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Another Day in the Country

The problems of immigration

© Another Day in the Country

It’s a ritual. Every Sunday morning, my sister and I have breakfast together. Usually, it is at my house. We have something special: French toast, coffee cake, scones with lemon curd, pancakes smothered in fresh fruit and whipped cream, Dutch babies with fried apples and whipped cream, a frittata with fresh asparagus on top.

This past Sunday, Jess said, “Come over to my house for breakfast. You have art show stuff stacked on every flat surface of the house. I’ll make pancakes.”

At the appointed hour — always 8:30 — I walked across the street, through the crop circles mowed into her lawn, up the back steps, and into her warm kitchen, fragrant with the smell of pancakes frying.

I sat down on a chair, watched my sister at work, and chuckled at how different we are in some ways.

Take frying pancakes, for instance. Jess is spraying the grill with oil spray — methodically covering every corner of the grill, abundantly, giving equal attention even to the corners. She does this between every set of three perfectly shaped, fluffy pancakes frying.

I, on the other hand, heat up the grill, give it a quick cursory squirt of Pam aimed toward the middle, and that’s it. I figure it’s enough oil to last for more than one set of three, randomly round pancakes.

My sister is methodically, generous in other ways than with cooking spray. Her positive thinking extends even toward ducks — especially ducks.

She hears me grumbling fairly often about my dumb ducks and chastises me.

“Choose kind adjectives,” she says.

Only two of the ducks are named because they are easily identified. They’re the white ducks.

The surviving white duck I originally ordered is supposedly a female. We call her Daisy. 

The second white duck is a replacement that Kristina and LeeRoy brought to me after the demise of one of my original ducklings. Kristina and the kids thought that Daffy would be a good name — short for daffodils, which were blooming at the time. So Daffy it is.

We don’t know what kind of a duck Daffy is, but he (we are assuming Daffy most likely is a male) is a little bigger boned than the others.

He has a paler beak. He has big sturdy leg bones, unlike the slender stems of the five other ducks, and huge feet.

Given these accoutrements, he’s also a little clumsy. He wobbles when he walks, is more easily winded if the flock gets agitated and stays on the move, and sits down more often.

He just has more to think about, especially getting those feet under him properly. He has to walking as if he were wearing swimming flippers three sizes too big.

“That dumb duck,” I begin my complaint to anyone who will listen, “is covered in mud — again.”

“Oh, I like him,” Jess remonstrates. “He always looks so earnest.”

“Earnest? “Earnest? Who, the heck, ever saw an earnest duck?” I retort.

The answer to my hypothetical question is probably no one, but my sister would call a duck (especially when she’s not the one cleaning up after them) earnest.

Still, it’s a good word: earnest. Daffy the earnest duck puts one oversized foot in front of the other and follows along in the duck line behind Daisy, who most often is leader of the pack.

Meanwhile, three Americana hens who lay beautiful blue eggs have been displaced from “The Palace” behind my house. Like refugees without a passport, they now reside in “The Big House” across the street, where they are not wanted — still, after five days of humiliation and trying to stay inconspicuous.

The ducks now live in the hens’ house. The hen unhappy with this is the hen who was at the bottom of the pecking order.

Suddenly, she’s the hen that’s most furious at the newcomers, asserting herself, saying “I was here first!”

Does that sound familiar?

For followers of my chicken saga, these three gals started out as members of a flock, well respected citizens who were swept up in an attempt to get their royal family housed appropriately several years ago,

These gals were mistaken for a hen I called the Queen. (It was dark and the hens look alike.) It’s a long story and, after the fact, not all that pertinent except that these same three hens who were uprooted before now are being uprooted again. 

“I’m so sorry,” I tell them, “but I find myself with six ducks who you don’t want to live with either!”

My blue-egg-laying beauties have been living a rather tranquil, privileged life — coming up to my back door for treats and allowed to rummage in my flower bed mulch and wander around my yard at will.

Now, because of this influx of ducks, they find themselves homeless and distraught on another day in the country.

Last modified May 4, 2023

 

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