by Lancelot Burton
There were four of them in the past they say, a time previous to this story. They were friends in an unforgiving wilderness, family as it were. As odd as it may seem, they each had their unique quirk and quack that echoed across the valley and down the Yukon River that runs north towards Dawson City.
They lived on the edge of isolation next to Kirkman Creek in a house that surely inspired Jim Rob’s art and paintings. As time usually does, and as nature always stays true to nature, three of the four ducks met their own extraordinary, untimely and unimaginable deaths. One was taken by an eagle; and the two others, on separate occasions, were snatched by wandering foxes that could not or would not pass up the opportunity of an easy meal.
As luck may have it, the surviving one of the four domesticated ducks stood the test of time, defied the odds and waddled his way out of countless, perilous situations that would have ruffled the feathers of even the most seasoned of sourdoughs.
Infamously, the duck had crouched, stooped, even dipsy-doodled past all the sun-kissed children, canoeists, and photo opportunists who were stumbling over themselves for a simple glimpse of the blunt billed celeb. I was also desperately seeking the pecking personality and just had to know his name for the record. After searching the grounds to find its owner, I came upon the sugar shack of peanut buttery cookies, chocolate bars and soda cans of orange crush that I quickly purchased before anyone else had the opportunity.
I talked with the elderly merchant lady and briefly expressed my thanks for the mound of sugared snacks that now lay before me. With a newly refurbished smile I was now ready to ask her about the Duck’s name. With a pleasant and quirky disposition she leaned back on the crooked and aged counter, half laughed and uttered the word “Supper”.
I wasn’t sure if it was a question she was asking, so I repeated my question, curiosity emphasizing the syllables clearer than before. “I’m very curious about the duck,” I said “what is its name?” She had a more definite laugh this time and spoke in a stronger tone and said “Supper”.
Well, I just about spit out my mouthful of orange crush and chocolate chip cookie once it registered what she had said. In fact, I could not contain myself and I let out a chunky laugh. Now both of us were laughing, me about the duck’s name and she about the crumbs in her hair. She proceeded to tell me more about the life and times of the remaining duck.
The idiosyncrasy of this cartoonish figure in a harsh northern environment brings unexpected smiles on the weary and rested faces alike. Supper, was the conversational topic that rose above all others. Higher even, than the anticipation of baked goods, the opportunity to rest or the need to know of when or where camp would be set up that night.
Supper was raised on the crumbs of cookies, bits of cakes and the occasional piece of rhubarb pie. This quacked celebrity seemed sweetly seasoned from birth. In fact, one might say, that our new, feathered friend was finely conditioned for the roasting pot. I mean, how else would one think of a domesticated duck in the middle of the middle of nowhere.
As I continued to ponder the subject deeper, I seriously began questioning the deaths of the other ducks, and that the alleged perpetrators may have been wrongly accused. Perhaps the finger should have been pointed towards a seemingly unsuspicious camper or even, a certain, more long-term resident.
The truth may never surface, and the fact still remains that there is only one duck remaining on the Kirkman site. He unequivocally greets hundreds of summertime visitors each year, as they dash forward to treat themselves with sugary treats.
He is, the one and last Supper.