Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Return of Santa Duck

We have acquired a poinsettia at our house, so our Christmas decorating has officially begun. I have wondered if our neighbors are puzzling over why the Bradleys' trees, usually lit up all around the house, remain dark this year. The answer is, you can't string lights on trees while using a walker. And I myself have never been part of that operation. It's possible lights will be strung on December 22nd, the day the tree goes up, when the children are home. Or not. I'm happy either way.

Some of the other houses that usually decorate on our road are dark this winter too. We're rather somber. But with great joy, and not a little relief, we all noticed when the Santa Duck reappeared.

Santa Duck is an inflatable duck. He looks exactly like a bath duck grown to dinosaur size, except that he wears an inflatable Santa hat and a jaunty, I suspect homemade, red knit scarf. He sits on the top of the flat gable of the roof of a small square house on Weaver Pike. The house is down in a hollow, so the top of its roof is barely above the level of the street. Santa Duck usually shows up right after Thanksgiving and stays until after the New Year.

This year Thanksgiving came and went. No Santa Duck. The next weekend came and went. No Santa Duck. The natives of Bristol grew restless. The Bradleys without lights on their trees? Eh. Whatever. Also Doc had surgery, didn't you hear? But the lack of Santa Duck--I truly cannot remember a Bristol Christmas without him--caused community-wide concern.

We discussed it in my yoga class. I muttered about it to friends. Someone took a photo of the empty flat roof and posted it online, and soon someone else had created a Facebook post called Bring Back the Bristol Santa Duck. It was widely shared, and, quite quickly, someone put up a photo of a bearded man sitting at a sewing machine, repairing a seam on the duck.

All was well. The Santa Duck has been restored to his rooftop. My yoga instructor texted me a photo of him, fully blown up and well tethered down, within hours of his reinstatement. The town breathed a happy sigh. Santa Duck lives.

And if you think that giant festive inflatable bath ducks have nothing whatsoever to do with the birth of Christ Jesus the Savior of humankind, I'm here to say I think you're wrong. Joy. Light. Santa Duck. It's all part of the story.