Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Desperate for Clean Water

When you're little, you put your whole body into it. Easy enough to grab the handle and push it up, but getting it back down, you had to jump, put all your weight on it to get it into down position, then lift as fast as you can to get the next one going down.Your best bet was to have a gallon of water handy to pour down inside the pump, in order to not kill yourself trying to pump the water. For my Dad or big brother, it seemed a miracle they could pump gallons and gallons of water into the cistern with one arm pumping. That's how it was with our sweet, pure well water. My how things have changed.

Today there's so much controversy about drinking water. Is my faucet water safe to drink? What about plastic bottled water and it's effect upon the environment. What's your plan of action? Got one? I didn't. Then one day while at the grocery store, I noticed that there were no special sales on bottled water. You know, those packs of 24 handy dandy, carry with you, clean, clear, mountain streams healthy, unpolluted water? That stuff. Since it wasn't on sale and I knew I would need at least the 24 bottles or more to get me through the week, I hesitated. Whoa! If I bought two packs that would be a pretty big chunk of cash.

I thought to save money by calling up the local bottled water company, one of those who bring it to your door in big jugs. You can by the special dispenser, only 80 to 100 bucks if you want the one that gives you instant hot and instant cold water. I got the plain dispenser, a crock and wooden stand, for under 50 bucks. Then there is the bottle deposit. Five dollars up front. Not bad as long as I keep returning the old bottles for the new ones. Then, I could expect the bottled water truck to come to my house and deliver five gallon jugs. Soon I was paying for 5 gallons of "fine" distilled or spring water (probably filtered tap) a month. Still, it was less expensive than buying a month's worth of 24 packs even on sale. Plus, I felt better about not adding to the growing problem of disposing of the empty bottles. Let us not go into the leaching of chemicals into those bottles according to some sources. Save that for another time, when I can get all the facts.

About a year later, I began to be a little haunted by my new set up. I'm sure you know what the water was delivered in? Plastic. Nice thick plastic that wouldn't crack if you dropped one on the sidewalk while unloading it from the truck. The truck driving all over the county with the heat piercing through the jugs of water.

Did you know, by the way, that one gallon of water weighs 8 pounds?  I don't know how much the plastic fiver weighed. It seemed light when empty. One of the hassles I ran into was I couldn't lift the 40 plus pounds up over my shoulder in order to turn it over into the dispenser. So, my options were to stay home and wait for the delivery guy to load one for me. Two problems with that: staying home all day until he showed up, and hopefully have an empty bottle sitting on top of my dispenser to trade in. My other option was to wait until the weekend when my Superman came to visit. Again this depended on whether or not the previous bottle was empty. Sometimes if not entirely, I would take enough out, and pour it into the aquarium, which seems to evaporate faster than I can drink water!

Superman said, it's less expensive to get the water ourselves from one of those water dispenser stores. So I discontinued the service, and we went to the local store and bought two five gallon, and one 3 gallon jugs. We've been going every weekend to refill and reload onto my water crock dispenser.

Now I question the wisdom in this. Wish I had some clear, pure water. Wish I had that pump in the backyard, that pump going deep underground into the well. I would jump up. I would push down. I would prime the pump. I could use the exercise.


Cries with Cop

I started to cry while driving on the freeway. I have no idea why. It wasn't simply that sense of tears starting to spring that you can hold back with a tightness in the throat. No, this came from somewhere deep. Like a volcano wanting to break loose. Tears unbidden. Tears with plans of their own.

I knew I had to get off the freeway as soon as possible to avoid being a danger to others. I can drive while crying. I've done it before. Haven't we all? It wasn't even a matter of understanding why I felt so sad.

There was an exit up ahead a couple miles, but I had to pull over right there and then.  I had the flashers on so that other drivers would at least notice I was on the side of the road. Not wanting to break down sobbing, I was looking around for some tissues, and thereby noticed from the rear view mirror, a vehicle coming up on me  from the rear. A police vehicle. Oh dear, oh yuck, oh %^*&! Can I get a traffic ticket for having pulled over on the freeway without having a flat tire of overheated engine? I would soon find out.

