Sunday, May 08, 2005

Plucking Feathers (or Don't Ever Try to Catch a Duck)
One year, Mom and Dad decided to move up to our trailer at the lake. The reason why? Only they know since they both worked in Birmingham and Smith Lake is 30 something miles north. Anywho, they decided that we were going and that's that.

Now, my sister and I were pretty happy about it. We loved Smith Lake in all its grand beauty; loved, swimming in it, boating on it, and fishing in it (I draw the line at gutting and scaling the fish though).

Our place was on a slough (pronounced "sloo") on a southern end of the lake. You have to understand now that the lake was man-made in the foothills of Alabama, so it is very deep and very sprawling. Our slough was a mere fingertip on the whole hand of the lake. But anyway, our slough was fairly shallow and tended to freeze some in the winter. This was the case the day in question that I am writing about.

My sister, Boo, and I were bored. We were so stir-crazy in that trailer that Momma finally shoved us out of the house in full winter gear. The thing about Alabama winters is that, contrary to northern belief, it does get cold! It can even snow. Of course, then we have to close all the roads and schools down since we don't have salt trucks and plows like those northern states. But back to the story - we were shoed, coated, scarved, and mittened like little miniature Michelin men as we waddled down to the lakeshore.

Our dog, Bo Cephus, who was named after Hank Williams Jr., pulled himself out of his nice, warm doghouse to go with us. That dog was our pal, our hiking buddy, and he never let us go walking alone. He was a American Eskimo Spitz, so he loved the cold weather.

The lake was partially frozen over near the bank. The middle of the slough was still open water and there were some beautiful white ducks paddling about out there. Well, Boo got it in her head to pluck a feather out of one of those ducks. I, always enjoying a game of Catch the Duck, agreed to help her.

We crouched down there on the frozen back and waited...and waited...and waited for those danged ducks to come close to the bank so we could steal a feather. Momma would have smacked us good if we came home with our boots wet, so we did the sensible thing and waited for the ducks. Finally, one of them got close enough for Boo to reach over and carefully JERK the closest feather out of the duck's butt.

Well that duck squawked and took off like a shot, pulling Boo with it. Unfortunately for her, the duck was heading for open water. I grabbed her foot as she flew by, causing myself to be pulled into the water as well, hoping I could slow the duck down long enough to save my sister. I kept yelling, Let go of the duck! Boo, let go of the du-uk!

No, she yelled back.

Finally after me screaming for awhile, she let go of that poor duck. Both of us were soaked to the bone, you could hear our teeth chattering from there to Nashville, they were so loud. Neither of us wanted to go home and face Momma's wrath, but we knew if we didn't, we'd surely freeze to death out on the lake.

Christy got her feather that day, but we both learned an important lesson: Never grab hold of a duck on water. Wait until it's at least on the bank. And I learned to never grab my sister as she's flying by, holding onto a duck. Then at least I'll stay dry.

I don't remember what Momma did to us after we straggled home. I do know she was as mad as a wasp, but obviously we lived to see another day.
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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"I believe that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can not baptize cats." - Larry the Cable Guy

A Tennessee man and an Alabama man were both fighting in a war and were captured by the enemy.
"Before we put you to death," said the enemy, "do you have any last requests?"
"Yes," said the Alabaman. "Could you play 'Yeah, Alabama' before you shoot me?"
"Sure," said the enemy. "How about you, Tennessean?"
"Could you shoot me before you play 'Yeah, Alabama?'"

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