Chapter 3 Daffy Duck

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Chapter 3 Daffy Duck

CHAPTER 3

DAFFY DUCK

“Let’s go tree climbing’ Scov” he suggested, “you ain’t got nothin’ else to do, do ya?” “Nope,” I admitted indifferently, “I guess not.” “Well, let’s go then.” The orchard glittered green. The branches bowed low with

their burden of shiny red and yellow apples. We followed the trails to the edge of the orchard. Nearly every tree had been successfully climbed, probably more than once, by Danny and I at one time or another. Dan was a good friend and he liked to do nearly everything I liked to do. That always helps a friendship.

“How ’bout this here one,” he said pointing to a funny looking tree. “That’un ain’t been ’round as long. Looky how short it is compared to the other apple trees.” He was right. It wasn’t an apple tree at all. It stood about twelve feet high with bunches of tiny branches poking out in every direction. “How’a we gonna’ climb that silly thing?” I questioned. “Just like this,” Dan said wading into the dense greenery and

grasping the trunk. I stood in casual observation for a moment, uncertain as to the ability of such a spindly trunk to hold a pair of ten year olds, and followed my friend into the depths of greenness.

“I ain’t never seen a tree like this ‘fore,” I called up behind Danny, “wonder what they call it?”

“Ah, who cares,” Danny said nearing the top, “it’s neat.” I had to agree but my feet kept slipping off the tiny branches as I climbed.

“It’s preddy comfortable up here,” Dan said. “It’s kind’a like sittin’ in a bird’s nest.” He was right! The tree was nearly flat on top, giving us a clear view of the surrounding area. We were both perched face-to-face at the very top of the tree. It rocked back-and-forth gently in the soft breeze. “Hey,” Dan exclaimed, “look over there.” I followed his pointing finger. “What,” I said, “I don’t see nothin'” “That tree there,” he snorted, “I like it. I’m gonna’ climb it,” and he was sliding down. Danny and I sat in trees a lot. We talked mostly. Nothing

heavy, just talk. We discussed bikes, friends at school, games we enjoyed playing, fishing, and what we wanted to do when we grew up. We ate lots of apples when we talked since most of the trees we climbed were in the orchard. Our climbing wasn’t limited to the orchard however. We climbed everywhere; even telephone poles just for something different. Danny was a dedicated kid. He always found something to do even when everything had already been done.

“Hey,” I called, “be careful climbing that thing,” I cautioned. He nodded almost imperceptibly.

Dan was so dedicated to tree climbing that I recalled one time, as we spent probably an hour perched in one of the two yellow apple trees in the orchard, he said, “I gotta’ go to the bathroom.”

“So, go,” I encouraged. Why leave the comfort of a tree to do that? “No,” he frowned, “that ain’t what I mean?” “You mean,” I suggested, “you gotta do more than just take a leak?” “Yeah, that’s what I mean all right.” I told him to shinny

down the tree and trot on over to my house and tell my Mom he had to use the bathroom. “Ah,” he snorted, “I don’t wanna’ do that.” “Why not?” I said. “Oh, ‘cuz'” he answered. “That’s your Ma that’s why.” “Well,” I said dropping an apple core to the grown and

pulling another, not quit ripened apple from a nearby branch, “what you gonna’ do?” He showed me by defecating from fifteen feet above the ground.

Now I watched my buddy climb expertly foot-by-foot up the nearby tree. Higher and higher until he reached the highest branch where he swung like a monkey and balanced himself.

“This’un’s nice, too,” he said with satisfaction. We talked some more.

Suddenly a strong gust of wind blew through the orchard, the trees bowing to the force. A summer storm rushed in, blowing on the city. The trees waved back-and-forth like flags. I was blown over backwards and fell head first to the ground. I pulled frantically at the branches sliding by, as in slow motion, to try and break my fall. Two feet from the ground my legs entangled in the closely cropped branches. I hung up-side-down by my legs laughing uncontrollably. “Where’s Danny,” I wondered, looking about. There he was, I could see, howbeit up-side-down, hanging by one hand from his high perch, perhaps twenty feet above ground, and yelling with laughter. “Heeeeeeeeee! Rid ‘um cowboy,” he squealed.

I spent more time with Danny than any other kid. He came from a broken home, did poorly in school, and couldn’t hit a baseball even if you paid him. I liked sports, especially track and field, but I rarely played such with Danny because of his lack of coordination. He loved riding bikes, however, and that we did a lot.

Riding the pavement one day at the front end of the orchard I said, “Wanna’ play chicken?”

“Sure,” he said, swerving toward me. I pulled violently at my handle bars, narrowly missing his bike. “You crazy kid,” I yelled. “That’s what it’s all ’bout, ain’t it?” he laughed. I

stomped down on my peddles and arrowed straight for him. At the last second, he chickened, and pulled away. “Chicken!” I chided. “Oh, yeah,” he challenged, “watch this.” His rickety old

bike came spinning toward me at a remarkable rate of speed. You had to ride Danny’s bike to appreciate it. I did once…once and only once. “Wanna’ trade bikes for awhile, Scov,” Danny asked. “Ok,” I agreed without knowing what I was getting into.

Climbing from my bike, I leaped on Dan’s and peddled off. “Hey,” I complained, “what kinda’ bike is this?” The frame rattled and creaked. Every part on the thing wiggled: the handle bars, the seat, the wheels, the chain guard, the peddles. The fork was bent, the tires low; never able to keep air for more than a day, and the handle grips were cracked and split. I wiggled the handle bars back-and-forth. The wheel slammed against both sides of the fork uncontrollably. “How can you ride this crazy thing Danny?” He just laughed and rode off with my bike.

