Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Those who watched ABC World News last night, were treated to an adorable tale of a man who came to the rescue of a family in distress:

For the past 35 days, Armstrong watched as a mother duck nested on a ledge outside his office window... two blocks from the Spokane River in Washington state. On Saturday morning, Armstrong arrived in town for the annual Lilac Festival parade. Seeing the newly hatched ducklings nervously pacing back and forth on the ledge, he knew they were stuck. Their mother stood waiting below, but the jump off the ledge was too far for the ducklings.

Joel Armstrong shares this distinguished accomplishment with none other than yours truly, as told in a blog entry dated June 24 2005:

It seems that the side entrance of my building this morning was the haven for a mother duck and ten ducklings. This little-used foyer was a stopping point headed south on the sidewalks, which by now were becoming quite active. I went up to the office after informing the front desk (expecting the Park Service to send someone to retrieve what amounted to Government property), when my colleague "Melanie" got excited at the prospect of seeing her little brood.

So we went down to where they were, just in time to see Mother Duck on the move. Being disoriented by the attention on the sidewalk, and surrounded by two people taking pictures with their cellphones, Melanie and I proceed to coax the family down the sidewalk, south toward the reflecting pool in the park just south of the building.

But first, we had to cross E Street. The cars were generally cooperative. Getting Mama's trust was the hard part. It got even harder when we got to the curb. We had to get the ducklings up the curb, which was taller than them, and had not been able to convince Mama of our goodwill. So, while Melanie created a distraction by getting Mother to attack her, I picked each of the ducklings onto the sidewalk. The worst being over, Mother went back to her charges to lead them down the final stretch, to the reflecting pool.

And so, with our task completed, and Melanie being none the worst for wear -- which is saying something, because Mama got after me too at one point, and it wasn't pretty -- we returned to our more conventional job.

Ah, just another day at the office!

Other than the passersby with cellphone cameras, our heroism was not recorded, but Mr Armstrong's was. Unfortunately, those guys at ABC News are much too clever for our Web Development Team, and the clip cannot be embedded. So click on the first blockquote to read the article, or simply cut to the chase and click here.

You'll notice that the Mama Duck in his case was far more reasonable.

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