Officers in this area frequently come up to the passenger side of the car to talk to the driver, because the danger of a high speed vehicle clipping them while passing too closely. Therefore when the officer came to my door, I opened it so he could lean in. It was just beginning to sprinkle.

He took one look at me, and I noticed in his eyes a flicker of recognition. He knew instinctively that this wasn't a stalled car problem. Maybe he was thinking, a crying woman, Oh no, oh yuck, oh %^*&!". But he said with concern, "Are you all right, Ma'am?"

I didn't know what to say. (I just started crying for no reason, officer, over nothing?) No, I didn't say that. I lied. Okay, maybe not a full lie, a little white lie. I told him my mother died last year... and a bit of overwhelming grief struck me while driving... and I thought it would be safer for me to pull over to calm down. He said some comforting words, and to get me out of danger of the traffic, he followed me to the next exit.

Maybe it is true after all. Maybe I am missing my mother. She was 87 when she died a couple years ago. She was my best supporter, and loved to me read anything I might have written. A letter, a poem, a story, one of my opinionated pieces or a journal page about my cats. She would have liked this posting to know a caring cop had stopped to help her daughter. She would have understood how tears and sadness come from nowhere, with no known reason. She would have understood my white lie.

Please note:  I love to take pictures of vintage cars. The last picture is of my Mom in our 1955 Nash Rambler. 


The Ending of an Era

Farewell Cruel World! They came to take me away today. I warned you. Didn't I? I was all nice about it, and thoughtful. But, did anyone take me seriously? No! Now I am being replaced by a fancy new 1.6 gallon low flow toilet. It just breaks my heart that I am being retired. I feel so useless! Though, I must admit the young Miss Low Flow is quite a beauty. I peaked around the corner and saw her as they lifted her out of her shipping box. Two big burly guys. They weren't needed. I could have lifted her myself. She's so lightweight and her tank is slim and sleek. Her bowl amazingly functional.

Not only am I jealous, I am in total awe of her. How could I possibly compete with her? Why would I want to? She is definitely superior to my old clunky water guzzling ways. I bet she wont leak for hours and hours as I did. I bet she wont leak at all! No one will have to come check on her and wiggle her handle to stop the leak. Oh, woe is me. I'm done for.

I know for sure, she will use less water too flush than I did. When they built me, they weren't thinking at all. Were they? Who needs five to eight gallons of water to flush away well, you know... two cups of...  human water?

And here she is Miss Efficiency, Miss How Green is Your Environmental Footprint, How Shiny is Your Curvy Seat. Oh, she's a beauty all right. No wonder everyone wants her. Only one and a half gallon flush! How does she do it? Amazing. What a wonderful way to save water. What an even more wonderful way to save money on the water bill! She is one incredible piece of equipment. She will be the focus of so much respect and attention for her service to the community and the world. Truly, I wish her the best her life in the bathroom can offer her.

When they hauled me out of there, it wasn't too bad. Really. They were quick and careful. They took me outside and set me in the garden. Oh! I have never seen a garden before in my entire life!

I went from manufacture, to box, to bathroom and that's where I've been ever since.  I can't even remember how many years ago. I guess that's why I and others like me are becoming obsolete.

But, this garden! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Would this be my resting place forever more? It was filled with light and beauty, and I had the most peaceful feeling. No more struggles with plumbing. I thought, maybe, just maybe, I would be one of those toilets that gets to stay in the front yard and have flowers growing out of my bowl, like you see in the magazines.

They even talked about it a minute. But, I realized they were joking when they gently picked me up and put me in their vehicle. Is it the end for me? Is there nothing more? Will be garbage be dumped on me at the city dump until I can never see the light of day again?

