mad in pursuit memoir notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of yesterday and forever

Duckling Spring

April 1955It's Easter and Jesus has hatched out of his stony egg to the amazement of his only witnesses — rabbits munching on the lawn. Alleluia.

Okay, I'm not sure about the rabbits.

But from time to time my parents let us celebrate the miracle of hatching by giving us baby ducks on Easter morning. Here's a picture of Tom and me in 1955. I wonder why little Tommy is packing heat. Maybe, even at the age of 4, he was reassuring himself that a man could be gentle and a cowboy too.

I'm trying to remember those spring ducklings. They were fuzzy and sweet and obviously learned to eat from our hands. They weren't that smart. I think we mostly just chased them around the yard and watched them learn to swim in a tub of water. An entertaining few weeks, till their white feathers started sprouting — and then they would disappear, back to the farm or... "wherever."

I don't remember being sentimental about them. In fact I don't remember if we even gave them names, though we must have. They came, they performed, then they left town for another engagement. I don't remember any hysteria about their disappearance. Summer had come.