I don't really like ducks. Or geese. Some of my friends and family like them. But not me. They are messy and, like whistling girls and crowing hens, always come to some bad end.
Sam bought 2 baby ducks home in a cardboard box--just for a couple days until they were big enough to go to the farm.
Sam and Vaunda put them in the man cave and I didn't even look at them.
Vaunda hand fed them eggs and oatmeal. And showed them how to drink.
The kids loved them and played with them.
I was not even remotely interested.
But then, everyone left. Except the ducks.
Before I knew it, I was microwaving an egg and mixing in a little oatmeal. They peeped appreciatively and devoured everything in sight. Maybe I was on to something here.
A few days passed and though I was feeding them and cleaning up after them, I maintained a safe emotional distance.
Last Saturday, I watched as Sam unloaded a large covered crate and drug it across the yard. He then went into the garage and gently carried the ducks and placed them in the crate. "They should be eating dandelions," he said.
They were scared. And confused. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about them.
All alone out there, without a mother to show them what to do.
Just like me.
Later in the day, I approached the pen and they peeped excitedly when they saw me. For the first time, I touched them as I put them in the basket to go back into the garage for the night. They were soft and downy and gently nipped my fingers.
I went back outside and picked a few dandelion greens, tore them into small pieces and watched in amazement as they nibbled them directly from my hand.
That was it. I had to get the camera. And take some video. So you could see.
That I am not exactly young anymore. Because inside, I don't feel like I am 57. Yes, that's my age. There's no use hiding it. No mystery here. When you have a child who is only a couple years from a 20th class reunion, well, what's the point?
But I really didn't need this to show up in my inbox today:
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I sat down at my desk this morning and felt something crawling on my forehead.
It was a wood tick.
I showed it to Sam.
I put it in the toilet
But I couldn't flush the toilet, more on that later
I came back to my desk and felt something crawling in my hair.
It was another wood tick
I showed it to Sam
I put it in the toilet
With the other tick who was learning to tread water
I came back to my desk and felt something crawling in my bra.
It was yet another wood tick.
I yelled at Sam, "There's another one!"
And put it in the toilet.
Tick number 1 was unsuccessful in his attempt to tread water (Die Sucka!)
I must have gotten all the ticks when I put the ducklings in the outdoor pen this morning. Yes, the ducklings. That I am actually cooking special food for and cleaning up after. The newly hatched ducklings that "someone" brought to Mom's visitation last Sunday. For Olivia. The ducklings that hopefully will be going to a new home tonight.
We don't have any water here because anything and everything associated with the well decided to crap out.
It just keeps getting better.
As if losing Mom and becoming violently ill with a stomach virus in a 12 hour period wasn't bad enough, I had the pleasure of working with an intern funeral director at our local funeral home.
Who was, are you ready for this, a former flight attendant.
I call her "Mortician Barbie"
My niece Ingrid's daughter remembered the ad line and said “she can be anything she wants to be, but probably shouldn’t.”
It's a long story filled with her inappropriate and sometimes bizarre marketing tactics:
"The vault is the most important purchase you will make. You can have it painted to match the casket"
Um, isn't this going under the ground?
"We keep a thumbprint on file in case you wish to order something from our jewelry line"
Now that is just creepy.
I know this is a public blog, but I need to vent.
Because today she called me and left a message wishing me a happy mother's day.
She said how much she enjoyed getting to know us.
And that my mother's death certificates were ready to be picked up any time. She would be in between 11 and 4.
I was not planning to speak at Mom's funeral. Sunday morning I awoke at 3 am and knew the words were coming to me so I quickly wrote them down. Here is what I shared:
Mom was not a list maker. She never saw a need for it. Several times we tried to supply her with 3 x 5index cards and working pens but she never saw a need for them Why waste time writing out when she already knew what had to be done—she would rather be doing than planning. Her calendar only noted important things like planting dates and the date the bull was put in with the cows. Oh yes, that was a red letter day. For all concerned.
There was nothing Mom enjoyed more than a good letter. It was right up there with having a cup of coffee delivered to her bed each morning and listening to the opening markets on the Linder Farm Network.
She was part of the generation who relied on letters to keep up to date with family news.. Of course the letters, especially from her dear sisters, had to include at least one Ole and Lena joke and heavy use of the expression HA exclamation point. This was before LOL. Whenever she finished reading them, she always said, “She writes such a good letter.”
When we started going to Florida, Kent began the tradition of mailing addressed and stamped envelopes to many family members. She eagerly awaited our return from the daily trip to the post office with the “postal catch of the day.” We would read each of them aloud and hear about everyone’s weather, catch up on the news and enjoy a few Ole and Lena jokes. And we would all say, “She writes such a good letter.”
One of my best memories of Mom will be the time we spent together reading or doing crossword puzzles. My mother in law Louise also read to her by the hour and often joked that sometimes they’d get side-tracked by Mom’s reminiscing. Those days together with both our moms are now more precious than ever.
As many of you know, Mom loved to be outdoors and was never happier than when the first leaves of her early garden emerged from the soil. She continued the hard work into the raw fall days until the last of the potatoes were dug and several wagon loads of squash were hauled out.
Another of Mom’s gifts was her ability to prepare and serve delicious, substantial meals usually accompanied with homemade bread and jam to anyone and everyone lucky enough to find a seat at her table.
Just Saturday night, I arrived home to a house filled with family. Gathered around the island in my kitchen were many of her grandchildren preparing dinner. The food was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. But more importantly was how they all said how much fun they had doing it. Food and laughter—just like Mom’s kitchen.
Mom’s legacy may not have been made up of costly goods but rather in knowledge of the importance of simple things, splurging once in awhile because as she always said, “I don’t go to shows” and loving her family unconditionally and eternally.