Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Incredibly balmy morning
for February in Philly, so I
drove to the Wissahickon Trail
for a walk.
An extraordinary public park.
Urban, though parts of it
would put you in mind of
Montana or someplace.
With the beautiful weather
I pushed a bit hard, especially
since I was coming off a cold.
At any rate, had to rest just
a bit, and found myself sharing
a bench in a dank hollow with
a large fellow and his rubber duck.
"Beautiful Morning" I exhaled.
He smiled and lifted the duck
as if it would reply. Put it down
Anyway, we sat there, this odd trio.
For some reason I felt no strangeness
But when I eventually rose to leave
he put a gentle hand on my arm.
Anyway, we were to walk together then.
He pantomimed the duck splashing
and then floating. So, we had to
settle the duck.
And I was needed for the task. Took all
of ten minutes to find the right pond, really
not more than a puddle.
At that point, I got firm but still friendly.
I laughed "Goodbye. Thank you for our
little walk. And goodbye Ducky Wucky also!"
With that he brightened a thousand watts!
Spoke his first words. "How...NAME?"
Through some serendipitous...something,
I had guessed its actual name.
He embraced me. Kissed me on the forehead.
All the while Ducky Wucky circled in a breezy
current of muddy water.
Well, I finally did extract from the pair.
Walked faster than I thought I could.
Somewhat. In the cautious city-way,
but excited too.
The weather had been a one-day
phenomenon, thus a couple of weeks before
I got back to the trail.
There I got chatting with a retired engineer
from GE. Wiry one. Glasses. Finally got round to
the large guy and his duck.
“Oh yeah, Jepp, his name. He stopped coming
because the duck died. Don’t ask me how
this happens. Just does.”
“There were days not that bad, where I could
have gotten back here?” I wondered.
"Don't worry about it. You and I will chip in
and I'll buy another. I’ll leave it on a bench,
and the word will get around through a network
of such people."
And sure enough it did! I met the large fellow
a score of odd-spaced times for the same ritual.
So so foolish, and yet I couldn't stop somehow.
Well, where’s the harm?
Lifts my day at any rate.
Maybe I’m the simple one after all.
By the way, my first time back, he held
up two fingers. So, Ducky Wucky Two!–-
the engineer’s input methinks.