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BRODY: The ill-mannered ducks

“Hey, you! Stop that! Stop that this very minute!”

I was shouting, flapping my arms back and forth, and running as fast as I could along the water’s edge.

Of course, the duck paid absolutely no attention to me except to conclude that I definitely had a major screw loose.

I hate to be ignored, especially by a bunch of ducks who have no manners or no shame.

I picked up a handful of pebbles and pelted them. I would do anything to stop the violence going on right in front of us.

Admittedly, I have a problem with violence and even with anger. I break out in a cold sweat if someone even raises a voice at me, which is why I love Forest Park, a beautiful safe park in the middle of St. Louis, Missouri.

All the birds, ducks and squirrels were there to enjoy the lovely lake.

There were nice stone benches where you could read, watch the kids play and feed the animals.

My life at that time was hectic to say the least.

Raising four kids alone in a huge house required that I work six days a week. Therefore, on Sunday after church, I usually took the kids to see the critters in peace and easy laughter at Forest Park.

You can imagine my reaction upon witnessing pure violence going on in the lake. Even the pebbles did not stop what was happening.

Basically, it looked like a gang fight of ducks.

Some of the ducks were yelling their brains out while others were determined to drown the rest of them in front of my very eyes and in front of my kids.

I surmised there was a big duck chasing the smaller ducks. When they caught one they did the most ghastly thing: they held the poor little duck’s head under the water obviously trying to drown her.

It was just too much for me.

I, once again, bombed the big duck bully with pebbles and started my chant, “Stop this. Stop this. Stop this.”

I looked around me. You know what? There were other people there — moms, dads, kids — and not one of them was slightly bit upset watching homicide right in front of us. I yelled, “Can’t someone stop these murderers? Maybe if a lot of us threw stones at them they’d stop.”

They looked at me and smiled never breaking the flow of conversation.

“Well,” I stammered, “It’s no wonder the world is so violent.”

I mean, if all these people can watch this anger and never even leave their train of thought, it is no wonder there are wars, gang fights and senseless killings.

I knew what I had to do.

We needed a park security person. After all, they are paid by the U.S. government to maintain order and safety.

Muttering to myself I went stomping off, four kids struggling to keep up with a momma that’s gone wacko.

We soon found such a person cruising slowly in his car.

“Listen,” I said totally out of breath. “Listen. You have got to come to the lake now. The ducks are fighting and drowning each other. You have never heard such screaming and cackling.”

He smiled as he gestured for us to get into his car and he said, “We’ll go and take a look.”

As soon as we arrived back at the lake, we jumped out of his car.

“See! See! Listen to the terrible scream. I just can’t stand violence of any kind,” I said.

And the security person walked to the waters edge and then smiled and said, “Is this what you’re talking about lady?”

“Well, yes it is, of course it is. Can’t you stop it?”

The more upset I became the broader the man smiled.

“I don’t think we need to worry about what is going on here. They are —um — not trying to kill each other they are — um — making baby ducks.”

He rocked back on his heels proud as a peacock while I was aghast.

“What?” I said. “I never heard of such a thing!”

“Well,” he answered. “Don’t you feel sorry one bit about these ducks. They have their rituals. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. So, it must be OK.”

The park man left in his car shaking his head a smile on his face.

I felt like a complete fool.

Looking at my kids, they had already forgotten all about it and I was prepared to do the same. Suddenly, this absolutely huge duck nailed a pretty little duck by grabbing hold of a mouth full of her feathers and then held her head completely under water.

I tried to ignore it, but time ticked by and she was struggling by them, and well, I lost it again.

“I hate your duck game. You’re hurting her! She did not do anything to make you want to drown her. You are a big bully!”

I picked up a hand full of pebbles and peppered them.

It didn’t hurt anyone but it did break his train of thought.

The big bully duck gave me a look like, “Don’t you have anything else to do?”

I put my four children in our car and I went home.

At least there were no bully ducks trying to kill them or each other.

I guess I truly don’t get it.


Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.