A Duck Named Thanksgiving
by Jane Curtis
My uncle was a quiet spoken man. He was a wood floor specialist. He did everything from installing to repairing wood floors. He was sought after throught out half the state. He had a crew that did out of town jobs.
He took care of the ones close to home. He was forever taking barter instead of money for his services. One spring day he brought home a baby ducklet... is that a word? Anyway, it was small, yellow and fuzzy. It quacked a lot. All the kids in the family fell in love with him. We gave no thought to the adults naming him Thanksgiving. That is until November of that same year.
Thanksgiving played with us kids, the dogs, the cats, and everyone. However, one afternoon we were all out in the backyard. Thanksgiving was chasing us around the yard, quacking and having fun. Grandmother and my uncle were sitting at the picnic table on the patio. My uncle was talking about Thanksgiving but not as a duck but as part of our Thanksgiving meal.
I stopped the kids from playing and we hid behind the tool shed and listened. "I just don't know if I can cut his head off. It was a good idea when I brought him home but now. My uncle shook his head and put his face in the palms of his hands. Grandmother patted his shoulder. "Don't worry son, I come from pioneer stock. I will wrench his neck and cut his head off when the time comes. You may have to help me pluck him."
We all looked at each other. Thanksgiving was listening too. We all looked at him. We made a pact. To keep Grandmother away from Thanksgiving. When we got close to the day we would find a way to hid him until after the Thanksgiving day.
I had three cousins. Mike, (the oldest boy), Timothy (the youngest boy), and Tina the only girl and youngest of the three. The two boys were to find a place somewhere in the neighborhood to hide Thanksgiving. We girls were going to make it our mission to get Thanksgiving to stay away from Grandmother.
We girls had decided that by getting some of Grandmother's clothing we could let Thanksgiving smell it, then hit him (not hard just enough to get his attention). Sometimes we would poke him. Grandmother lived with my sister and me in the city and would not be here again until Thanksgiving day. We would all come early so the women could get started cooking in the kitchen. Thanksgiving's training had gone great. Maybe a little too well.
We kids were out in the yard and were being paged to come in and play. We knew that the time had come. The boys had found a place to hide Thanksgiving but they were not back yet from preparing the place for his arrival.
We were very nervous as Grandmother, ax in hand, went out into the backyard. We saw Grandmother go around the back of the shed and feared the worst. Then we saw our 4'11", very plump grandmother running back the other way with Thanksgiving hot on her heals.
Suddenly, we heard the grandmother screaming her head off. We all raced to the backyard. There was Grandmother running, the ax had fallen on the table, and Thanksgiving was chasing her. He would get close to Grandmother and bit her on the bottom. Grandmother slowed down and then slipped. Thanksgiving got on top of her and started nipping at her hair, her dress, her arms, and her hands.
We kids were clapping our hands and delighted the training had paid off. Our mothers were not so pleased. They ran out to rescue their mother. As they were bringing Grandmother to the picnic table the boys showed up in the alley. They had a large beach towel. They put it over Thanksgiving's head and took off.
Grandmother looked over at us, all three, very sweet little girls. We were still grinning. I realized she might have actually been hurt. I loved my grandmother but ... She suddenly realized the problem.
Grandmother started laughing. "If I was a duck and someone came chasing me with an ax, I just might bite them on the fanny too. She started laughing. She asked her daughters if there was a turkey in the freezer. When they said yes, we clapped. After all, we did not know the turkey.
It was not long after that we had decided to have a family cookout. We all went outside. We had all forgotten about Thanksgiving's training. We were playing with the dogs, cats, and Thanksgiving when Grandmother came outside. Instantly, Thanksgiving started chasing her. We all laughed, but this time we rescued Grandmother.
We never figured out how to untrain Thanksgiving so we had to pen him up when Grandmother was going to be joining us outside. We made it a family rule from that point on that we did not eat anything we had named.
Grandmother, as usual, found the funny side of the situation. Grandmother said no one believed she was always getting chased by Thanksgiving, even in July. It became a family joke.
Grandmother would rub her bottom and say it is funny to everyone but me. Again, we laughed with her.