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Gates and the Duck Ball

moo's picture

By (moo) -


My 4 year old grandson Gates has keen powers of observation which sometimes lead to a correct but faulty translation on the part of the listener. A classic example of this occurred recently, following his very first duck hunt. I might add that this event took place one day after his 4th birthday.

Following our hunt, it was time to clean the birds and Gates was mainly an observer. He was assigned the task of plucking a few feathers from the duck's breast, prior to my surgical removal of the meat portion. While I plucked my nine, he removed 6 or 8 feathers from his and announced, "I can't do it!" So, I put him up on the cleaning table and began explaining what was going on, as I began to extract the breast fillets. He was not at all squeamish about it and told me he was going to be a surgeon like his Grandaddy (his other one) when he grows up. The first bird, a fine drake mallard, had a pellet just under the skin and I extracted the #2 and told Gates how this little pellet had killed the duck. He rolled it around in his little palm and examined it closely before it fell into a leaf pile and was lost. I put the breast meat into a bowl and told Gates that we would later wrap this meat in bacon and cook it on our grill. From that point on, he referred to this bowl as a "duck bowl."

The next bird was a hen mallard and I explained to him how they lay eggs and care for the ducklings, so we don't shoot many of them. As I carefully carved, I launched into a very detailed account on duck conservation and I'm sure that most of it went over his head. But, I reasoned, you can never start them too young on this important concept. Her breasts also went into the "duck bowl" and would make a succulent and festive feast for us to enjoy at a later time. He was excited to find another pellet in the next drake we cleaned and wanted to go show "Emmy." Off he went to show his prize and I was left to finish the job, as he never returned to the task. I'm sure that I had thoroughly exhausted his attention span.

The following day, I got a call from my daughter and she wanted to know what in the world a duck ball was. I told her that he probably meant a bowl to put the breasts in as this is what he called it when we cleaned our ducks. She told me that Gates was going to show his father how to clean the ducks he had just brought home and to "get him a duck ball."

Later that same day, I ran into my son-in-law Jay, and asked him if Gates had shown him how to clean the ducks. "Yeh, sure", was the reply. "What is a duck ball?" Once again, I explained Gates' name for the bowl. "No, no" was the reply, "We had a bowl to put the meat in, but he kept asking where the duck balls were." "He even told us that the drakes had duck balls, but the females didn't."

To a four year old, there is a great similarity between a pellet and a ball! And, he was right, the hen did not have a pellet showing! I'm not sure how much longer they are going to let the kid hang around this old man after Gates starts spreading the word in Sunday School.


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johnnymay's picture

That was a great story. I remember it like it was yesterday. Pop was sharing that story as he handed me a knife and a nudge the next week out by the rec-room.

Johnny May

Auto5man's picture

"A knife and a nudge", that gave me a chuckle :)

danny strickland's picture

Only in the eyes of a child don't you just love it.

danny strickland

gregholley's picture

I love it!

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