That reminds me - this delightful and touching story was told by a cousin at his mom's memorial service the week of New Year's Day. I just received it in today's email from his sister. I know you storytellers will appreciate it, and the talent of the writer (John Thompson):
John wanted to tell a story about mom putting up with 5 kids, dogs, a pony, a cat and a duck:
I was about 11 years old and one Spring morning I was out in the garage cleaning out the martin house. I took the top off and started pulling out the nest on top. A baby wood duck jumped out of the bottom of the house and ran around the garage. I caught it and put it in a box.
Mom told me to let it go, but I said it didn't have a mother. She finally let me keep it, but only in the garage, and take care of it out there. I made a box like a rabbit hutch and tried to take care of it. The duck wouldn't eat much and took a turn for the worst.
I got mom to let me bring it in the house. She got a small lightbulb and an eye dropper and showed me how to feed it.
After a few days the duckling started getting stronger and the next morning the duck was in the water bowl peeping and splashing water all over the place. Dorothy (mom) told me "to get that duck out of the house!" Well, that duck stayed in the house for about three more weeks. In the morning, at sunrise, it would come out of its nest, scratch at the screen, peep and make a mess. Dorothy scolded that duck up and down.
It got warmer out. I made a pen for "Herbie," as mom started calling him, outside. A few nights went by and then one night herbie started making all kinds of noise. Dorothy went down to check it out and found a skunk trying to get him. She started throwing things at it - the skunk sprayed, but missed her. That was one lucky skunk! If he would have got her we would have had skunk and duck for dinner. Just guess who would have been cleaning and eating skunk!
We kept Herbie safe all summer and into the Fall and then Herbie wanted to take flight. She told me to let him go, I said, "No, he might get shot!"
About a week later, dad was reading the paper. There was an article about a goose and duck refuge up in the Twin Cities. Well, the family took a road trip to the refuge. I let Herbie go and he went wild. First he chased the geese around, then the big ducks, then the little ducks. After a while he settled down and all the fowl gave Herbie respect. I said, "Hey, mom, we got rid of the duck. " When I turned around, big, tough Dorothy was crying her eyes out. She said, "He's so happy."
Well, mom - I hope you find the same kind of place. I'm sure you have. By the way, Herbie was a hen - we should have named her 'Little Dort.'
The next few years when I was outside in the Spring I think I saw that wood duck circling the house.
Mom, don't chase everyone around in heaven. They know you already and I'm sure they're happy you're finally home.