duck race taking place the day after Easter. I was very excited about this event, expecting to find hundreds of ducks decked out in sporting gear while their owners paced nervously, wringing their hands before the gun shot marked the start of the... run? Waddle? Swim? I didn't know, but I did know that I wanted to take part.
We trudged down to the village, all six of us. The main street was packed, literally shoulder to shoulder. It wasn't just about the duck race, though. Their were kiddie rides, charcoal grills piled with smoking sausages and burgers, people making general merriment.
My daughter, Camille ran in to her best friend, Molly from school. I asked Molly's dad where we could bet on a duck.
'You don't bet on a duck, you buy one,' he told me.
'Then you own it? Like you take it home after the race?' I asked excitedly.
'No. They wipe the ducks off and store them in a shed until next year's race,' he was looking at me curiously now.
I was rather shocked. This guy is a farmer, surely he recognised this as an inhumane way to treat animals.
'That's a bit cruel, isn't it?' I asked.
'Cruel? Cruel to what-- the ducks?' He replied.
'Of course the ducks!' I stammered.
He chuckled, 'Jenny, the ducks are made of rubber. Like the little yellow duckies children take into the bath tub.'
'Oh...' I trailed off for a second as it all registered in my molasses-like mind. 'Well, that's just stupid. Why do they race rubber duckies?'
'I don't know, just always have I guess.' he answered.
And they did, they plunked hundreds of rubber duckies into the lake and let them slowly float down to the dam where they chose one randomly as winner. The 'race' took two hours.
I still don't get it. But it was a fun afternoon and put me in the mood to devise this recipe for Duck Provencal.