But, wait a minute? They were talking. My user, the person to whom I have provided services all these years was concerned for me. She asked the question so pertinent to my future. "What happens next, Mr. Green Guy? You've replace the old toilet with a low flow one to help save water. But what happens to the old one? Is there any way it can be recycled?"

"Oh, yes", he said. "Toilets are made of porcelain, which is mostly made of clay. Porcelain can be ground down and used to make new porcelain items. Also, recycled toilet porcelain makes an excellent porous drainage material. It's a good substitute for gravel and can also be used as road base in state highways."

Well, now! I guess I really have died and gone to heaven. And now, my valuable porcelain will get a make over. I will be reincarnated! I will enter into a new kind of being. Imagine that! I can be part of a state highway! Say hi to me, everybody, as you safely pass over me. I will support your roadway. I will be useful again!

In case you missed the first part of the story, the following post relates Mr. Wasteful Flusher's first concerns about his demise:


Wasting Water

When I moved here I found the yard very dry. I began watering every day and tried to loosen the soil. Nurturing it along, I began to create a garden of favorite plants, which needed more nutrients and more watering. The picture on the left it my house with unsightly lawn, a few straggling rose bushes. I tried to save them. I tried.

As the decade has gone by, it has been a losing battle. I kept working hard using my best gardening skills, after all, I am certified as a Master Gardener through the University of Santa Cruz. I kept spending money in the hopes that I would finally have a well established garden which would, more or less, take care of itself. Some plants did well. Some did not.

Unexpected protracted winter freezes, unusual for my climate, damaged favorites which needed special care to come back only to be damaged again during another year's freeze. Even though I watched the weather and ran outside to cover my precious plants, trees and shrubs, still frost damage occurred. During foggy times of the year, some plants were affected by mold.

I stopped attempting to amend the soil. I stopped watering the wasted garden so much. I had gotten to the point to make the decision. A little wisdom goes a long way and it was time to let nature take it's course. The plants died off that were not suited to my climate. As a Master Gardener, I should have known better.

Slowly, I have replaced them with Native plants  or Mediterranean plants which grow symbiotically here in the soil as it is, with the weather as it is, with the water or lack of water as it is.

As time goes by I hope to have a self sustaining garden, and a very cheap water bill.

Doesn't look like the same house. Does it?

First Anniversary

I look at the mess winter has created outside my back door. I look at the mess the birds have made with all the sunflower seed shells. I'm responsible for some of that mess. I've been feeding them. The possum has contributed, too; trying to get to the bird seed, tipping over pots and stools and other garden paraphernalia. Not to mention his...  poop! Opossum's poop a lot, and not just in one place. It's everywhere!

I'm sad. This mess is sad. It's a sorry excuse for a memorial park. A memorial plot, I mean. There's no honor here.

Last year at this time, I was beside myself in shock. I had all the symptoms, rapid pulse, cold skin, perspiration, tightness in the chest, and an overwhelming sense of horror. Who knew that loving someone so much for twenty years could bring upon such intensity?

I couldn't comprehend the possibility that I would remain sane. I sure didn't feel sane. That first six months was the most difficult. I went to bed at night and all I could think about was her. Not the good times we had. No. All I could think about was her death, and the things that led up to it.  I awoke in the same thought pattern. I couldn't stop myself.

As clear as the moment it happened, I see her now, heading out the door as I reach for the mail, She's plodding across the yard to the far corner where her favorite plant grows. I head out behind her, hobbling along due to my recent surgery. I like to be with her, watching, as she pads around her plant, and sniffs selectively. Though I worry, she avoids the bumble bees like an expert and finds that one perfectly formed leaf for her enjoyment. She nibbles. I'll catch up to her soon. I can break off a stem, carry her back inside.

This was not catnip. Though Keli enjoyed catnip, she also had a penchant for a closely related plant most of us call cat mint. She preferred it over regular catnip. She had passed up the big patch of catnip by the door in order to get to her special plant.

If only she hadn't.

I wasn't fast enough. The neighbor had let her dogs out and headed toward my house. It was almost like I saw it coming. I couldn't run. There was no way I could have stopped it.

