Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Duckis ...

I never had a special stuffed animal.

I had lots of stuffed animals, but not one that was very special to me. Not one that I toted with me everywhere. Not one that's packed away in a box of my childhood memories.

Patty has Bun. My brother Paul had Woo-Woo, a dog. (Not sure about the name. I'd tell you the story if I knew.) My cousin Dan had Offie. (He couldn't say "giraffe," which is what Offie was.) I vaguely remember my brother Brian having something. (Was it a bear?) But me? Nope.

Still, I collected animals from various sources. My dad gave me a panda that had a radio in its back, with two knobs sticking out of its fur. And my grandfather gave me a Donald Duck-looking duck. Maybe it was supposed to be one of the nephews. I'm not sure. But it had white rabbit fur on its cheeks. Very soft.

My cousin Mike, when he was very, very little - two, maybe - comandeered the duck and named him Duckis. I'm sure he was drawn to the furry cheeks. I was about 8 at the time.

I gave Duckis to Mike. Duckis was well-loved. As time passed and I'd see Mike with Duckis in tow, I'd note the varioius surgeries that had been performed with tape, the most serious of which was what was almost a cast on Duckis' arm. Mike would hold Duckis by that arm and carry him that way.

But Duckis was more than a furry friend. Duckis was also a security blanket of sorts. Mike, little though he was, was going through cancer treatments in New York at Sloan-Kettering and Duckis was his constant companion. Duckis lived in New York with Mike and his mom for a long time, and logged many frequent flier miles once Mike was able to come home and travel for his treatments.

Mike got married last year.

I don't know whatever happened to Duckis and his well-taped arm. But sometimes I think about him and Mike and how important it is to have a hand to hold.

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