It’s another sign of spring when the chicks and ducks appear at Tractor Supply.
My daughter was there this weekend, and she came home with pictures, and the following conversation(though it was largely one-sided):
Ducks! Don’t you want a duck?
Let’s get a duck!
They’re only five bucks.
Look, I liked this one right here.
Let’s get a duck.
I could name him Duck.
I know you really want one, I can see it in your eyes.
(No, I really do NOT want a duck. I know that’s what you see in my eyes.)
This conversation was in jest- after all, my daughter knows me well from the many variations of the exchange we have had through the years. It all started when she begged and begged for a cat. She’s had her cat for more than 10 years now, and a few years ago talked me into a second cat. She said it was for me, but I know who really wanted it.
She’s tried to talk me into various breeds of dogs (German shepherd, greyhound, huskie, and blue heeler, to name a few), but had to claim my sister’s dogs as hers when I wouldn’t get her one of her own. (Two dachshunds- Oscar Meyer and Jimmie Dean- my sister says they look for her on the weekends when she isn’t there- how do they know it’s Friday?)
There have been requests for lizards, birds, cornsnakes, ferrets, and rabbits, all without success. She brought home two hermit crabs from a trip to Myrtle Beach with a friend, and they lived with us for several years- we had an elaborate funeral for the first one that died, complete with eulogy and a cross to mark the grave. There have been quite a few goldfish and betta fish, with imaginative names like Ginger and Snap (goldfish- sadly, Snap just died this week) and Majesty (blue betta with a truly majestic tail).
What happened to one goldfish put me on the worst mother list there for awhile. He lived in one of those small plastic aquariums with another goldfish. The cat was quite fascinated with the fish and was always batting at the aquarium trying to get one. One day we came home to a tragic sight. The aquarium had toppled to the floor. It appeared both fish were goners. I was frantically trying to clean up the mess (it was new carpet!) and told my daughter to bring towels and tissues from the bathroom. I wrapped the fish in tissue and instructed her to go flush them, lamenting their fate and promising to get more. While I was sopping up the water and cleaning up the aquarium rock (how could something light enough for the cat to knock over spread so much?!) I heard a voice- “I c-c-can’t flush them!” I shouted back, “Just flush them!” After several repetitions of this, I finally heard a flush, and then sobs. My daughter comes in, stands right beside me until I look up at her, and says, with a quivering chin, “One of them was still swimming!” I should have known she would unwrap the fish before dropping them into their watery grave!
The other animals in her life have been much, much larger. She has had a pony, a buckskin, a paint, and now a bay quarter horse (they have all lived at my sister’s place). She rode her buckskin and bay in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. (Link shows a demonstration of this sport.)
Although I was the meanie who perpetated the murder of a goldfish and said NO to so many animals, I am glad she has had animals in her life. She identifies herself as an animal lover. She has developed greater compassion, confidence, and responsibility through her love of animals.
I wonder what animals she will have when she is the one making the decisions…