Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Litany of the Duck

My Grammy used to say, “Don't dig up old bones.”
One way to make yourself or someone else completely miserable and even ruin a relationship is to dig up some old bones. I am not talking about Archeology; I am talking about keeping track of wrongdoing.

When we can't let something go, we cannot move on ourselves. We miss the things around us, by cluttering our view with malice and discord.

Forgiveness is very important, especially when we are trying to move on. As I have said in other posts, I am not a saint - in fact, I would argue I am 180 degrees from sainthood, and moving rapidly away from that direction. Besides there is already a Saint Thomas and I don't want to encroach on that territory. 

This being said I have not only made terrible mistakes,but I have kept a record of wrong. Making mistakes is part of growing, and learning - we all make mistakes, because we are all growing and learning. When you keep a record of wrong, and you can't move on - you stop the growing process.

When I moved my family up to the Pacific Northwest - to pursue a job that actually fell through - we ended up sleeping on the living room floor at my parent’s house. Now my oldest son at that time was eleven years old, and my second son was 9. 

One day my two boys were playing out in the backyard kicking a ball between them, when my father came out and started yelling at my oldest son, because he kicked over a duck.

This duck was a dirty, old, plastic, lawn ornament that sat in the back yard in some ivy. My son told my father that he did not kick over the duck, but my father insisted and told him that he needed to pick up the duck. My son picked up the duck and made it sit correctly in the ivy patch. 

Let me clarify, nothing happened to the duck, it was not in any way injured or broken, it was just laying on its side, and all it needed was to be stood up: No damage whatsoever. The damage came from my father’s perspective on how the ugly plastic duck was wronged.

My father and mother, however, could not reconcile the duck incident. Later that night started the “litany of the duck,” that would last for years. 

My parents would not let the bones of the “duck” be buried, and even after my father's passing - in our family - anytime someone belabors a subject - it is called “kicking over the duck.”

The point of the story was my son and my parents never had a good relationship after that, every time my son tried to get close, my parents would bring up the duck: After a while my son stopped trying. 

When my son and his wife had their first child, my father and mother didn’t even see their great grandchild for about six months; even then they didn't get a chance to hold him, and my son had no guilt over it, because he wasn't close to them. They could not move forward, and this caused him to not move forward either: broken relationship.

Remember time and relationships are lost because of scores we keep.

We all have ducks in our lives, we all have been accused of doing things we did not do and we all have bones that need to be buried. 


  1. You are so right. We all have ducks in our lives. This was a really great post. I can't believe that they would overreact so much about a little plastic toy!
    Forgiveness is definitely key.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you for reading my post, you are right, forgiveness is the key, but also let go of wrongs, or perceived wrongs done to you.

  2. Oh, yes, so true, this duck is learning to swim all by herself now. The waters are so much calmer now that there is a beautiful view in her pond. Great post

  3. Sigh, so true and such sad commentary on human relationships.

    1. You are right, a sad commentary for sure, but an object lesson from which we can learn. Thank you for the comment

    2. You are right, a sad commentary for sure, but an object lesson from which we can learn. Thank you for the comment