A short story I wrote about my dad, who is a veterinarian in rural Pennsylvania.
I never wanted to share my baby pool…
This memory is hazy, like most from toddlerhood, but it’s still there.
In Dallas, Pennsylvania there used to be a restaurant called Pickett’s Charge. Next to the restaurant was a serene pond with lots of colorful, quacking ducks. I remember going to breakfast there with my family on a Sunday, after morning mass. It was crowded, and mostly everyone was in church clothes. A waitress came to take our order and, recognizing my dad, said there was an injured duck that really needed help, but no one could capture it. We all looked out the window towards the pond as the waitress pointed out the injured duck. Before the pancakes and coffee came, my dad walked outside to the pond and balanced himself on one of the few slippery rocks. I could tell he was trying to determine his next best step towards the injured duck, while also remaining calm to avoid panicking the paddling. Customers inside took notice, many moving closer to the window. I remember someone turned to a staff person and said, “There’s a man wearing a suit in the pond!”
Her response was, “That’s just Dr. Stair.”
More folks pressed up against the window to watch my dad play hopscotch for the duck. There were a few close calls, and while I don’t remember him falling in the pond, he certainly didn’t stay dry. All worth it, because my dad got a hold of the duck. Customers cheered, the duck would be helped, and pancakes were had.
There was treatment at the animal hospital, rehab, a few discussions and then Edgar, the duck, was my new pool mate. I won’t lie. Edgar was very cute, but a real asshole. He often chased me out of my pool and into the yard, but asshole personalities in animal form were always safe at the Stair household. We eventually agreed to a system- Edgar in quacks, me in toddler yells. Whenever I was in the pool and Edgar came charging towards it, or more appropriately my ankles, I tumbled out of the pool, half the water coming with me, and took off sprinting through the grass. Meanwhile, Edgar enjoyed the pool.
Pickett’s Charge closed, Edgar passed on, but the animal rescue missions continue to this day.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for teaching me that when life gives you the bird, you work it out anyway.
Need more Zen in your life? Try a ZENBand here.
Grab a copy of Dr. Stair’s novel, Manic Kingdom, here.