It was instantaneous.

I heard a blood curdling scream as the dog's body slammed my little eight pound girl. It was me who screamed but it sounded like it came from outside myself, as if the whole neighborhood had screamed. I can't say I saw her hurled away. It happened so fast. Have I blocked it?

I kept going over that in my mind, trying to capture that moment. Was she under her own power in escaping? Certainly she was suddenly not there, and my scream had startled the dog and his owner, so much that everything  shifted. The dog stood stock still and did not give chase, but ran away. The neighbor and I had harsh words.

Since the door was still open, Keli had made her way back inside before I got there. I examined her. No blood. She seemed herself. She seemed okay sitting there on her rocking chair, as usual.

It took two weeks as her life began to fade. I took her to the Vet, not relating the episode with the dog to her demise. It was the Vet who wrote in her chart about a mass in her abdomen, the lack of bowel sounds. He asked if she'd been injured. Then, it all clicked. It was too late to save her, he said. I could pay a thousand dollars and they would do everything they could, but he didn't feel there would be much hope at her advanced age, the fact she was dehydrated, etc. etc. I needed to let her go. He was very kind. Seemed like he loved her as much as I.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take your very sick pet to the vet without having a friend go with you!!! Driving home is extremely dangerous, for other drivers, as well as yourself. Several times, I had to pull over just to breathe. I was convinced I would pass out, but not within my senses enough to just stop driving entirely. Very dangerous.

Every night before I slept I re-lived the vet office visit, her looking into my eyes with such clarity that last moment. Every morning the same thing. I thought I would die from the grief. I wished I would. I felt insane.

So here I was a year later, and her resting place beside the back door was... a mess. Naturally, I got busy and started cleaning.

I decided to go out to her favorite plant, her cat mint, dig it up, transplant it, put it beside her. It gets such beautiful blue flowers on it. The neighborhood cats wont disturb it. She was the only one who ever munched on it.

Much to my surprise, I can't even call it surprise, just imagine ..... well, you explain it.

I found the location of Keli's cat mint and discover instead, a four foot circle of dead plant. All the spring flowers and grasses surround that circle. But, nothing invades the space that once was the living plant my cat loved.

Can you explain it? How very, very odd.


Spring Flooding

The winter of 1949 had been harsh, starkly white, and unsafe for a little girl to go out. I stared out the dining room window at my big naked friends, the Maple trees, wondering if they were asleep like Mommy said.

Sometimes I looked across the way and saw our neighbor, Mrs. Samalski, the Police Chief’s wife, through her window tending to her houseplants. I wondered why her plants weren’t asleep. Sometimes she saw me, smiled and waved at me.

Spring rushed in with unexpected warmth that nearly drowned us all. The Niagara river climbed over it’s banks.

Muddy water eddied in front of our doorstep, crept over the sill, and filled the basement overnight. I gazed out the window at the kaleidoscope patterns of the water as it rose around the house.

I was entranced by the sights and sounds outside as we waited for the boat rescuers. It wasn’t the roar of the water that piqued my curiosity; it was the human-like moaning of the trees as they fought to keep their roots in the thick clay soil, and the muck-sucking sounds when the flood tried to tear them out by the roots. Those tall proud Guardians won the battle as the waters swiftly receded.

After the water withdrew, I begged to go outside, so I could investigate the new sprouting green buds, and splash in water puddles (wearing my high galoshes, of course).

After all, my big brother had been out there every day since the flooding began, filling sand bags and shoveling mud with Daddy. It was a disappointment for me, once I got outside. All the beautiful mud patterns were gone and I struggled as the sludge grabbed my galoshes. Needless to say, I landed face down in the stinky stuff.

Discouraged, I dragged myself back inside and stayed safely behind my window as buds opened into lovely leaves. The sun dried out the earth, neighbors gathered together to clean up the mess as the days went by. Then, with my nose pressed hard against the window, I closely examined the newly blooming Lilacs at the base of our window, and welcomed their return.


