Being from New England, both Intel Chris and Intel Jessica grew up mistakenly thinking certain thematic elements of their childhood were shared by children all across the United States. The children's book Blueberries for Sal, for example. The story of Donn Fendler, Lost on a Mountain in Maine. Miss Rumphius. Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," which so many of us had to memorize. And, of course, The Voyage of the Mimi. But absolutely nothing was more surprising than learning that people outside of New England don't necessarily have a special place in their hearts for Make Way for Ducklings, one of the great American children's stories.
This week, New York experienced its own little duckling adventure. Earlier this spring a mother duck built a nest for her babies in the heart of Manhattan, not in one of our parks, but on the lovely, well-manicured strip of grass that runs down Park Avenue. Yesterday, a well-meaning passerby saw the mother hop up from the tarmac into a bed of tulips near 69th Street, leaving her eleven ducklings to struggle and fail to follow her. Using a newspaper, Valeria Anzolin swept the babies to safety, but inadvertently scared away the mother, who flew away. The ducklings were left quacking in unison, terrified. But this story ends well! From the Post:
"Fortunately, this duck had connections, and was able to count on the good offices of the Parks Department," Commissioner Adrian Benepe said. City Park Rangers Sheridan Roberts and Sgt. Sunny Corrao came up with a plan to lure back the mama duck after she flew off. They put some of the babies in a basket in the hopes they would call their mother. It took until 2 p.m. to regain the mother's trust. The rangers then carried the basket of ducklings west on 68th Street. The mallard matriarch followed them, as pedestrians, including one carrying a net, spurred her on and truck drivers held back traffic. Thirteen minutes later, the mom was led over the Central Park wall and the ducklings were all released. The rangers slowly guided the family through the park, and they all jumped into The Lake near The Boathouse.
We really, really wish we could have seen that.