Monday, October 22, 2012

There's A Duck On My Foot!

A new friend of mine drew a duck for one of my APR challenges and she inspired me to draw some ducks myself. When I saw her cute mallard I remembered back many years ago, when I was in University. I had transferred from Carleton University in Ottawa to the University of Victoria in the summer of '91. (yes, I'm dating myself)

I decided I'd better get to know my new Alma Mater's grounds before I actually was required to navigate efficiently through the buildings and over the paths. Mom dropped me off early one morning about a week before classes started. I figured I'd spend the day getting to know the lay of the land, so to speak. The first thing I did was walk through to the quad which had a lovely fountain outside the library building. The local ducks used it as their watering hole. Conveniently, there were many backless benches for the students to use as a great place to have lunch. 

Fountain outside the UVic library where I fed the ducks.
Now, you should know, I'm a sucker for cute and begging waterfowl. Actually, any bird at all (but especially ducks and seagulls) will always share in anything I have to nibble on. The ducks were looking at me expectantly so I nipped into the building beside the library, I could see through all the glass windows that it had a plethora of vending machines. I paid for a bag of chips and went to find the always hungry ducks.

I sat on a bench and promptly opened the bag and just like a cat who responds to the electric can opener, I had a dozen ravenous quackers looking lovingly at my chip bag. I chose one of the few polite female ducks and threw her a chip. Well, it was like a cat on a mouse! A kuufuffle of feathers and quacking ensued so I threw a few more chips away from the fighting group, hoping to break it up. The ducks went wild! I was laughing, watching them go after the chips as I threw more. I decided if I wanted one or two of these chips I better have them now so I grabbed a few and stuffed them into my mouth. The ducks all watched me intently. 

Promptly and unbeknownst to me, an especially pushy male duck jumped up onto the back of my bench. I only discovered he was there when he bit my backside, trying to get my attention!! With a chip in my hand I turned to him, flabbergasted that a duck had just pinched my ass! A duck in the front of me then jumped up and stole the chip in my hand. I was then literally surrounded by pushy, hungry ducks!! There was one pair though, that were on the periphery of this blood thirsty group. They were polite and waited their turn so I started just throwing to them. Smartly, they moved around the outside of this duck circle, avoiding the onslaught of interlopers trying to grab their snack. My two polite ducks got the rest of the bag, I always reward politeness, lol.

Off I went to explore UVic for a few hours. I hadn't walked more that a few meters when I heard quacking. I turned around to see the same polite pair of ducks. I was being followed! It seems I had made friends because as I walked all around the property, the male and his mate tracked after me. When I went into a building they waited patiently until I emerged. Then they'd follow me doggedly to the next building! When lunch came I went into the cafeteria. They had a spectacular looking sandwich bar but I got the soup so I could have all the crackers I wanted with it (I asked first, lol). 

So, now I'm outside, after eating my soup, with 10 little cracker packages. My two friends were thrilled to bits when I opened all the packages, one by one, just for them! It so made me laugh to hear a duck try to quack "thank you" with a beak full of crackers! 

For the rest of the day my ducks happily followed me, even when I crossed the ring road to go to the bookstore. It was like I had my own posse or winged guard. The few students already milling around, getting books etc. thought it hilarious, my little entourage. 

Finally I was done for the day and stopped at a pay phone to call Mom who had agreed generously to pick me up whenever I was done (I didn't know the bus system yet either, lol). My feathered friends stopped and waited patiently for me. Over the phone I laughingly described my day to my mom. She didn't believe my story about Oliver & Mabel (my new duck friends. Hey, they needed names, how else would I call them??). I promptly put the phone down to Oliver, who obligingly sauntered up, got onto my foot and started quacking loudly into the receiver!! I could hear Mom's laughter over the phone line.

