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the duck thief

A year ago a group of beloved friends spirited me away for a lakeside bachelorette weekend. Food, drink, sublime surroundings, and dancing in the kitchen . . . what more could a woman ask for?

Well, I believe the best gifts are often what you’d never think to ask for. I’ll begin the story with an email exchange that took place after our lovely weekend.


Dear Recor family,

I got your e-mail address from my friend Lindsay. We had the most amazing time last weekend at your cabin! I am getting married in two weeks, so it was a wonderful chance to bask in the sun and breathe deep the delicious woodsy air with some of my favorite women. Thank you.

I have a confession to make. I stole your rubber ducky.

I’ve never stolen anything before, but it seemed like destiny that the duck came into my life. When one of the girls brought out the ducky from the bathroom, I assumed they had brought it for me! My wedding actually has a rubber ducky theme (it’s a long story). Duck on the invitation; rubber duckies for favors . . . Thus the enormous, winsome presence of the duck at my pre-wedding celebration was just too perfect for words.

Over the weekend, we fell in love with the duck. Here’s me holding him:

Hannah + duck

Here are my friends:

Jade + duck

Melissa + duck

Catherine + duck

Vieve + duck

Heather + duck

Lindsay + duck

Here’s the group shot before we left on Sunday morning.

group + duck

Here we are in the car, driving home.

car + duck

I apologize if this seems like a crazy thing to do (it was). I would like to send you a check for the duck (I believe they’re $15 on, or order you a replacement duck! Please let me know how you’d like me to set this right.

Thank you again for a beautiful weekend!




Hello Hannah,

     Thank you so much for your “confessional letter”.  My wife and I were distraught with sorrow when we saw our precious ducky was gone. (Only kidding!!) :o)

     Actually we are happy that we have been able to add a little enjoyment to your pre-wedding celebration. It must have been really fun for everyone and especially you.  We would like to know a little more about how you ended up with a rubber ducky theme though.

     If it would clear your conscience you can send us another ducky but don’t feel obligated. (It is kind of ironic though because that ducky was given to my youngest son as a joke by his older brother at his stag that was held at the cabin about 10 years ago.)

     My wife and I hope you have a “fantastic wedding” and we are happy we have added a little laughter and happiness to your life.

All the best to you and your future husband,

Robert and Karen


Imagine my relief at learning that my thievery stirred up no rancor from the Recors. Imagine my glee at learning that the ducky had supervised a bachelor weekend a decade earlier. I emailed Robert and Karen the legend of Stuart, the duck who inspired our wedding theme (the tale later graced our wedding reception tables).

legend of Stuart was out of giant rubber duckies when I tried to order one, so after the wedding (okay, looooong after the wedding) I mailed Robert and Karen a sampling of our leftover ducky favors. I also sent them one of our post-wedding thank you postcards.

package for the Recors

Now, a year after my thievery, I tell the story. It’s a silly, happy story, and that’s a good enough reason to write a blog entry about it. But there’s more to it than that.

See, I was once a Very Good girl, a girl who wouldn’t even contemplate stealing a rubber ducky. But growing up has taught me that Good is not always best. Lawrence Kohlberg might deem this postconventional morality (okay, Lawrence Kohlberg is probably rolling over in his grave right now).

Call it what you like, but someday a perfect opportunity (or rubber ducky) may appear in your life. You may have good moral reasons not to seize that opportunity (or rubber ducky). Nonetheless, the ducky (or opportunity) will look you in the eye and stir something deep in your heart.

When that day comes, I hope you’ll take the duck (or opportunity).

Of course you must consider the fallout. Of course you must make restitution for your wrongdoing. But don’t be Very Good.

You never know the beauty that opportunity (or duck) might bring into your life. That duck might come with you on your honeymoon.

honeymoon + duck

Your new husband might hold that duck the day you move into your first apartment, which might happen to be in Kansas, of all places.

new home

That duck might live on the shelf next to your water filter, right on top of the box where you keep the cookies. You will bake your husband many cookies that year.

duck + water filter

And in December Robert and Karen Recor will send you their Christmas card, in which whimsical reindeer cartoons peer over sand dunes. You’ll realize that they’re just as silly as you are, and you’ll be glad you stole their duck.

the Recors' card

Every day that year you’ll be glad you stole their duck. Kansas will be good for you, and also hard. You will need the untroubled gaze of that duck as much as your husband needs cookies.

And when the year comes to an end, and you’re packing your boxes to return home, you’ll start thinking about bringing your husband to the lakeside cabin where it all began.

lake + duck

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