From the Santa Fe New Mexican: I Loved a Duck


Reader View: True confession — I loved a duck

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013 11:00 pm

By Susan Aylward

In the community I live and love, there is currently a dispute. One side is hen owners (some for decades) and their supporters.

On the other side are those who contend that having hens doesn’t meet the strict interpretation of the rules and threatened our Eldorado Community Improvement Association board with legal action if the board didn’t follow their strict interpretation of the rules. Now, ECIA is suing some homeowners.

The question ECIA has put before the court is, can hens be “recognized pets?”

I don’t have hens. I’ve never known any hens. I’ve wondered and asked around, can a hen be a pet? Many people’s reaction is, you’ve got to be kidding me. I was unsure, until one day I connected this issue with a powerful childhood memory.

His name was Chippy. I got him for Easter one year, when we lived in the Sunnyside Apartments. Previously, the only other pet I had was a goldfish who hopped out of his bowl regularly from a height of 6 feet. In the morning, Mom would scoop him off the rug and plop him back in the bowl. I loved kittens dearly, but because of my mother’s fearful memories of waking up in her stern grandmother’s bed filled with cats, that was never an option.

Easter was always wonderful because of my mother, who made huge baskets filled with chocolate eggs, Peeps, jellybeans and a tall, solid chocolate bunny in the center. The goodies were nestled in green plastic grass, and the whole basket was wrapped tightly with colorful cellophane, wrapped on top into a bow. It was magical to gently pry it open and pop in a solid chocolate egg at 6 a.m.

When I was 7 or 8, Easter morning was even more memorable. Before I could scout for my basket, I heard a tiny “cheep, cheep.” As I walked into the kitchen, I saw a large brown box near the patio door. Inside was the tiniest, fluffiest yellow duckling, the most adorable thing I had ever seen. Mom, in her robe and slippers, gingerly scooped up the fuzzy tot and placed him into my arms. Newspaper was spread on the floor so he could putt-putt about, waddling from lap to lap, petting hands covering his little frame.

When his feathers turned white and his size quadrupled, we took him to “Old MacDonald’s Farm” to live. I know that when you’re told your pet is going to live at a farm, that usually isn’t what’s happening. But in this case, it was an actual place we would visit.

Which lead me to is this confession: I have loved a duck. Because of that, I believe it is possible to love a hen.

Susan Aylward is a local writer who blogs prose, poetry and pictures

Posted in  on Saturday, July 6, 2013 11:00 pm.


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