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FRAMED DUCK copyAt a recent Toastmaster meeting it was pointed out that the lovely town that I live in has a relocation program for geese. Seriously, the Town of Oakville has a “Geese Relocation Program”. Forms are filled out, Town Staff gets involved and there are lots of rules and regulations on how to go about this. Apparently, there are people and businesses that actually make a living relocating geese. There were many suggestions that evening on “alternative” solutions (some included stuffing) and better ways to spend our tax dollars. I kept my mouth shut as the conversation brought to mind a couple of times that I ran afoul of some of our fine feathered friends.

While driving to work one day, along the QEW from Oakville to Burlington… a drive that in another world (one that would not include the always backed up QEW) would take 12 minutes, I was brought to a standstill just short of my exit. I could see the police vehicles across the full stretch of the highway and down the off ramp, lights flashing. This did not bode well. As always, I immediately got my patience in check, said a little prayer for whoever was involved in the certain crash, and thanked God once again that it was not me. Time does not fly by as you sit and wait these things out. I was able to make some calls to get things going at work as my car slowly crept forward onto the off ramp. “Ok, I’m on the ramp now and I don’t see any crash, so it must have been cleared away, I won’t be long now…
Are you freaking kidding me!?”
Needless, to say the person on the other end of the phone was a little taken aback at my break from protocol. There in front of me with a police vehicle on both sides and one behind was a family of ducks being escorted across the highway and down the ramp. When I relayed this information to my place of employment, they questioned the time of day being a “little early” for whatever I was on. After assuring them that I was clean and sober and disconnecting I called the local radio station to report the traffic situation. After they stopped laughing they put me on the air where I was able to give a waddle by very slow waddle report of the feathered convoy with the police escort for the next 20 minutes. Turns out that day must have been the day all the ducks decided to “get to the other side” because there were reports of these police encounters all day long. I’ll bet those police officers never thought they would be writing up duck reports when they graduated police academy.

Years ago when I was still making a living as a photographer I was sent on assignment to a farm in a rather remote area. I love shooting outdoors and was looking forward to the flower and fauna shots ahead of me. Appointments were always scheduled through head office in Toronto. Our assignment sheets would have the name, address, the nature of the shoot, specific things to look for, etc. If there was any kind of safety issue it was always noted big and bold and red. Farms in remote areas often have guard dogs, swamps or sink holes that can all be treacherous so I read my summary sheet carefully. Seeing no danger warnings I exited my vehicle and started to unload my equipment for the day from my trunk. These were the days before digital – nothing was small. As I draped myself with cameras, lights, lenses and tripods to trek into the site I felt a pain in my ankle. Thinking I had simply bumped into a stump or stone, I continued to take steps toward the doorway of the building. Again a pain at my ankle, again, again…both ankles were screaming out in agony now. I stumbled, but caught myself with visions of thousands of dollars worth of equipment crashing to the ground. The pain was excruciating. Something was hammering away at my ankles. There was a blur of activity as hands reached out to help me and I saw feathers floating in the air. Panicked voices…”You were supposed to wait in your car till we came and got you. We told the lady on the phone, make sure she stays in her car till we get there. She has to stay in the car, we have an attack duck. We’re so sorry. Let me take that. Here, we’ll help you inside”…
“Wait a minute, wait just one darn minute there, did you say you have…you have an attack what?”
“We have an attack duck.” “You have an attack duck. Of course you do. Who doesn’t have an attack DUCK?” After the trip to the emergency ward, the wrapping, the icing, the crutches and the prescribed pain killers I called my office. “Is there anything you forgot to tell me about that assignment today.” “No, you had all the information. I bet you had a great time, they had a really good sense of humour on the phone.”
“What do you mean?”
“They had us going trying to convince us that they had an ‘attack duck’. Can you imagine?” Well, as a matter of fact, City Girl, I can! I hung up and put my poor bruised and swollen ankles up on a pillow.

Duck, duck, goose…it’s all gone to the birds!

-30-

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