Mother duck and her 6 ducklings made it! — Courtesy of Jean McDermott
Down alleys, across streets, through busy parking lots: A sweet little parade waddled its way to Lake Spring (“the duck pond”).
Mama Duck had picked a recent mid-afternoon to lead her brood down to its new haven. Two very kind humans helped shepherd (duck-herd?) the flock across busy streets and parking lots: Jean McDermott and Michael Richards.
I saw Jean holding back traffic in the McDonald’s drive-through lanes, letting the tiny gang pass. She had first spied them coming out of the bushes by SunTrust Bank on West Main Street.
A car at Chick-fil-A accidentally ran over one of the original downy gang, bringing the duckling brood down to six little ones. That’s when animal-lover Jean knew she had to help them reach their destination.
More perils awaited: “A semi-trailer truck at Burger King almost ran over them,” she said later via phone. “[Michael] actually got in front of the truck!” A loudly barking dog racing along a fence was a bit unnerving, too.
Mama Duck seemed to know her way, said Jean. She figured that the expedition took about a half-hour.
“Another woman came over and said she had once escorted ducklings across Main St. to the river,” Jean marveled. “It just shows what is really great about Salem.”
In a nice bit of coincidence, Jean had recently re-read the classic children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings.”
So, down Richards Lane, across Goodwin to Bruffey to Lake to Valleydale and on to the intended haven they had gone: mama and ducklings and watchful guides. Thanks be for such unexpected delights, for feathered things — and for kind hearts who protect them.