By Don Sweetenham
It seems an age since I last sat down and tried to put my thoughts on paper or on this machine. I’ve almost forgotten how the whole thing works. Even now, I’m not really sure I know what I’m doing but an unexpected ‘phone call from a young lady, saying that she and some of her friends were missing my Duck Depot tales penetrated my consciousness, so here goes. Just remember, you asked for it.
I’m not sure how long it has been since I last wrote to you but I’ll try to explain without too many gory details. Do you remember that T.V. commercial where an old lady is lying on the floor saying “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? Well, I now know how she was feeling. I was in the kitchen, fixing a cup of coffee for myself when, quite suddenly it seemed, I woke up flat out on the kitchen floor. I tried to get up but I could hardly move. My hand was bleeding, making a real mess on the floor and my head was aching but my brains were safe, having landed face down. Anyway, there I was, on the floor, unable to call anyone for help so I just had to make the best of it. Nothing seemed to be broken and I wasn’t in any real pain so I just stayed still until I gathered up enough strength and determination to make the effort to get in an upright position again. I think I must have dozed off for a quick nap because by my reckoning after the event was over, I had been on the floor for almost two and a half hours.
From then on my life was a constant round of visits to doctors’ offices, a short visit to the E.R. and nurses’ visits to my house. And that’s the stage at which I’m trying to explain my absence from writing columns. In fact, my last visit from a nurse was this morning. She was a charming young lady who made me do some simple exercises and then helped me to feed my ducks who were most grateful. Anyway, that’s enough about me and my health problems. I don’t see any real improvement in that area. Let’s face it, I’m just too old.
Now, back to the ducks. During this down time the duck population has shrunk to about a dozen big, fat, lazy birds of all different plumage patterns. All through this cold weather I’ve see them mating, and so far only one of the “Gray Ladies” has established a nest amongst a mess of old tools and trash in a doorless shed attached to the back of the house. She has over a dozen eggs in there which I have been lucky enough to see when Momma Duck leaves the nest for exercise and water. If I can just keep the feral cats away from her, after the hatching, we may have the start of a whole new flock. I certainly hope so. It always makes me smile to see these beautiful creatures paddling around the lake and to know that some of them, at least, were born here, at Duck Depot.
Well, that’s about it for now but I will try to keep you informed about “goings on” at Duck Depot on a more regular basis. I do have some other news I want to share with you but this concerns my other passion. Dogs. So I’ll save that for next time. Until then, ‘Bye.
D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and their small dogs, live in Stockbridge.