Shivering Duck Snatcher


Daily Prompt


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Shivering Duck Snatcher

In response to the daily prompt shiver. I have shivered before when I’ve had a temperature over 102, but that’s a little different shiver than shivering from the cold. I really learned how to shiver one time on a duck hunting trip as kids. We were old enough to start duck hunting on our own. I was eleven, Harlan twelve and Corky fifteen. It was always part of our heritage. We felt a need, a call of the wild to carry-on hunting, trapping and fishing, because that was all part of our Finnish/Norwegian way of life for generations.

One very cold, late fall, morning, we went to a lake several miles out of town. My two brothers and I rode with a neighbor kid that had his own car. We got out to the lake, it was still dark, dawn was just breaking on the horizon. Low flying ducks, quacking, wings whistling, were going right over our heads, the last of the fall migration seemed to be going right past the lake.

We got down to the edge of the lake and discovered that it had frozen during the night, the temperature had dropped way below freezing. This sudden freeze caught many of the diving ducks like the Bluebills off guard. They had no idea what to do because they run on the water before takeoff, like an airplane will taxi for speed before it takes off. These ducks just kept slipping and falling down, as we were about to start doing when we went out on the ice.

There were many areas of the lake with ducks in the same predicament. All they could do was run, slip and slide, flap wings but they couldn’t get airborne. Boys will be boys, we all headed out in different directions picking up ducks by hand, as fast as we could. We were still carrying our shotguns, but most of the time we just ran them down and wrung their necks, merciful lot, huh?

I had all the ducks I could carry so I started heading back towards shore, still about a quarter of a mile from shore, I could see the ice all around me sagging, I knew what was about to happen. The ice gave way and I went down in the water up to my neck. I threw that shotgun as far as I could, not thinking about it going off. My stepdad’s shotgun, I knew I would be a dead duck if I lost his gun. I started hollering for help. My older brother Corky was at least a half a mile the other direction. He came running and luckily found a long stick somewhere.

I would try to pull myself up onto the ice, it just kept breaking off, the hole I was in got larger and larger. It was like something from twilight zone, maybe a bad dream. I’m splashing around in this hole, ducks with broken necks, some dead, some swimming around looking at me, sure glad ducks can’t talk.

Corky got there, he pushed the stick out to me and I got a death grip on it, somehow he dragged me back up onto the ice without falling through himself. We started the long walk to the car. That’s when the shivering started, cold, fear, both I presume. I don’t think I have ever shivered like that in my life, like teeth trying to break from chattering. I couldn’t talk, a real good sign of hypothermia setting in. I managed to keep walking and my cloths froze on me, as I walked, to my surprise I seem to start warming up a little. The frozen cloths kept the ice cold air off me, body heat was trying to do some good, underneath the layer of frozen cloths.

I hope never to shiver like that again, it is very hard to describe being that cold. Kids can do some crazy things without thinking about the consequences. One thing for sure, I had a guardian angel there on the ice with me, probably shivering too. My brother Corky put his life in jeopardy to save mine.

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