Soil Begging to be Touched!

The rain is gone, fruit trees are budding and  throwing out their first blooms. Apricot, peach, plums. Yum. Can hardly wait.

My hands itch to immerse themselves in the soil, to tidy up the mess the garden has become over the winter. Though no snow storms ravaged the land, rain is our winter fare.

Fortunately this year was a good rain year. Water high in the reservoir means no rationing. If those who garden heavily want to water their yards without counting out every drop, they will be joyful for the abundance.

I've pulled myself out of that group of gardeners, tending roses and other plants that don't thrive without constant individualized care. The soil here is one of the worst. Being part of the flood plain you'd think it would be rich. But this is the Pajaro River, one of the most endangered rivers in America.

Previous flooding over generations, before my house ever existed has created a hard pack over my yard. It's a dichotomy to me that the city is surrounding by some of the richest soil and biggest agriculture in the world. When you go to the store to buy strawberries, inevitably they will have come to you from Watsonville, or Salinas Valley.

Early land owning farmers of the region had enough sense to stay away from the non-arable land where I live and delegated it to the Chinese hired labor to scratch out their existence.

So I sit here scratching my head how to live with the land peacefully. It's still a process for me. I have left off from cultivating, improving my soil with bone and blood meal, growing my own worms, composting and digging into the compacted clay, hard tack soil in attempts to urge it along into something abundant. It's been a losing battle fighting off the local predators, weeds, bugs and mammalian alike. It's not true companion planting will do it. It's not true lady bugs, miniature wasps and lacewings can completely obliterate the problem unless you have a lot of money to invest. They don't know enough to stay within the confines of your own garden, but like to travel on. I've let things go fallow.

I have a small front yard. and instead of being the shame of the neighborhood it was at one time, the jewel. Do we all know, however, one of those houses where everyone driving by either averts their eyes, or points? My method of scattering seed instead of planting from the nursery has put me in that category for some.  I've made enough adjustments to keep from being reported to the neighborhood association. (Yes, we have garden police here.)

It was questionable whether or not my yard completely full of Flanders red poppies was unsightly or beautiful. Eventually, the decision came down to fire hazard. That was a drought year and the three foot poppy plants had dried out quite quickly. I could see their point as they crackled where ever I walked. I pulled them all up and through them in one of the many compost bins in my back yard.

But, poppies have plans of their own.

Many seeded early leaving behind another crop the following year.

Rather than deal with another hassle, I judiciously pulled them up as soon as they bloomed.

We shall see if any of them dare to raise their lovely red heads this year!


Tree Hugger

I don't want to look. I know what they are doing out there. It hurts to know.

But, this is the way life goes. Isn't it? There is nothing I can do about it. I've seen it before.

When I was little I felt the same as I do now. But, there was a long period I was immune to feeling anything. I got too busy with life to care at the time.

The noise is deafening. The cats are disturbed. No matter where we hide, we cannot get away.

I suppose I could get in the car and drive somewhere, to the ocean maybe, to the redwood forest and walk among the trees.
But, I would cry. I've had enough of crying. It's a fact of life and I've got to face it... accept it.

I've looked over that fence a thousand times. I've watched that magnificent Magnolia grow, flourish, become the gem of the neighborhood. I don't know why I never took a picture. Mockingbird lives among it's branches. He has annoyed me with his cacophany all night long, many nights over the years.

But I'd trade his racket for the wood chomping monster any time. When he returns this evening, his home will be gone. Where will he go?

Maybe he can hang out in my pine tree out front. I can't believe I'm feeling sorry for a homeless mockingbird! This critter who has celebrated my insomnia numerous times! But, I could sleep better through his night calls if he was out front.

The workers have served the vile machine it's breakfast. It's chewed up Mother Magnolia. Is it going to have the Bottle Brush for snack? I wonder about the others little trees whose names I don't know.

