Duck-mada!! … Adventures in Roanoke, VA

So I’ve been asked many times “Hey Phil! What makes you so crazy??” My usual response is “Huh??” cause I always seem to ask “Huh??” when I am asked a question that I don’t immediately know the answer to. After a few seconds of thinking I usually say “Well, it’s a compilation of life experiences really …” Now some would think that by this I mean situations like sneaking into the cordoned off area around a steam pipe explosion or being on a two engined passenger jet over the Atlantic when one of the engines cuts out and you have to turn around and land on a US Air Force base in the Azores … but no, those add flavor to the crazy but the bread and butter of my crazy lies in the more everyday craziness that seems to follow me like rats behind the Pied Piper. I give this one example as proof that, no matter where I go, crazy will inevitably happen …

This weekend I went down to Roanoke, VA (not the lost city I thought I had finally discovered … sorry to disappoint) with my girlfriend to visit her hometown … of Roanoke. On Saturday we decided to go down to the river side and play some tennis. Now I haven’t played tennis since sometime in High School which leaves me approximately 7 or 8 years out of practice. As I was, in fact, as bad as that statement might imply, we soon grew tired of chasing tennis balls all over the court and decided to go walk down by the river. When one goes by a river, one almost always decides that one’s feet must be dangled into said river. While enjoying the cool water on our feet, a bunch of people started to show up. What had originally started out as just the two of us dangling feet in the water soon became a horde of people (mostly children and their respective “adult supervisors”). Now our first inclination was to leave, and to her credit my girlfriend had our tennis gear in her hands ready to vacate the area, but something in the undercurrent of conversation kept my attention. There was something coming down the river and two people with event tee-shirts were wading out into the river with nets to deal with the situation. So I asked my girlfriend to wait up because I wanted to see what was happening. Soon enough I saw what everyone had raced here to see … a monstrous wave of these …

Rubber Duckie

That’s right … 2000 rubber ducks were swarming towards us on the river. Realizing that two people with nets were not going to be able to capture 2000 wily rubber ducks we volunteered our services to the effort. So I found myself knee deep in a river with thousands of rubber ducks racing towards me. Now it seems appropriate at this juncture to describes what led up to this event…

It was the weekend of the Kentucky Derby and apparently every year they have a Duck Derby in the Roanoke River where each of the ducks has a serial number and all the children get one duck to be their duck and all the ducks are released in the river and the winner receives a prize. Now should everything go according to plan, they have nets set up to catch all the ducks when they cross the finish line. This year the nets that were set up were too close to the water’s surface so all the ducks washed over the nets and proceeded, to the complete shock of all the planners/volunteers and I am sure the complete joy of all the children, to race down the river uncontrolled and unimpeded. And this should catch you up to the point we left off at …

At this point my girlfriend and I are wading in the river with a handful of unprepared volunteers (in their jeans and skirts as they had not expected to have to touch the river let alone wade out to retrieve renegade ducks) and a few fishermen who happened to be fishing in the river getting ready to try and fend off the onslaught of terrifying (aka: rubber) ducks. As they came we started catching them and tossing them to the riverbank to the crowd of waiting children who would catch them and place them in piles. I’m not sure if the image of 2000 rubber ducks flowing down a river to a bunch of people tossing them to the banks is quite complete without mentioning this was occurring right in front of a waterfall … yes, waterfall. It may not have been very tall but it did cause some rapids down below them that wouldn’t be too fun to be caught up in.

Things seemed to be going relatively well with only a few ducks escaping our clutches and the piles of ducks growing on the shores when I heard a yelp from behind me. I turned around to see my girlfriend waving her arms and leaning forward yelling “I am getting pulled away by the current!!” Now imagine this coming from someone with two fist fulls of rubber ducks and the reality of the ridiculousness of it all should start to set in. I immediately snap into action and carefully wade my way over (so as not to hurt my feet on the sharp rocks of course) and grab her right before she lost it and started to pull her back. About this time one of the fishermen holding the net looks back and yells in his most dramatic and Perfect Storm worthy voice, “LET GO OF THE DUCKS!!!”

I am dragging my girlfriend back from falling down a waterfall as rubber ducks wash by laughing at the situation and trying not to fall over myself. Soggy, bemused, and kind of tired by now, we walk back to shore as the stream of ducks had subsided. We climbed up the bank and walked back to the car with our shoes in our hands and the stories already beginning to be told.

So there is Exhibit A of what makes my life so ridiculous and so incredibly … crazy.

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1 Comment

Filed under Crazy Times

One response to “Duck-mada!! … Adventures in Roanoke, VA

  1. I can’t stop laughing! I would’ve paid to have seen this! I totally would have been in the water too. Sounds like a good time đŸ™‚

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