboes that the ducks were not for dinner because we played with them when not doing chores.

It was fun but one day something happened to Dopey. He couldn’t walk or eat. Grumpy huddled close to him for days before he died and then spent hours looking for him.

Grumpy continued his games and kept watched over Shelley.

This was the depression and many people had little to eat, including our neighbors to the east.

One day Dopey vanished. People blamed the Hoboes but we kids searched the neighborhood and found duck fathers in our neighbor’s garbage can.
We kids never talked to them again.

I have never forgotten those two crazy ducks.


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