October 29, 2014 – Well, I picked out my costume for the Halloween Hootenanny but I’m not saying what it is just yet. I’m laughing even thinking about it. We’re all wearing face masks that we’ll keep on until we’re recognized. I’m hoping my identity stays hidden until the very end. It’ll be more fun that way.
The excitement around here is palpable, but there’s an order of business that was left unattended until late this afternoon. Naming the new drakes. Mom was up at the bantam condo when I spotted her from my run. I flapped up the hill of the side yard to catch her before she went back inside.
“Mom! What about the new ducks! Do they have names yet? We don’t know what to call them.”
Mom was cleaning out a water container.
“I haven’t thought of anything yet. You know, these guys have gone their entire life without names. It’s a lot of pressure to think of something perfect.”
“How about I pull a meeting together with the boys and some of us hens and we’ll toss a few suggestions around. When we come up with something, we’ll run it by you for approval.”
Mom agreed that my idea was a dandy. I quickly whistled for the girls and pulled together an impromptu brainstorming session in the garage. We instructed the new ducks to each take a stool in front of us. We gave them paddles on which Violet had drawn a thumbs up and a thumbs down. Then the real magic began.
“What about George?” offered Emaline. Thumbs down.
“Alfred?” asked Addie. No takers.
“Oooh… what about Quacker Jack,” Peaches suggested. Thumbs down again.
Down the line we went, each of us taking a turn and tossing a name into the ring. Ephraim? Bill? Coconut? Eugene? Larry? Milton? Bean Curd? Nutmeg? Sir Duke? After every recommendation came the thumbs down paddle from both drakes.
Then the brown one on the left leaned forward and cleared his throat.
“These are all wonderful proposals,” he began earnestly, “but can I be frank?”
“YES!!!” We cheered, thankful that he had come up with the idea himself.
“No, I don’t mean the name Frank, I mean can I be sincere?”
“Don’t you like the name Frank,” Peaches asked dumbfounded.
He paused for a minute and let the word linger on his tongue. “Frank,” he repeated.
“Yes,” said Peaches. “Isn’t it a wonderful name? Frank can be your nickel name. Your full name can be Francis.”
“It’s called a nickname,” Lottie corrected gently, “and I agree with Peaches. Francis… as in Francis Drake the explorer!”
“And you’re a lovely color brown,” Sawyer added, “like the robe of a Franciscan monk.”
“And… it’s almost Halloween,” Violet gushed. “Frank is a great Halloween name. Just ask Frankenstein! (If you dare!)”
The one on the left was deep in contemplation. Finally, he raised his thumbs up paddle and declared, “Hello new family! My name is Francis Drake. You can call me Frank.”
Of course we cheered and swung each other around by the wings as we’re known to do when we’re delighted about something. We were having a grand time until Wilma blew her whistle.
“Alright Einsteins,” she drawled, “what about duck number 2?”
Duck number 2 was in the midst of a high-five with Peaches when Wilma put an end to the reverie.
“She’s right,” Kellie Pickler said softly – (she being shy and all). “Drake on the Right deserves a name, also.”
We were about to reboot the brainstorming session, when the duck in question interrupted.
“I have an idea,” he said timidly. “While we’ve been temporarily housed in the garage, I’ve had a chance to look around. There’s a box over there that seems to have a few odds and ends in it. I think it used to be a case for spirits. I like the name on the front. It’s strong and sounds handsome. I’d like to ask for your consideration in choosing it for me.”
Wow. These ducks are so polite. Drake on the Right could have picked the name, Duckwad Fiddlesticks, and I’d have given him my blessing.
“What name are you thinking of?” asked Sawyer.
The drake took a breath, ready to say his name for the first time out loud.
“Like the whiskey?!” Wilma chuckled.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Well I think it’s a superb name!” she said. “Especially since our family is in the potent potables beverage business. Welcome to the family, Jameson!”
We too, thought it was a splendid name for the rugged brown duck with the green head. Waffles cranked up the music and we celebrated by laughing and dancing freestyle for the next several minutes. Those drakes are sure smooth on their feet.
Once everything settled down, I went looking for Mom and filled her in.
“The boys like them?” she wanted to know.
“The boys LOVE THEM!” I replied. “Francis asked to be Frank, and Jameson evidently is a connoisseur of whiskey boxes. The names fit them perfectly!”
“That’s all I needed to know,” she smiled. “Thanks, Hap for being so welcoming. It’s nice to be part of a big family, isn’t it?”
“I could make a few cuts to payroll,” I chuckled.
“The cat stays,” Mom said in her mom voice.
I heard her loud and clear. She joined the celebration by bringing us a bowl of snacks to share. I invited her to Friday’s shindig. She thanked me with a grin and said that she’ll be manning the people door for trick or treaters but for us to have a smashing good time. Oh, we will. Tim and Bo just finished building the pumpkin catapult.