So that's my not so tall tale of my first day at UVic. Oh, you want to know what became of my sweet friends Oliver & Mabel?? They followed me for two years as I finished the degree I had started in Ottawa's Carleton University. It wasn't every day that they'd meet me at the cafeteria's entrance but at least twice a week my duck friends would appear and accompany around for a while before going for a swim in the fountain. Just call me the duck whisperer. It was kind of wonderful, actually and made me fall in love with ducks for life.

Here's my submission for this week's APR theme or "PAIRS". My homage to Oliver & Mable, my loyal little feathered friends.
Title: MRDucks

Remember, there's my BIG GIVEAWAY going on for the next week or so. Enter to win a copy of both Issue 1 & 2 of FEATURING magazine. Click Here to enter!! Looking for APR? Just click here to be taken to this week's challenge, "PAIRS". Scroll down to the end and enter your artwork. I can't wait to see!
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  1. the campus sounds quite idyllic with its lovely ducks... I remember mine as being pigeon central... not quite the same these lovely creatures ... great work ... they make such a lovely pair...xx

  2. I knew there was a reason why I liked you so much. I am a duck lover from way back. You might remember that I had two ducks that lived for 17 years and before them I had a mallard female who had been hit by a car (before I owned her). She had cost the original owners thousands of dollars to get a hip replacement and metal leg, we called her the million dollar duck and I had her for years too. Anyone who loves ducks is a winner in my books!! Your picture is beautiful, Mabel looks just like my Buffy, oh the memories.
    What a perfect pair and I love your story.

  3. oh, jenn, this is the best story ever! i love it - thanks for sharing it with us! and your drawing memorializes a special time in your life just swell :)

  4. Beautiful picture and a wonderful story to boot. How amazing that they latched themselves to you. I laughed aloud at the drake nipping your butt, lol. Brilliant! :0)

  5. Hahaha! I was so into your wonderful Duck story! I almost thought you were going to take them home! hahaha! I wonder if that even crossed your mind!? Thank you for sharing! I did not have wonderful friends like you when I was at my campus...

  6. Adorable story, Jenn! Every now and then, ducks find their way onto my front lawn just outside my home office's window. Usually it's at least one and every now and then, it's a momma with 6 or so toddlers trailing after her, much like Oliver and Mabel did with their "Momma."

    Quacked me up, you did.

    Much love,
    Ellen ♥ CardMonkey

  7. That is the best story! Critters are so smart. They can sense an animal lover from 60 paces. I knew there was a reason I liked you--LOL! ;)
    Lovely painting. We lived close to a lake growing up that always had mallards (Minnesota). They often picked different yards in the neighborhood to have their babies. We had a dog, so ours wasn't one of them. They are beautiful birds--especially the males with their shimmery heads. :)

  8. Wow..what a story..fabulous post..and gorgeous duck art..very beautiful..i love the way they are both gently gazing at the viewer...!and such beautifully sublime shading and soft textures...And the pale airy dreamy green backdrop of grass and flowers adds to it so much..wowness!Wonderful! i love ducks, so pretty!

    and wow..I can relate i too have been bitten..once as a child by a huge Canada Goose..boy it hurt!I wasn't sharing my lunch and it came near so I began to run chased me!I was just a wee scared me! Thanks for sharing your stories and adventures always!

  9. you are a born storyteller, Jenn!! I so enJOY the way you write and share. I've had some odd friends in my time, too. lately it's been a squirrel who seems all too happy to hang out when Gracie and I are walking. others, wisely, run and scoot up trees when people and dogs are about, but this one seems curious and friendly and as though he [or she?!] is happy to see us.
    great work, too, on your painting. wow!!!

  10. I really enjoyed your story Jenn...Oliver and Mable are adorable and they looks so calm and beautiful...I love your art it simply makes me smile and I keep looking at them in admiration :)

  11. Oh, wow! The feather work on your ducks is incredible. Blessings!

  12. Love the story, love the picture!

  13. Wow this is a really wonderful drawing, Jenn. And thank you for your very descriptive story of your duck friends. I am sorry I am so late to comment, I just posted my entry to this challenge today!


Please leave me a comment, I've sure missed hearing from you!


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