Huey, Dewy, and Louie
By Margie Bailey Rose
The only animals I really like are rabbits– very little trouble, no noise, they provide excellent fertilizer for the garden, and you can eat them. What's not to like? My children, not having my practical nature, were susceptible to every animal that crossed their paths and begged to bring them home. I must have been a pushover because we had everything with wings, fins, or four legs. Wait a minute. Snakes and spiders don't fit that. Oh well.
On a trip to the pet store for guinea pig food, my boys strayed from my sight and came back with three cuddly baby ducks cupped in their hands and the usual pleading looks on their sweet faces. Could they have them please, please, please? They would feed them and take care of them, blah, blah, blah. and I fell for it once again.
The ducks were named Huey, Dewy, and Louie, and the kids spent every spare minute with them for oh– about three days. Then, as usual, the care was up to me unless I wanted to yell myself hoarse at my sweet-faced beggars. I had a talk with the ducklings, and they agreed to eat all the slugs in my yard when they grew up if I wouldn't wring their necks on the spot. At least I thought they were agreeing; they nodded their bills. Maybe because they were young, and had no mothers to teach them such things, they didn't know what a slug was. They hated slugs. I put them in their mouths and they spit them out. Over and over again, they spit them out. The ducks liked worms, and more than anything they loved to eat tadpoles. No help to me there, but at least the boys took more interest in feeding them. They filled the wading pool with water and brought buckets of murky water containing frog eggs from the swamp across the street from our house. When the eggs hatched, the kids put the ducks and a few tadpoles in the pool several times a day to show off their diving skills. Our yard was a circus for months. When there were no more tadpoles, the kids threw in worms. They tried to teach the ducks other tricks, but diving was all they did well. (I didn't tell the kids that diving for food is not really a trick for ducks.)
When fall came and the kids went back to school I convinced my family we should take the ducks to my parents' house so Huey, Dewy, and Louie could grow old on a real farm. (Can't you hear the violins?) My dad said they would be great food for the coyotes and foxes during the winter, which I, needless to say, did not share with the children. The ducks did disappear during the winter, and I suggested they must have flown away. My dad snorted, but for once, said nothing.