Now, I look out the window across the fence. Barren. Nothing between me and the window across the way. How hot it will be for the neighbors this summer? I wonder if they will miss their privacy when look out the window and they see me looking right back at them! I certainly will be uncomfortable without the bowers between us. I sit on the bed, stunned.

I hear the men out there talking. Why haven't they gone? I'm curious and look out my window. They are cleaning up the remains. The branches and leaves on the ground. They've done there job well. It is what they do, their livelihood.

One of the men  is using a long pole to cut the ends off another big tree. I realize the Magnolia has enticed my eye for so long, I never knew there was another one hidden on the other side of the Magnolia. 

Is that the beginning of good bye for that one, too? I don't know what kind of tree it is.

Bambi nervously sits in the window now, watching, watching, twists her neck, looks back at me, a tiny mew. Does she feel it the way I do? Did she hear the tree screaming as they hacked away its soul? Do the other trees in the neighborhood shudder to think their friend is gone? My peach, apricot, plum trees, will they miss Magnolia? They barely have buds now.

Am I being childish to have this sadness for the sake of tree?

The owner is out there now looking at her nice clean yard. Through my closed window, I hear her sneeze. I'm surprised. This is not only going to be about visual privacy.

I think late tonight I will play angry RAP music!!!

Quietly, of course.  No louder than a sneeze.


Water, Water, Not Everywhere

A young woman I know is an Evironmental Minimalist. When I tried to give her some jeans I had that were her size she turned them down. She said she didn't need more than the two pair she already had. I didn't understand.

My son goes to Burning Man, and comes back every time totally STOKED~! I've listened to him describe how he discovered the awesomeness of living minimally, of being in the desert, of living responsibly with the environment, of being properly prepared for survival, not wasting water, and having a blast at it.

I go to his house and the toilet has not been flushed because he and his roommates responsible efforts to save water.  I pee. It's okay. It's only yellow. I've peed over much worse than that when I was a kid sitting in an outhouse out in the woods behind my Aunt Laura's house.

Among other things that I have been investigating regarding my green footprint, (maybe I should say yellow?) I've looked at how I have abused my right to water. I've thoughtlessly watered a yard that didn't need it.

I drove away in the car with the sprinkler running thinking I would be back in a few minutes and realizing 4 hours later, OH NO, I'd left the water running! Thoughtless! Criminally thoughtless! Especially since I live in California where we often have drought.
Now that I have admitted this wanton water wasting, I hope no one comes and burns an effigy of me in the front yard. I can just imagine going out to turn the hose on the fire only to discover someone has turned the water off! I'm working diligently to wipe this nightmare from my mind. I promise!

The city I live in has been awarded a government grant to provide low flow toilets to all residents who ask for them. This includes installation. Yes, this is your tax dollars at work.  I made an appointment. They were supposed to show up today, but didn't. I called. They rescheduled for another day. 

Okay, so this is hard to admit "publicly" (does anybody ever read this blog?) but, in the last few months I have been diligently trying to remember to not flush if it is just urine. Ew! Did I really write that word out loud? Yes, I did. There it is, right in front of my eyes. Urine.

What is it they say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'd like to add that value is in the mind of the thinker.

Did you know that urine has value? Of course, it would be disastrous if we could not produce any. We would die. It's a precious fluid our bodies produce. Did you know that in certain cultures there are prayers of thanks given to the deity for the ability to produce and excrete urine? Did you know that urine is necessary to cure leather?  Did you know our Astronauts partake of their own urine? After properly treated urine is drinkable as pure water. They do that on the International Space Station.

I'm not suggesting we drink our urine. Nor that we all not flush the average of 250 cc that goes into the toilet when we micturate. Though, think about it. Just think about it a minute. How many gallons does it take to flush away that one cup of urine. It takes an average of 3 to 7 gallons to dispose of what was a cup of latte a short time ago!!!

The amount of water wasted depends on how old your toilet is. Less ancient models than mine usually use about three gallons, they say. The newest models, like the one I'm supposed to have installed next week, flushes about one and a half gallons.

