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Possumhaw: Time is not on your side


Shannon Bardwell



It was one of those odd days when plans went awry and I found myself hanging. "All dressed up and no place to go," as they say. Last minute the meeting was canceled, and I'm not good at regrouping. While spinning around near the kitchen window I noticed the two "peeps" had wandered down near the house. I exchanged my meeting shoes for black rubber boots and grabbed the kitchen broom. I found the ducks feeding under the bird feeders.  


I swooshed them back to the lake with the broom. We arrived at the lake to see Leah, the older duck, sitting on her floating platform protecting two eggs. This was a bit unusual, as she usually abandons the eggs and we find them all over the fields as well as perched on top of the overturned jon boat.  


Leah left her charges and came to the bank, where the three ducks fed together on chopped corn. Leah was born with one eye mostly closed, and lately it had closed completely. I was saddened, for now she was older, slower and blind in one eye; for a duck that can't fly this could mean disaster. Finished with the corn, the ducks swam out and waited for the ritual casting of white bread. I noticed the peeps could easily snitch Leah's bread so I cast near her good eye. There was a tube of antibacterial ointment in the cabin. 


From the side of Leah's closed eye I wrapped my arm around her and held her close. She protested only half a second. I wiped the ointment on her eye, released her, and she went her way. I noticed later the label on the ointment said: "External use only. Do not use on eyes." It didn't say anything about duck eyes, and I thought she looked more comfortable. She swam off between the peeps, and I was thankful she had them. She did not return to the eggs. 


The rabbit pens needed raking, but I was already dressed for my intended day except for the rubber boots. Ironing was unappealing, and I had already washed. I answered my email correspondence and looked at a large stack of reading material that I needed to work through. "Writers are readers," but at that moment even reading didn't sound good.  


Sitting at my computer, I decided to update my email profile with a 25-year-old photograph. I thought the picture looked pretty much like me even though a lot of water has passed under that bridge. With time on my hands, I decided to take a "selfie" and compare, though I had previously sworn off selfies.  


I played with some smiles and some hair changes then took my plastic hairclips and clipped my cheeks back to my ears. Better! 


The moral of the story is, it's not good to have too much time on your hands.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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