“I’m comin’ to get you Scov,” he yelled, whooping like an attacking indian. “You better chicken or we’re both dead.” I watched him approach as though in slow motion.

“Would he really ram me,” I wondered. Suddenly I realized he was going to do exactly that. I jerked my bike violently to the right just as he jerked his to the left. We side-swiped front wheels, the axles locking momentarily. I half fell, half jumped, from my bike and rolled gently over the black top. Getting to my knees, I saw Danny rolling from his bike. He was laughing! The bikes were tumbling apart as though a large hand had chopped between them. As we stared in frozen fascination, Danny’s front wheel ripped from it’s fork, and continued spinning across the pavement until it came to rest several yards away. I looked at Danny. The grin on his face could have powered a city.

“You ever see such a thing,” he boasted. “Couldn’t do that if you tried again, I bet ya'”

Practically every kid knew someone growing up who acted like Daffy Duck. Crazy, silly, loud, sputtering, daring, fast, goofy, laughing with and laughing at, uncoordinated, everywhere at once, flapping, jumping, skipping, hopping, soaring, giddy, over bearing, intoxicated with life; but never boring. That was my Danny. His favorite saying was, “Ain’t ya got no edication? What-a-madder for you, ain’t ya got no bringin’ up?”

Danny and I were always collecting. Collecting what? We collected everything: pop bottles [worth two cents], pop lids, broken bottles, fish hooks, leaves, blades of grass, dirt, rocks, carpet tacks, broken spectacles, string, nails, rubber bands, milk cartons, rusty cans, field mice, and probably anything else one could name. We were especially interested in things others threw away. We often went on treasure hunts just for something to do and I was always amazed at things we found.

Dan was fearless, or so it seemed. He rode his bike courageously through mud, snow, into and through tall grass and weeds, across busy streets, down cluttered ally ways, over bumpy gravel roads. He climbed tall trees, jumped from one to the next, crawled to the end of branches at the highest point in the tree. He climbed fences, garages, walls, flag poles, telephone poles, or anything with a roof. He and I once walked under a short bridge, about two hundred feet long, on thin ice. I know it was thin because the space on either side of the bridge was open water. The ice just remained where the sun had not been able to shine. I was scared spitless; not Dan! He crawled into any opening big enough to yield admittance. He picked up anything that moved: snakes, spiders, ants – red or black – worms, beatles, birds, fish; you name it. Finding a tangle of vines along the Des Moines River, we would dangle from their ends; swinging far out over the water. Dan pretty much hated girls, as I did at that young age, and we thus paled around endlessly day-after-day.

I could tell dozens of stories about Dan and the places we went and the things we did. I am probably even exaggerating his personality all these many years later but he still lives vividly in my memory. Friends are important. The kinds of friends we have are even more important.

Seated in a classroom in Bible college years later, one of my professors spent a few minutes one morning talking about just how important friends are. He remarked how he had heard someone once say that if we obtained five friends, real friends with whom we could trust, in one’s lifetime, we indeed would be blessed. He personally limited that to just two, however. The true figure is probably “#1.” Having a real friend is rare even today. Christians are even guilty of avoiding closeness with others. We are commanded, however, to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2). Obedience to such a command is impossible without closeness.

Several days in a row this passage on bearing each others burdens popped in-and-out of my thinking. I knew the Lord was trying to tell me something but I was not listening too closely for some reason. Finally one day, as the verse fluttered in my mind again, I said, “Lord, I’ve got several burdens of my own right now. As soon as those things are cleared up, then I’ll bare the burdens of others.” The Lord very clearly spoke to me that morning as I walked through the dinning room of my home and said,

“I never said to bare the burdens of others after your own were being managed!”
I was jolted with the revelation and immediately began thinking of the concerns and desires of other fellow Christians. Such constitutes friendship.

For a number of years I have been concerned about the lack of such relationships among fellow Christians. The Church somehow has lost its emphasis on one-on-one. We have gone to “large” and “big” and “huge” and “immense” theology and thus forgotten the “one.” Jesus, of course, ministered to the multitudes and so should we. He also gave his personal attention to “the twelve.” Even within “the twelve,” He seemed to spend more time with Peter, James, and John. John, however, was known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” The four Gospels are likewise filled with remarkable stories of Jesus stopping out of His daily ministry to the multitudes to reach the one – the Galilean demoniac, the woman with the issue of blood, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the nobleman’s son, Peter’s mother-in-law, the blind man, to name a few.

In my counseling, I find many who confess that they lack friends or even personal relationships with others. Many complain of having no friends at all. “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.” (Prov. 18:24). We must show ourselves friendly if we desire to have friends. The best way of doing that, certainly the most personal, is to bare another’s burdens. Show concern. Call them just to visit. Ask about their situation. Pray for them. Make special trips to where they live or work. Drop them a card in the mail.

“And there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” the remainder of Proverbs 18:24, is often quoted and preached from. It is true Jesus is such a friend but such friendship is demonstrated between those of us claiming Christ as Lord and Saviour. I have included this chapter to point out the importance of friendships and the necessity of sharing with others intimately. Make it a commitment. Go out and be a friend. Pal around with someone. Share yourself. Don’t be picky. You may discover the best of friends are Daffy Ducks. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:35).

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