Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Great Duck Rescue

We're experiencing another cold spell today, nothing like the so-called polar vortex that's wreaking havoc on much of the nation, but still very cold for us. Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder. Local news outlets are, of course, issuing warnings to protect  "the four P's--people, pets, plants and pipes," so we're doing that. I didn't realize there had even been a discussion about the possibility of a rare Louisiana snowfall until I watched TV last night and heard the evening news crew groan in disappointment when the weatherman told them that, no, conditions aren't quite right, it won't be snowing here after all.

Our last snow was about five years ago. I have pictures of Butch and Kadi playing in it. Oh, wait--I probably wrote about it at the time--yes, here's the post. I remember that day well, especially the concerned phone calls I kept getting from my daughter Kim as the day wore on. The more I've thought about it this morning, the more tickled I've gotten, so I asked Kim for permission to repost what she wrote on her own website about that day. Here's her story (the beautiful photo is hers, too):


by Kim Neely

Believe it or not, this is what we woke up to here on Thursday morning:

To say that we were all excited would definitely be an understatement. We hardly ever get to see snow in these parts, so when we do, it's reason to celebrate. People were calling all their friends, running around with their cameras getting proof for posterity, and it seemed as though every other house had a snowman in front of it. Very cool, except for one episode that my friends and family aren't going to let me forget about any time soon.

There was a duck in the lake, about 4 feet from the bank on the other side, that kept swimming in the same place for hours. I had been seeing him there from 6:30 in the morning until around 10 AM, every time I passed by my window, before I realized that he was just swimming in the same spot and that I had never seen a duck do that for so long before. He looked OK, not like he was injured or anything, but there was snow accumulating on his back. Wasn't he cold? I just thought it odd that he wasn't off somewhere with the other ducks. I became convinced that he must have snagged one of his feet in something beneath the water and gotten stuck there. I worried about him for another long while, even soliciting advice about the situation from a few friends on the phone, before I finally broke down and drove to the management office of my apartment complex. My plan was to borrow the pool skimmer to try and rescue the duck, but they wouldn't let me use the skimmer - some nonsense about "possible liability issues." (I refrained from telling the nice management lady that if I wanted to go stand at the edge of the lake and help the duck, I was damned well going to do it, whether it was with the building's skimmer or the one I was about to go buy at the hardware store.) Anyway, she said she'd get the property manager and one of the maintenance guys to go check out the duck and see if they could help it, so I came back to my apartment and waited. After about an hour, when the duck was still there and I hadn't seen anyone out by the lake trying to help get it unstuck, I called Management Lady again to see what she'd found out.

There was kind of an awkward silence, and then she says, "Ms. Neely, the property manager did go out to see about the duck, and he says it's a decoy."

"Is he sure?" I asked. She said he was, and I wanted to argue with her for a minute, but instead, I apologized for the inconvenience and hung up. I still wasn't convinced, but not long afterward, the sun came out and the surface of the water calmed, and I could see very clearly that the duck in distress was, indeed, faux. Even as I write this, 3 days later, it's still out there, "swimming" in the same spot.

I am choosing not to be embarrassed about this.


  1. ROFLOL!!!!! That is exactly something I would do ... except I would have been splashing through the water to "save" it with everyone in the complex whipping their cells out to take a photo when I pulled the thing up and it was obviously a decoy! Yep, that is what would have happened had it been me. :)

    1. Betsy, LOL, I think there's a mysterious gene in some families that drives some of us to attempt to rescue waterfowl in the nastiest of weather. When it happened to me, I felt certain all the neighbors were at their windows, listening to me cuss and cry.

  2. I remember this story when Kim posted it... thanks for the giggle.

    That was well before I fell in love with a duck of my own. She has forever changed me. A hiking buddy got to witness Mallory Mallard screaming at Mabel at the creek the other day... I was so proud!

    1. Ah, sweet Mallory...sounds like she was letting Mabel know what's what before she moves back into your pool.

  3. Linda, my email is I saw your Linda@vs...but thought there must be more to the email. So sweet of you to fix the photo. Fleta may have one that is fixed but that is the only copy I have. I think Dad carried it on Iwo Jima in WWII. Betty

    1. If your dad carried that photo in Iwo Jima, then it couldn't be more special just the way it is. That being said, I'll send you the retouched version right now. It was a pleasure to do it. (FYI, my email address is under the "Contact Me" tab.)


Your comments might be the very best thing about blogging. I love it when you care enough to share your thoughts here, so go ahead and say what's on your mind.