by Pat Edwards
Buzzard Duck was a member of that large mute breed of black and white duck that looks like it has a hamburger patty wrapped around its face… the Muscovy Duck. He came to live on our farm many years ago when someone gave him to us (that’s one of the “perks” of living on a farm… you get all of the animals that your friends and acquaintances no longer want!). Buzzard Duck had the run of the barnyard along with an assortment of chickens and a pair of turkeys. Because he didn’t have a mate, he had to use his imagination. He took a shine to his own image that reflected from a piece of shiny aluminum that patched a large hole on the bottom of the barn door. B.D. stood before his reflection for hours on end, whispering sweet nothings to it in duck-fashion, and caressing its smooth surface with his head and beak. He was so enamored with his own image that we didn’t think that any of us existed in his mind. But, apparently, he did feel he owed my husband, Jim, a debt of gratitude for feeding him each day.
One day, Buzzard Duck was in rapt discussion with his reflection, as usual, while my husband was hammering away on a piece of equipment in the barnyard. Jim was completely oblivious to the fact that our huge Tom Turkey was nearby. Tom, who had long before instilled terror in the hearts of our 4 children, especially our youngest daughter, Kelly, by chasing them across the barnyard whenever they ventured near, began to circle Jim, preparing for a full charge. Then, with wings spread and neck extended, the turkey sped (as fast as a 50 lb. hunk of white meat can speed) straight towards Jim. Jim was at first unaware that he was a target, but when he heard the rustle of feathers, he looked up to see a black and white duck streaking past him. When he turned around to see where Buzzard Duck was going in such a hurry, he saw what looked like a potential game of “Chicken” between a turkey and a duck. It was the turkey that put on his brakes and made a retreat for the far reaches of the barn lot with a very mad Buzzard Duck in fast pursuit. When B.D. figured that Jim was once again out of harm’s way, he calmly returned to courting his aluminum mate.
It was not too long afterwards that we found someone who had a female Muscovy who was looking for a mate. It was to be Buzzard’s reward for saving the dignity of his benefactor. And a few months’ later, it was Thanksgiving. (No, we didn’t eat Tom, but we did find him and his mate a new home.) Kelly and her sisters and brother were able to cross the barnyard… unarmed… once again, and they all lived happily ever after.