Chapter 1 - Puddles & Rocky

My name is Puddles, and I am a permanent guest here at Noahs Park Retreat.  My guardian friend is helping me tell my news as I have little webbed feet, and I have problems holding a pencil or typing.  I am a Call duck which means I am quite small and dainty, and I have pretty white feathers.  Altogether, I am happy with the way I look.  I am very pretty! 

For many years, I lived in the yard where Noah landed his ark, not one of the original passengers (ha ha!), but I have been here a looooong time, and I look terrific for my age.   I had a friend named Splash, another Call duck, and we lived together in a large apartment complex and shared many happy days going to lunch and scratching around for desserts (grasshoppers are one of my favorites), and taking long strolls.  One day, we went outside our area and took a long walk down the driveway to see the world.  Our guardian friends were pretty upset that we took off, but not to worry, at dusk we returned strolling up the middle of the driveway, chatting as we waddled.  Honestly, I don't know what all the fuss was about!  In our travels, Splash and I discovered a pretty yard with a pond at Noahs Park Retreat, not too big and not too small, perfect to swim in.  So when our lease was up, we moved across the way and settled in at the pond at Noahs Park Retreat.  

One day, as I was taking my morning walk, I found Splash lying on the ground.  I began CPR, and my guardian friend came to help, but Splash was no more.  My friend explained that although Splash was no longer living here on earth at our pond, she was in heaven swimming around, and having a good ole time.  Heaven, where lions and lambs lay down together, and little Call ducks don't have to worry about foxes and such.  After that, my guardian friend put extra boards at the bottom of the fence, and it was decided that I could have a large cottage near the pond.

I moved in and found it to be quite spacious and comfortable.  One morning, as I was enjoying a cup of tea and sunning myself in the doorway, I saw a strange animal approaching me.  He was wearing a beautiful brown fur coat, and had long skinny legs and large dark eyes.  His face was pleasant to look at, and he spoke in a friendly manner.  He said, "Good morning, Ms. Duck.  How are you today?"   I replied "Very well, Sir.  Are you new to these parts?"  "Indeed I am", he responded.  "My name is Rocky, and I have traveled far and wide.  You see, I joined a traveling circus when I was quite young, and I went to many different lands.  Originally, my parents were from Australia - Cavies, we are from the clan of Capybara."  "Well", I said, "I am pleased to meet you.  My name is Puddles, and I have lived on this mountaintop for as long as I can remember." With the introductions over, I offered Rocky some tea and crumbles (a food we ducks eat).  He seemed quite please with this and declared the crumbles "delish"!  Rocky proceeded to clean his paws and whiskers, and I thought how neat and tidy he is.  I also noticed how small and dainty his feet were.
Rocky then said, "Thank you Ms. Puddles for the lovely lunch.  Would you happen to know if there are any places to stay in this area?  I was living in a small barn on the other side of the big house (where our guardian friends live) with my wife, Clover.  We were happy together even though it was an arranged marriage.  One morning, my wife was doing her aerobics, leaping and twisting in the air.  And when she landed, she kind of keeled over, took sick she did, was never the same after that, and eventually, she passed over to that great meadow in the sky.  So I am looking for a new place to live.  I felt lonely in the small barn, and it's not the same without Clover. 

"Oh Mr. Rocky, I lost a dear friend myself so I know how you feel.  Actually, this cottage is quite large, and if it suits you, you are welcome to stay here.  Let me show you the yard and the pond with the little bridge."  After our walk, Mr. Rocky said he enjoyed it very much so he said he would get his belongings and move in. 

Chapter 2 - Meeting Lilly

Mr. Rocky and Ms. Puddles were sitting in their yard admiring the grasses and watching the birds visiting the bird feeder when their guardian friend appeared with a white rabbit.  This wasn't any old white rabbit.  She was huge!  Rocky and Puddles looked at her in amazement.  Introductions were made, and Lilly took a good look around.  She whispered, "Well, I suppose it will do for now anyways until my modeling agency calls.  Then it's on the to the Ritz."  "What brings you here?" Puddles asked.  "Oh, I have lived here and there", Lilly answered, "even in the big house (the guardian's house), but the dogs that live there are so noisy, I couldn't get all the beauty sleep I need.  So if I like it here, I will live here." Rocky and I looked at each other.  Well, Ms. Lilly", Rocky said, "Let's see if there's enough room in the cottage; you are rather large."  "Yes, I am big and beautiful.  Look at my gorgeous coat and ears.  You should see me in my jewels!"  "Oh dear", said Puddles, "you'll be bringing accessories to? We'd better check the rooms to see if there's one large enough."  " Indeed", said Ms. Lilly, "I must have a view so I need a room with a window.  This one will do nicely.  Thank you.  What do you think, Ms. Puddles?"  I, of course, was completely speechless; however, I was in awe of Ms. Lilly's glamor, and wanted to know more about her modeling career so I agreed.  Mr. Rocky was concerned about the jewelry and other wardrobe.  "It won't fit", he said.  So it was agreed that Ms. Lilly would leave her belongings in the big house once she was assured none of the dogs would wear or play with any of her things.  And so it was, we became three friends. 

