This kid wasn’t feeling so ducky

(Editor’s note: This story originally ran in Our Iowa Magazine, and because the author now resides in Marshalltown, a reader requested that it be reprinted in the T-R. We have received Our Iowa’s blessing to publish it.)

My family lived in one of the older, close-knit neighborhoods of Fort Dodge in the early 1960s.

One of our neighbors, Lew Larson, owned a HyLine poultry hatchery. My brothers and I, along with our friends, spent time at the hatchery helping out however we could.

My dad was employed in those years by Tones Spices; then, out of the blue in 1966, he was hired M&JR Hakes, a general grocery in Laurens. Our family made plans to move from Fort Dodge to Pocahontas County.

On occasion, Mr. Larson would hatch fowl for farmers in the area at his hatchery. Around the time of our move, he hatched a three-legged duckling.

Guess what Dad received as a remembrance at our neighborhood going-away picnic? Yep, the three-legged duckling became a member of our family. Dad appropriately named it “Tripod.”

We made the move to Laurens, and as in any small Iowa town, it didn’t take long for news to get around that there was a new family living on Allen Street — with a three-legged duck.

In June 1966, there was even a photo of me and the duck in The Laurens Sun newspaper, which I suppose was wonderful publicity for Tripod.

But for a 15-year-old boy like me, who in a few weeks would be starting at a new high school in a new town… well, you can tell by the look on my face that I wasn’t so thrilled about being known as the new quack about town.

We kept Tripod for a while, but Dad finally realized that raising a duck in the house just wasn’t going to work. The family that owned Mefferd Industries had a beautiful home with a pond on the edge of Laurens, and they gave Tripod a wonderful home outdoors.


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