April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Duck Ponderings: Pondering the duck name

Editor's Note: This column previously appeared in the Hope Star-Journal newspaper.

Before writing monthly for The Hope Star-Journal, I needed to come up with a title for my column. Initially, I was considering Pivotal Moments In Life, Defining Moments In Life, or Life Changing Moments.

After kicking these ideas around with my wife, we decided it might be better to incorporate my nickname due to it being such an integral part of my life and teaching career. Thus, together we settled on Duck Ponderings. A friend asked how I determined the title which made me realize that not all readers are aware Duck is my nickname. Thus, I thought it might be good to explain the history.

I was at a party enjoying Donald Duck Orange Juice. A friend, Alan Taylor, came up to me while looking at my can and said "Duck." Since that day in my early twenties, Duck has been my nickname. There are many who only know me by Duck. While playing sports, I would seldom hear my real name from teammates or from those we were competing against.

Eventually, I started sharing the story with my fifth grade students. Each school year, we would be known as the Ducks. There would be lessons discussing the flight of ducks and stressing the importance of flying together throughout the year. After watching certain segments of The Mighty Ducks movies, we would discuss topics like the importance of our names and our hometowns.

I would get drawings of ducks as well as purchased ducks with most coming during my birthday in October, Christmastime, and at the end of each school year. At times, I politely turned down offers of live ducks even though I am aware of a few local farm ducks referred to as Mr. Webster. When retiring after teaching for thirty-six years, I received even more ducks! It was quite a challenge to find a good place in our home for probably one of the largest and best collections as well as some of the most original drawings of ducks in the world.

As I grow older, I fondly remember teammates congratulating me while referring to me as Duck. But, I mostly think a lot about the smiles of students handing me unique pictures of ducks or carefully selected ducks from stores. While concluding this article, I am smiling and will forever be grateful for each of those special moments![[In-content Ad]]