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A miracle for Easter

Easter 1975 - My older brother and I awoke early to find two humongous Easter troughs filled to the brims with candies in every color of the pastel rainbow. On top of that, five bites into a feeding frenzy, we heard an odd peeping noise.

Nearby, a cardboard box held the two most fragile, delicate, decidedly doomed, fresh from the egg ducklings we had ever feasted our eyes upon. When we squealed with delight, they innocently echoed, and scrambled against the sides of the box in futile efforts to escape into our waiting arms.

As we watched with awe, we chewed chocolate malt balls. Then, my brother and I gently stroked their downy heads with the backs of our fingers.

Subsequently, we sprinted throughout the house announcing the good fortune that had befallen us this blessed Easter morning. Circling back through the living room, we each shoved six marshmallow Peeps, coated with sugar sprinkles, into our salivating mouths.

Over the loud noise of mastication, our charges called. So, we patted them firmly on their heads, several times, with the flats of our palms. Very quickly, and to our eager entertainment, the babies learned to reflexively retract their beaks into their chests when even the shadow of a hand passed over.

Next on the menu: three handfuls of jellybeans. Our pupils dilated like the eye of a hurricane, and we boldly collected up the ducklings and tightly snuggled their silky bodies in the crooks of our necks, snuffing them with affection. Their tiny breasts rose and fell with critical irregularity.

Before church, we crammed speckled Robin Eggs between our cheeks and gums and scampered off to impress in our angelic Easter best. After church, still in our whites, grass stained from the annual egg hunt, having barely survived an antsy hour corralled in a pew, we popped more jellybeans and ferociously devoured chocolate rabbits.

Then we crept to the carton where our treats trembled in the water dish, and scooped them up with chocolate covered fingers. Tucking the ducklings into the folds of our frocks, we tiptoed past my parents and out to the backyard. Yet, quickly growing bored watching the waddling waders wander amongst blades of grass, randomly pecking items of interest, we moved on to other thrills.

Each with a duck clutched in a fist, we ran to the horses' water barrel with our heads spinning in the wind. There, we swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam the water fowl, until neither bird paddled, sputtered, or lifted its head for a breath.

That's when my mother spotted us, red suckers dangling from our bottom lips and strawberry flavored froth oozing down our chins. She and my father investigated, finding us soaked, sitting in the mud, clasping limp balls of dander.

My daddy grabbed each duck and gingerly laid it on its back. With his index fingers on the chests of the plucky patients, he pumped water from their lungs. Continuing in this valiant procedure, he held their bills closed, put his mouth over their nostril holes and performed rescue breathing.

In seconds the mallards reluctantly returned from the welcomed banks of the river Styx, where they foresaw themselves safely swimming of their own volition through the ripples of eternity.

Standing next to the horse trough, our sleeves wet to the shoulders and our teeth rotting to the roots, my brother and I fully expected the lashing of a lifetime. But Easter is all about miracles. Fortunately, my parents paused to marvel that, despite our blood sugar, we didn't go absolutely Ozzy on the birds.

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Web posted on Thursday, April 13, 2006

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