Duck Jams

A scenario plays out multiple times daily at a four-way stop here in town and there’s not much that can be done about it. On the southeast corner a canal flows, Elijah Drain. Due to the constant presence of water, there are trees, shrubs, weeds, and tangled masses of ground cover, all of it becoming especially dense during irrigation season when the canal runs high and fast. Directly across the street on the northeast corner sits a low brick house where a lady lives. The times I’ve seen her when the confluence of circumstances causes the timing to be just right to put her outside when I’m driving by, she’s wearing a robe and slippers. Could be she’s just popping outside to do her duck thing and running back in to get ready for work, or maybe the duck thing is her work. . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Populating the wooded banks of the canal are ducks. Dozens and dozens and dozens of ducks. Mostly Mallards I believe. I suppose if a hardy biologist were to conduct a census of the population it might actually be closer to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. And the buggers own the place.

Newcomers to the four-way stop and our Duck Way of Life are easy to spot in the lines of cars backed up all four directions. Their impatience reigns supreme. After a minute or two, many start waving their arms to no one in particular and it’s not long before the horn honking begins. They must think they’ve been transported back to the freeways of southern California. (Pardon the jab at Cali . . . it’s sort of traditional around here. And we’ve taken a few comments on the chin ourselves coming most recently from Oregon. People got nasty during the pandemic. But anyway . . . ) Admittedly, at certain times of the day, it nearly does resemble the beginnings of one of those backups. Morning or afternoon school/work commute time is the W.O.R.S.T. Ducks can sense these things. And they care not.

Oh, and remember the lady across the street? Guess what?

She feeds ’em.

In her yard.

Across the street from the canal.


I’m an animal lover as much as the next guy. Also I love people. However, at around 4:00 p.m. on a lovely spring afternoon where a cacophony of quacks hangs in the air at a certain intersection and parades of ducks amble around in the street on their way to a meal, love wears a bit thin when I’m the 17th car in line.

Sitting still with nothing to do but wait causes me to ponder. Pondering leads to notions. Notions lead to note making. Note making leads to opening the computer. And so here we are.

Patience does not come naturally to me. Any ability I have to practice patience is from God in heaven and sadly I often fail to access that source when the need is the greatest. Getting older helps in some aspects — it’s noticeable in my interactions with grandchildren which are in stark contrast to similar past scenarios with my own children. Sad. But nonetheless true. Maturity plays a part, of course, both chronologically and spiritually. Also, I’m willing to bet that getting a little sleep and not working full time with four little kids in the house contributes just a mite. But the real clincher in scenes requiring patience is whether I’ve asked God to help me. Wash over me with the strengthening deep breath of a patient word, a slow response, a loving look. That’s where it’s at, friends.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse, he strongly emphasized Christ’s diety and the absolute necessity of being connected to Him as the only way to eternal life. The folks in town were being led astray by false teachings coming at them from all directions. Paul wrote what we read as the Book of Colossians to set ’em straight and in typical Paul fashion he gets to the point immediately. Right out of the gate in chapter 1 he speaks to the transformations that should be evident in a Jesus follower’s life, our particular topic of patience coming along in verse 11.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:9b-14 NIV

The context in which this letter was written was an atmosphere of heresy. The spread of Gnosticism (which we won’t explore here because this is not a term-paper-esque blog) was threatening the teachings of the true gospel of Jesus. Paul countered this thinking by stressing that “spirituality is not achieved by self-centered efforts to control the passions, but by putting on Christ, setting one’s affections on Him, and so stripping off all that is contrary to His will.”*

Hmmm. Food for thought. Soul nourishing food.

I am fortunate to be married to the world’s most patient man. He’s so patient it makes me mad. And impatient.

I told him just the other day that I had a list of a dozen or so of our female acquaintances that he would’ve been better off marrying than who he got stuck with because they would’ve joined him in long-lasting conversations about the most minute of details regarding how things work or how to do a job or how to fix a problem or how to know how to fill-in-the-blank. He said, “But I married you.” And so goes the romance.

Mostly I jest. Our devotion is absolute. Because he’s patient. And we chose each other. And I love him.

Oh, and seriously, you know our friend, Job, from the Bible? In my way of thinking it’s just “Bob” spelled wrong.

Friends, the world seems to need an extra helping of patience these days and that’s a monumental understatement. Historians can look back and analyze it to death and tell future generations what went wrong and when, but we are living in the here and now and it’s our job to fix what we can. “And how, Mrs. Mitchell, do you propose we accomplish that, hmm? Do we do that on our own strength? Break out our muscles and summon up our courage and will ourselves to be sweet and kind and patient and understanding?”


Call on Jesus, dear one. Wait for Him. Quiet yourself and pray. Strength will come. Courage will surge. Even people like me will be kind and patient and understanding because of Jesus. And only with Him will we, one by one, turn the world toward heaven. I believe that. I AM that.

Duck jams are part of my local reality. Are they a test of patience? Yep. Will I love ’em every time I forget and turn down that street and get caught in one? Nope. But do I see how minor, as in exceedingly minor, they are in the whole big picture of what our world needs from us? I’m beginning to.

Stop by sometime. I’ll take you over there and illustrate my story with a field trip. Oh, and I noticed recently that the brick-house lady has been setting out smorgasbords for the ducks on their own side of the street. So whoohoo!

Much love,


P.S. If you’re the duck lady reading this, I would do the same thing if I lived on your corner. Kudos to you. Go Ducks.

P.S.2 Here’s a song about waiting, practicing patience. I didn’t know it until today. Just had to be patient I guess.

  • Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (NASB) © 2008 editorial notes on Colossians, Spiros Zodhiates, Executive Editor

10 thoughts on “Duck Jams

  1. You hit another one out of the park, Molly. It is sooooo easy to be inpatient in this microwave society, so reminders of the importance of patience are good. I needed that. And that song….how do you always choose songs that speak straight to my soul? Thank you so much for these words. How’s the book coming? ❤️😊🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so cute Molly!  Patience has NEVER been one of my redeeming characteristics.  I love the duck stories and can image the frustration.  Good blog!LoisSent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sore subject handled well. I too am short on patience and we also are long on ducks. While the creek where they live (or should) is three blocks away with field and food aplenty. summer and winter, a lady on our cul-de-sac feeds them so we all have ducks. Norm does duck patrol each evening during nesting time as we are getting too old to deal with their messiness. That helps my patience.


  4. 35 years I’ve been around here. Today I find out someone is feeding them. This has somehow diminished the “Mayberry-esque” quality of these events. “Oh look at the quaint, pastoral parade…” No. A Lake Wobegon transplant is in our midst, stirring the pot, as it were.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was actually stopped on Fairview near Eagle Rd today because there was a mama and dada goose walking their little ones across the street. It was incredible because one goose was in the front and the other in the back and their little ones were in the middle….. they are ready for Disneyland 🤩

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just had a great example of patience exiting planes to and from Hawaii. Why is it people have to loiter then? Anyway, told my daughter, “This will test your patience!” She concurred. But hey the Hawaiian population understands it, Island time. We’ll do it when we do it! Maybe send the ducks to Hawaii! Great story and we’ve seen it near Walmart on 12th Ave.

    Liked by 1 person

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