After I called my local water company, I learned where to find how many gallons of water I have donated to the local sewer system every month, by washing dishes, clothes, bathing, watering the yard, washing the car and flushing. Guess what? It's a lot. Not only could I save water by being more conscious, more minimalist, but I could save a lot of money off my water bill. Too bad there are no incentive reward points or something like that to encourage people to use less water.

Some websites I've read mention that as much as 30% of our water usage is from flushing the toilet. Yikes! That sure is an expensive way to get rid of our pee!


A Change of Mind

A dear friend died recently and it hit me right between the eyes that my attitude about our customs surrounding death might be necessary. I realized I needed to re-think my attitude about the whole concept of how we handle death in our culture. Because of the long distance between us, I was unable to attend any get together with others regarding the death of my friend. I felt alone in my grief.

I'm sure that my bereft loneliness could have increased, except for the fact that the internet connected many of us who loved this person. We were able to share our bereavement in a social network. I saw wonderful comments about my friend, I learned how others experienced him in their lives. I saw another side of him, and I smiled. I watched a slide show presented by his dearest loved one, pictures I had never seen before. Pictures that showed my friend in happy times with his friends, including me, and in beautiful scenery he had once enjoyed.

I ranted not too long ago about death and funerals, about how some cultures celebrate death, how our culture treats it differently: death is a sad, bad thing, to be avoided, to be made more acceptable by making things pretty. I ranted that I wanted my death to be celebrated, that I didn't want flowers and you better give me flowers now, not when I'm dead.

Because of the death of this dear friend so close to the timing of my rant, I have had a revelation which has given me a different opinion, nearly a full turn around on the subject.

It doesn't seem so unacceptable to me anymore. I can now truly say, with all my heart, to the family and others who loved my friend, "I'm sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences."

Rest in Peace, my dear friend. I shall miss you immensely, though I believe from the depths of me you are just a whisper away.


We All Have a Story. What's Yours, Ducky?

I remember the time I was driving X and his new steady girlfriend, K, home from high school. It had been a long monotonous ride. I got off the main highway to get out of traffic, take a detour on a side road with two lanes. I told the kids, "We're taking the scenic route! Less nerve wracking!"

Suddenly the two lane traffic slowed to a grind. Not just on our side. It seemed the cars on the other side were slowing too. Some would suddenly zoom by with a little squeal of tires. It seemed so odd. I stuck my head out the window to catch a glimpse of what was holding up traffic.

Mother duck...

Her ducklings were located in the drainage ditch on our right. Their goal? The pond to our left across the road.

I quickly swung the car over to the side of the road. A little gasp from K. Was I making her nervous? Maybe she thought I was driving into the water?
I opened the door and got out, my son smiling and rolling his eyes as, K said, "Where ya goin'?

"I'll be right back."

I walked down the center of double yellow lines and stopped equal to the position of the ducks, put my arms out wide and waved them (like flapping wings, now that I think of it.)

There's something about being a mother, myself, seeing another mother and her little ones in danger, that brings out the protectiveness in me.

I began edging my way right and left. The cars slowed to a creep, one zipped pass me. I gave the driver behind him an I-dare-you look. He smiled and threw his hands in the air and remained in place.

Now that all traffic was stopped heard only mother duck encouraging her little ones to follow her between this canyon of metal, asphalt and funny odors. 

I could also hear K in the car... "Your mother is crazy!!!

X said. "You better get used to it."

The cars stopped.

They had no choice with Crazy Lady blocking their way

Momma and babies all made it safely across to the pond.

I have no doubt one of the pond ducklings who hadn't gone on adventure snickered to the newly crossed over, "Your mother is crazy!

It seems that ducks have us people well figured out, as there are other stories similar to mine. There was one in the news about a cab driver. Maybe you have a duck story? It does not have to include teenagers If you have a duck story. Please feel free to share it in a comment.