October 8, 2014 – The ladies and I were chatting during a worm hunting expedition in the herb garden.
“It’s almost Halloween,” I uttered nonchalantly.
“We should dress up this year,” said Charlotte.
“I’m surprised at you, Lottie,” I replied to the prim and proper Orpington. “You typically don’t go in for such frivolity.”
“I suppose a dash of good-natured fun would keep my reputation untainted,” she laughed.
“We can celebrate the end of molting season,” I suggested. “I think we’ll all be done by then. If not, the costumes will hide the fact.”
“Isn’t the whole idea to celebrate our new and improved look,” Sawyer countered. “Why would we want to cover up our spectacular plumage with a cape or face mask?”
“She has a point,” ticked Addie. “Perhaps a fancy autumn ball might be more appropriate.”
A thousand costume ideas had already flashed through my mind when Addie suggested canning the idea and dressing up in diamonds and pearls instead.
“I like the idea of Halloween,” said Peaches. “It reminds me of a joke I heard… How does a witch tell time? With a witch watch!”
“That’s hilarious,” Wilma snarled sarcastically, “though it brought to mind the one about the traffic sign: Watch for Kids. That sounds like a fair trade.”
We were laughing and ribbing each other when around from the rosebush came three waddling ghosts booing and waving their arms within inches of our bodies. Lottie screamed, igniting pandemonium. As the ghosts loomed closer, bellowing and carrying on as if they were trying to suck the very essence out of us, the hen cackling became ear-piercing. Wings and feathers entangled midair leaving wind abrasions in their wake. Emaline knocked me to the ground trying to hide behind the last string bean whose bony vine dangled forgotten on the trellis.
“GRAB THE MUSKETS!” Wilma bellowed from her knees.
“We don’t have muskets!” Sawyer answered over the fracas.
“THEN HAND ME A FRYING PAN!” she ordered.
Poor Betty was whimpering behind a small garden statue of a lady bug. Peaches and Waffles were nowhere to be seen.
I too, was preparing to combat the ghouls. I gathered a wingful of pebbles from the dirt beneath me and tried to steady my nerves enough to reach the spectral targets.
Then, just like that, the booing ended with the ghost in the middle excitedly remarking, “I think I found a sweet pea!”
Immediately, the shadowy forms folded in half and bills emerged from under the white draping.
“It’s merely the ducks!” I announced, rolling onto my back to catch my breath. “We’re not going to die.”
“Oh, somebody’s going to die, alright!” Wilma barked. She lowered her head and began a round of assault pecks into the tails of the drake trio. She was sincerely perturbed when not one of her pecks penetrated the thick layering of feathers and down that insulated the water fowl from inclement weather and angry biddies. At one point, Eustace felt the weight of Wilma’s body against him. He turned and blew a sweet pea smack dab in the middle of her head. It was hilarious!
There’s still no decision on how we will celebrate the end of molting, Halloween or the harvest season. One thing is for sure, the ducks will be well monitored during any and all festivities. I can’t make up my mind if they are rascals or hooligans. Perhaps an investigation is in order. I’ll add it to my list.