Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Duck Rustlers of Benton Park

Winter is coming. Far too soon for me. Every winter, we see the Canada geese down by River des Peres, huddled up on the ground, trying to stay warm. I always want to gather them all up and bring them home until the deep freeze is over.

But where would we put 100-plus Canada geese? And how would we clean up after them? Still, I worry about them.

Makes me think of a winter some years back. We used to go to Benton Park every day and feed the ducks there. The ducks--maybe twelve in all--knew us and came running whenever they saw us. They lived at the park and hung out on the ponds, but there was no shelter for them, so when the temp dropped well below zero, I felt I had to do something for them.

I made calls. The city, which owned the park, was not at all concerned. I called the Humane Society--and I am not by any means a fan of theirs. They also refused to do anything.

I decided I would do it myself.

I convinced my father to "donate" his tool shed for a worthy cause and conned my mother into helping me go get the ducks. 

It was late, almost midnight, when we reached the park. We were bundled up against the cold in several layers of clothing. The ducks were not so fortunate. They could only huddle against each other on the cold, hard ground near the frozen pond.

"They're going to poop all over my seats," Mom worried aloud.

"Your seats are vinyl, Mom," I reminded her. "It'll wash off."

"I can see us on the local news," she said. "Duck rustlers at Benton Park. Tape at ten."

"They don't care about these ducks," I said. "I tried to get them to take care of them."

"They're city property."

"What are they going to do?" I asked as we carried some of the ducks up to the car. "Arrest us?"


I started to laugh. "Can't you see us being taken to lockup?"

"No," Mom groaned.

"That would be funny," I said. "I can imagine some big, hardened criminal asking, 'Hey, whaddya in for?' and us saying, 'Duck rustling.'"

"Yeah, that'll put us in a position of strength with the other inmates."

We were stopped then by the glare of a flashlight in our eyes. "What are you doing?" the police officer asked. 

"Saving ducks," I responded defiantly. 

He stepped forward for a closer look. "I should have know it was you," he said. "Nobody else would be crazy enough to come down here on a night like this to rescue a bunch of ducks."

"Are we busted?" I wanted to know.

He looked offended. "You have to be kidding. I'd be laughed out of the precinct."

"I know the feeling," Mom mumbled, picking up another duck.

The ducks thought it was a big deal. That was all that mattered. 


  1. Just wait until the polarity of the earth shifts...then you'll see some interesting bird migration. You'll also have to follow your compass in reverse.

  2. Sounds like you've got the world's best parents.

  3. William: Don't say it!

    Mike: You must have seen the same program I saw in the History Channel.

    Karla: They were.


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