Trust me, the title is deceiving. Today’s post does have to do with writing. More specifically it has to do with storytelling. You know the ones. The stories told around the campfire if you’re a camping type of family. The fuel for holiday get-together discussions, you know… if you actually like your family get-togethers. For our family, there are a few. Ironically very few that dive into the fantastical. At least as far as I’m concerned.
Our tale for today centers around the launch of season three of Duck Dynasty on A&E. Not because I’ve been watching this show for three years, but more due to my father making us watch the show at one of our recent holiday gatherings. He doesn’t see the irony in it as the rest of us have been giving him duck related merchandise for decades. We truly believe that the duck is my father’s spirit guide.
The start of it happened when at a national convention for the JayCees, a group my father has been a member of since his early days. Otherwise known as before I was born. Yes, that long ago. But this is a more recent tale. While at this convention in California, they went on a day trip around town and passed through Chinatown. Seeing a duck – head and all – roast and hanging in the window, my father picked one up with a couple cans of sardines and they placed it on a tray with the sardines ringing the duck. As a joke.
Now what happened didn’t surprise me, but it threw him for a loop. The people in the hospitality room where they plated and presented the duck ate it. All of it. And its little sardines, too. That began my father’s road as “the duck guy.” But it wasn’t the final nail in the deal. That came later.
While spending his time as the facilities manager for a number of buildings around the county, there was a large remodeling project going on. This project threatened to displace a nest of ducks that had taken refuge in the bushes around the city-county building. Downtown Madison is on the isthmus between two large lakes, so it isn’t as odd as it sounds that these ducks took roost here.
With the growing concern for the safety and well-being of the water fowl friends on the block, my father’s hand was forced and he had to put out an update about the ducks. So he typed up a full length email about the duck nest and what their plans were to make sure the creatures were safe during the construction. Without getting into to much of the tech behind it, let’s just say he did that year’s version of a “send to all” on the network. For the county system. All buildings around the county. Remember that.
Now for my author friends, blogger friends or really anyone who has learned a system for typing, what vowel is on the keyboard next to the U? Once you’ve answered this, you will have an idea about the punch line of the story. So it took him all of a couple of minutes after sending before he noticed he had sent out a mass email about the “dick nest” on the block. In the time it took for him to remove the email and work on retyping it he tells me he saw a couple dozen replies. Every one of them with some smart assed comment asking where they could find that nest.
Now I’m pretty sure I’m safe on this one as the statute of limitations is past. Also the story made it into the humor section of the local paper. Also, I was the helpful one that pointed out to my father that it could have been worse. I simply told him to look at his keyboard and notice what consonant was next to the D on it.
So was born the tradition of getting my father duck related gifts at every birthday, Christmas, etc. I mean we even bought him a rubber ducky floating tea infuser. He doesn’t drink tea. My mother does though.
And even though it was fitting that Duck Dynasty (one of his current favorite shows) was opening a new season on his birthday, we had plans to go downtown and see a band with a club member in it for a potential show at Festa Italia this year. We did however give him a Steampunk Duck book (kids book) from TeslaCon this year and a copy of the Duck Commander Family book. If they had them in stock, we likely would have also gotten him an Uncle Si bobblehead.
Storytelling isn’t just the common day version of the oral tradition. It isn’t the only thing that I feel brings families together and keeps our relationships strong. It’s also the tradition of gift giving. Nobody ever knows what to get my father. He’s 71 years old now. Needs (though needs as gifts isn’t a thing for me) are not an issue. We have created a tradition we can all have fun with. And he has a host of things in his office (my childhood bedroom) that reminds him of his family and the celebrations over the years.
For me it is a collection of gift cards, which are special in their own way. I’ve gotten Barnes & Noble cards, which allow me to keep my Nook stocked with books. With me now doing reviews and blurbs that’s not as much an issue, but some day I will likely need to replace the device itself. I’ve seen iTunes cards to stock up my collection of music for the playlists I make for each novel. And the most recent was a gift card to the local coffee shop that I go to most mornings for writing before work. It’s probably like the second one Patrick has ever given out, but it tells me that they know me and listen to what I am doing and support me in it.
Even if it is a gift card, the thought and the intent behind it is the real gift. It’s the same energy that infuses a good story that can be shared for years to come. At least those family type stories. Monsters, Magic and Maulings… well, that’s an entire other situation.