Chapter 3 - Lilly's History

I asked Ms. Lilly one day if she had always been alone.  She proceeded to tell her story, "I had a sister named Lilac.  She was very adventuresome, and would do anything on a dare, more of a tomboy than me.  I, of course, always cared about my appearance - so important I think.  Lilac took off on an adventure and not returned so there's only me all my myself, no other family.  "Oh", said Mr. Rocky, "perhaps you have some distant cousins.  There are a lot of small brown rabbits around here."  Ms. Lilly responded, "I doubt it, my relatives are in belgium" as she wiggled her whiskers and stamped her large foot ever so slightly.  With that, Puddles put the kettle on so they might have tea - everything seems easier with a hot cup of tea.  Waiting for the water to boil, she said, "When I think on these things about a small, beautiful, but modest Call duck and a distinguished Cavie gentleman, and a large beautiful Flemish rabbit, all of us so different yet having suffered some personal sorrow that has given us common ground.  Beauty for ashes! Our friendship!  And now we are family!"

Chapter 4 - A Winter's Day

One winter morning, Puddles arose late.  Lilly and Rocky had already eaten as the kitchen table had crumbles and half-eaten slices of bread and jam.  Puddles sighed and began tidying up.  When she finished, she put the kettle on to boil.  After a hearty breakfast of toast, jam, and crumbles, she felt content and ready to start the day.  Puddles took off her apron and waddled towards her room to make her bed.  "Oh dear I am putting on too much weight" she thought as she struggled with her straw mattress.  I've been stuck here in the house with all this snow.  I really need to get some exercise.  Next, she swept the floor and straightened the pillows on her little sofa. 
"I wonder where Lilly and Rocky went?"  Puddles put on her scarf, a long red one she wrapped around and around her neck.  She smoothed her downy coat and opened the front door to step into the garden.  "Wow Wow!" Puddles exclaimed, but it came out "Quack Quack!"  The snow was at least 3 feet high everywhere she looked.  The air snapped with cold.  "Brrrrr!  Why I can't even see my beautiful pond.  Oh there's the little bridge"  Puddles set out on the narrow path her guardian friends had made.  She strolled towards the bird feeder to visit with her friends, the red cardinals, the sparrows, and others.  "Good morning" she called out.  "Good morning Miss", Mr. Sparrow responded and his Mrs. nodded.  "How are you?" inquired Puddles.  "Oh fairly well" replied Mrs. Sparrow.  "Can't complain.  I am looking forward to Spring.  The house needs a bit of sprucing up, and you can't do a thing in this weather.  Puddles turned and looked at the large lavender and grey bird home hanging on a fence nearby the cottage.  Just then, she spotted Lilly and Rocky just beyond a large snowbank.  "Hi Hi" she called, and the two started towards her.  Lilly was enjoying herself leaping playfully in the air, her beautiful thick white coat glistening with snow diamonds - "Oh what a beautiful morning!  Such fun!  I've had such a great workout for my figure!  You should jump a bit Puddles."  Rocky came up at that moment, and they turned to look at him.  "I am going in" he said, "it's cold".  Puddles noticed he hadn't worn his hat and boots.  "I will join you" Puddles said.  She was a tad miffed at Lilly's suggestion to jump about  Her legs were too short although she could jump into her pond with no problem, but all that cavorting over snowbanks?  No thank you!  "Come on Rocky, I will make some tea to warm us, and I think we have a bit of carrot cake left over.  Bye Lilly." 

Puddles said to herself, "Tomorrow I will start a diet.  It's just too cold today".  Rocky sat enjoying the cake and tea, and resting his dainty little feet.   And so, the winter afternoon wound down with Lilly attending to her aerobics, and Puddles and Rocky having the tea and cake with good intentions for tomorrow.