The spirit of Christmas was in the air as the four webbed members of the Quackers Family slid into the river starting their journey to the Christmas Eve party.
Daddy Quackers and Mama Quackers headed the pack followed by Feathers and Drake, two young ducklings excited about the approaching holiday. Each family member had his or her own goody bag of offerings to carry to the party.
“Stay close,” Mama Quackers commanded. “It’s almost dark and I don’t want anyone getting lost …”
“We know, we know,” Feathers replied as she looked at Drake, recalling a time when they both got lost.
“The Christmas Eve party is going to be fun,” Mama Quackers reminded. “There will be some other ducks your age there to play with.”
“I know,” Drake replied. “Hen and Ducky will be there. It’s been a while since we’ve played with them.”
“We need to speed up a bit,” Daddy Quackers says as he picks up the pace. “The party starts in twenty minutes.”
“It’s going to be fun!” Feathers excitedly blurts out as she paddles about as fast as she can.
“I know,” Drake agrees. “They are going to have bread and a bunch of grubs to eat too.”
“Quaaacccckkkk,” Feathers agrees.
The waning daylight had given way to the darkness of night.
“Sure glad Daddy Quackers and Mama Quackers are with us,” Feathers tells Drake. “I would be scared if they were not here.”
“Hey look,” Drake says as he notices a light which has come up alongside the family.
“It’s Lighty,” Feathers says as she confirms it’s their lightning bug friend. “Hi Lighty.”
“Need a light?” Lighty says whimsically as Feathers and Drake smile with approval.
“Going to the Christmas Eve party?” Feathers asks.
“Yes, I can’t wait to get there and see all my friends,” Lighty replied.
A couple of minutes later, everyone hears a muffled “tweeetttt” nearby.
“What’s that?” Drake asks Mama Quackers.
“Hmmm … don’t know,” Mama Quackers answers as she prods Daddy Quackers. “Maybe we should go see what that sound is.”
The family of four and Lighty the lightning bug turn and head toward the river shore.
“Tweeettt, tweeettt,” is heard again, this time with a sense of urgency in its tone.
As they near the shore with Lighty illuminating the way, Daddy Quackers is first to notice a small bird on the ground next to the lake, flapping one wing.
“Look, it’s a small bird,” Daddy Quackers discovers.
Everyone waddles out of the water and approaches the downed bird.
“On no, it’s BlueBee!” Feathers says as she notices it’s their Bluebird friend.
“Hi BlueBee,” Drake offers. “Are you OK?”
“No, I was flying along and all of a sudden something hit me and when I fell, I hurt my wing,” BlueBee recounted as he nursed an ailing wing.
“Might be broken,” Mama Quackers offers as she looks at the wing.
“We have got to get Doc Vet to look at you,” Daddy Quackers says. “He can help you.”
With Lighty shining down on the scene, they all looked at each other and agreed that they would have to help BlueBee and delay their arrival at the Christmas Eve party.
“OK,” Daddy Quackers directed. “I will go find Doc Vet. Everyone stay here and keep BlueBee company. I’ll be back as fast as I can.”
Daddy Quackers gets a running start and flies off in the direction of the nearest town in hopes of finding the local veterinarian.
“While we are waiting, let’s sing some songs … Christmas songs,” Mama Quackers offers as an alternative to standing around in the night doing nothing.
“We will start off with Frosty the Snowman …” she decides as they all sit around BlueBee.
Several songs later they alternate a simple game or two to pass the time.
Concern enters Mama Quackers thoughts as BlueBee seems to be in increasing pain. “How are you feeling BlueBee?” she asks.
“Well, it seems to be hurting worse,” BlueBee responds, somewhat subdued.
“It’s going to be OK,” Mama Quackers offers in consolation.
“I feel bad about making you guys miss the Christmas Eve party,” BlueBee sighs.
“Don’t worry about that,” Feathers chimes in.
“Yes, it wouldn’t be a very good party if we just left you here like this,” Drake adds. “Besides, I am having fun singing songs and playing games together.”
“Daddy Quackers will be back soon,” Mama Quackers says, at the same time wondering what is taking him so long and then looking up at the dark sky.
A few more songs and games are completed.
“Let’s get some food out of our goody bags,” Mama Quackers offers. She passes bread and grubs to Feathers, Drake, Lighty, and BlueBee.
“Thanks, but I am just not hungry,” BlueBee responds after taking a couple of bites.
“That’s OK BlueBee,” Mama Quackers replies, stroking BlueBee’s feathers. “It’s there if you want it.”
As the night continued on, Feathers and Drake sat down and started to doze off. BlueBee was also bordering on sleep, and if it were not for the pain of the damaged wing, he would be sleeping soundly.
Mama Quackers stayed awake to make sure any would-be predators stayed away, especially since Lighty the lightning bug was providing less and less light as he also was growing tired.
Just after the night was at its darkest, Mama Quackers heard a faint rustling noise in the distance. She perked up and noticed the sound was getting closer. Not knowing who or what it was, she decided to keep quiet just in case is was a predator.
The sound grew louder and louder. All of a sudden Lighty jumps up from his near sleep and illuminates the shore to reveal an outline of a somewhat frantic duck and a rather large figure walking along side.
“Oh my!” Mama Quackers rejoices out loud. “It’s Daddy Quackers and … yes, it looks like Doc Vet!”
Upon hearing the announcement both Feathers and Drake awaken with the words, “Daddy Quackers is back!”
“Quaaacccckkkk,” Mama Quackers bellows to welcome Daddy Quackers’ return.
“I am back … finally,” Daddy Quackers announces. “It took longer than I thought to find Doc Vet. He was at another Christmas Eve party in town.”
“Hello, Doc Vet,” Mama Quackers welcomes. “Please take a look at BlueBee. It’s his wing.”
“Well, let’s see. What do we have here?” Doc Vet says as he examines an awake BlueBee.
“Hmmm … looks like a badly bruised wing, possibly broken,” he concludes. “We have to get you back to my vet hospital.”
Doc Vet turns to the family. “Good thing you were able to help BlueBee. If he would have been out here all night he probably would have gotten much worse.”
Doc Vet carefully picked up BlueBee.
“I’ll get him to the hospital and he should be OK in a few days, maybe a bit longer if the wing is broken,” Doc Vet assured.
Feathers approached Doc Vet. “If you need to be paid to take care of BlueBee, I have these grubs you can have …”
Drake added, “… and you can have mine too.”
Doc Vet smiled as he refused their offer and left with the injured BlueBee.
Mama Quackers looked at Daddy Quackers. “The Christmas Eve party is over by now, so I guess we will just head home.”
Daddy Quackers looked at Feathers and Drake. “Sorry guys, no party tonight …”
“Oh that’s OK,” Drake replied. “We had a nice party here.”
“Yes,” Feathers agreed. “We had some food, played games, sang songs, and helped BlueBee. Our friend Lighty was here too.”
Mama Quackers, Daddy Quackers, Feathers, and Drake turned and headed off into the river toward home. It was indeed already a wonderful Christmas.