It’s Not Just About the Ducks

I can still remember walking through the grass, partial loaf of bread in hand, scanning the pond for ducks. As a kid my grandfather took me regularly to feed the ducks at the nearby park or at the duck pond on base. I can recall like it was yesterday, tearing off pieces from the slice of bread, rolling them into little balls, and tossing them into the water. It was something special to do when I was a kid, but now I realize, it wasn’t just about the ducks. 

My grandfather wasn’t yet old and gray. Driving me to the park and strolling around while we were there was easy for him, and as a little girl I never imagined that it wouldn’t always be that way. It isn’t that way now. While I’m fortunate to still have my grandfather in my life, and my children are lucky to spend time each weekend with their great-grandfather, the simple things are no longer so simple for him, and a part of me wishes I could go back to what was such a simple and care-free time. I’ve never forgot the scene from “Peggy Sue Got Married” when Kathleen Turner, who has traveled back in time and is a teenager again, answers the phone and hears the voice of her grandmother, alive and well. Her reaction always stuck with me, and it’s really one of the only scenes I even remember from the movie. Watching that movie as an adult, I think of what a gift it would be to go back and see loved ones who’ve been lost or those who are now not as they once were.   

I now take my children to the same duck pond I visited as a child, and it’s not about the ducks, not for me anyway. At this point in their lives, my kids enjoy crumbling up the left-over bread and tossing it to the ducks. We walk the park listening to the quacking and chirping and rustling of the leaves, and it’s a trip down memory lane, and the creation of future lanes for them. I hope later when they reminisce about their days spent feeding the ducks they realize it wasn’t just about the ducks, not even close.