Lyman Orchards is a quaint country store in Durham, Connecticut. There is an apple orchard where you can pick your own apples, and around Halloween they have a haunted corn maze. I love going to Lyman's. My favorite thing is the draft apple cider that you can tap yourself right out of the wooden barrels. We didn't go there often, so it was a treat when we did.
One afternoon my mom, dad, sister and I all drove out to Lyman's. My parents bought me a cheese Danish and my sister a banana nut muffin from the bakery, and we went outside to watch the ducks while my parents shopped.
There were an abundance of ducks in this duck pond. Seriously. It was way overpopulated. I think whoever was in charge of importing the ducks in the first place didn’t realize ducks mate like rabbits, because there was barely any swimming room left in this pond. Because there were so many hungry water birds cohabiting this tiny pond, they had developed a ferocity when scavenging for food. These ducks, fattened by the bread of Lyman's customers, had become savage beasts, who viciously fought their own species for crumbs thrown by generous humans. If duck fighting were a sport, the foul of Lyman Orchards would've held a title.
Sibby and I exited the store and headed for the benches surrounding the pond. I walked slowly, as all of my attention turned to devouring my cheese danish as quickly as possible. Sibby ran up ahead, over the small bank towards the ducks. Less than a minute later she was walking back towards me. I noticed she looked afraid and was sans delicious treat.
"Where's your muffin?" I asked her, as I knew she couldn't have eaten it that fast. I was the chubby speed eater in the family, not my beanpole sister. Her eyes welled up with tears.
"Punkie, they were running towards me! Punkie, please don't tell Daddy!”
As I put two and two together, I started to laugh.
"Oh, Sibby! Come here!" I hugged her, my heart full of adoration. My poor baby sister! So eager to play with the cute ducks, who were only interested in her muffin. I could just picture the scene I had missed: adorable, smiling, five year old Sibby bouncing toward a flock of oversized mallards. Close enough to pet them, her grin turns to fear, as it becomes evident this gaggle means to attack the holder of their dinner, who is roughly their same size. Sibby, fearing for her life, throws the food toward her predators, who then fight each other for it. Now afraid for the wrath of my father, who would scream at her for defending herself with the muffin he worked hard to be able to afford to buy her, she turned and attempted to walk nonchalantly, as if the near stampede hadn't just taken place. But her plan was foiled when I instantly called her out. She hadn't time to build a solid backstory yet. Her fear was still fresh, her heart still racing. She was fragile, and broke instantly. The whole scene was so cute I just held her and laughed. Her fear began to diminish and she smiled and laughed with me.
"Come on, Sibby, let's go inside."
I led my sister back into the store, away from her assailants to safety. We found our parents, their cart filled with goodies: bread, cookies, danish, pies. You'd have thought they were carbo loading before running a marathon, but no, they were just unable to do anything moderately. I was still smiling at the thought of my sister defending herself with a muffin against a gaggle of hungry ducks, while Sibby was still getting over it.
"What's going on?" my mother asked suspiciously.
"Sibby threw her muffin at the ducks!" I proudly announced. I couldn't keep it in. It was too cute and I knew my usually angry parents would get a kick out of it.
"What!?" my mother exclaimed, amused and curious to hear the full story. Sibby, seeing that my parents were having the opposite reaction than the one she feared, hurriedly explained.
"They were all just running at me! I had to throw it!" My father laughed and put his arm around her.
"Awwww, Sibby! Did you almost get eaten by the ducks?" He coddled.
"Yes," my sister played along.
"Come on, we'll get you another muffin."