With Congress – every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.
–Will Rogers

I don’t know who comes up with these “holidays,” but February 6 is LAME DUCK DAY, which might just as well be called LAME JOKE DAY because it recognizes incumbent politicians (and other potentates) whose term in power will soon expire. Now you may reason from the above quote that, like me, Will Rogers would think honoring Lame Ducks is a lame joke. But he also famously said he never met a man he didn’t like….and I assume he’d already met at least a few politicians when he said it. So, as much as I respect Mr. Rogers, we’re probably not in the same neighborhood on the subject of lame ducks. But that’s an easy fix — let’s change the subject. Let’s talk about healthy ducks.

As it happens, since I was a boy, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for ducks. I’ve had several as pets, the last of which was named Gussie. Gussie not only wasn’t lame, she wasn’t fussy….but she did have one thing in common with politicians: she laid many an egg during her tenure and never let it faze her. So here’s to Gussie and her Pekin predecessors, who inspired this poem I wrote many years ago (slightly updated):


Lord love a duck
And so do I….
If you were me,
That’s what I’d buy.

But since you’re not
Myself today,
Let me put it
To you this way:

From wee duckling,
Downy yellow,
He’ll fast become
White big fellow….

Unless, of course,
He lays an egg —
In which case, you’ll
Her pardon, beg.

Oh, by the way,
Friend, if you please,
I hope that you
Speak Pekin-ese.

But seriously,
Folks, as they say,
That’s enough wise
Quacks for today.

You can search the Web,
Even ask a vet —
You won’t find a
Better pet.

They’ll stay outdoors
In weather fowl,
And not want in
Or bark or howl.

Their needs are few,
As pet needs go —
A cache of feed….
Some H2O.

And, best of all,
A place to swim:
No better treat
For her or him.

Before you know it,
To me you’ll say,
“Friend, have you hugged
A duck today?”