When you have all your ducks in a row

The antagonism has risen to a new level. After we housed and fed and entertained my daughter, son-in-law, three of the grands, and a grand-dog for five days—five days—we started finding tiny plastic ducks. Everywhere.

On our bookshelves, in the fridge, on the fireplace mantle, in coat pockets and backpack pockets, in our spice rack, in the pantry. I mean … everywhere.

My daughter, son-in-law, and the grands are avid Oregon Duck fans while Dan, who attended Oregon State University, supports the Beavers.

Generally speaking, this competition hasn’t made a difference in family dynamics. For the most part, the Johnson/Conn Ducks and the Lawry Beavers tolerate each other’s quirks and peculiarities.

Until last week.

We couldn’t get a straight answer from my daughter or the boys as to how 72 ducks ended up in our house. No one knew anything about the ducks. They were all innocent.

Payback will be fun. But until then, consider this ancient proverb:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

In ancient days, iron tools were sharpened with another piece of metal. The friction caused heat, which was necessary in order to have an effective tool in one’s tool belt. This verse refers to people rubbing up against each other through friendship and conversation and how that makes us sharper, and wiser, and more refined.

I belong to a writers’ critique group, and we are iron-sharpening-iron in action. “Seriously? You want me to cut this part of the story? But it’s my favorite part!”

And yet, their critique, their iron-sharpening skills are always, always for the improvement of my writing.

I’m pretty sure the author of this proverb didn’t have our “excessive duck” situation in mind when he wrote about friction and the importance of people in our lives who help sharpen us. But hiding 72 ducks in our house? That’s the kind of iron-sharpening that has stimulated our brains to come up with a brilliant idea of our own that says, “We were here” (not that their idea was brilliant, or anything).

It was Jane Howard, an English novelist, who said:

Call it a clan. Call it a network. Call it a tribe. Call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Jane Howard

In all honesty, it makes us smile every time we find another duck (we’re pretty sure there are more hiding). Truth be known, I’m grateful for our clans. We have more than one set of dear friends who are estranged from their closest family members. And their pain hurts our hearts.

Dan and I both have kids and grands who like us, and who like each other, and I want to always recognize that as a priceless gift.

Quite honestly, we would get all our ducks in a row … if we could find them all.


I had a visitor the other day and when she heard the duck story, she started looking around the house. “I want to find a duck!” she said. Sure enough, she found one. In a jar. In our pantry.


How are you doing at living fully?


  1. Chris Wheeler

    So if they bought the same package I did there is more before you get to 100 🦆. Happy hunting ( I put mine in granddaughters bedroom )

    • Marlys Lawry

      This is what we’re worried of, Chris! (We’ve found 3 more since I posted the blog 🥴)

  2. Allison

    What fun, a take over by rubber duckies. I do wonder how many more will show up and where. Let me know how the payback planning goes. I’m still looking for rubber beavers. 😉

    • Marlys Lawry

      It has been fun, Allison … but I’ll never admit that to my daughter!

  3. Cheryl White

    That is so funny! You should get a BIG one for their yard – or maybe a few bumper stickers 🙂 I have a feeling you and Dan will have the last laugh. They were pretty creative in their hiding places. I’m sure they had a lot of laughs doing that 🙂

  4. Pat

    Oh how I love this fun!

    Our son’s SAC STATE Hornets baseball team beat the Ducks tonight! Our G-Son hit 2 home runs off a Duck pitcher! Fun times…
    I so enjoy all that you write!

    Hugs from CA

  5. Jimmie Reed

    An interesting side note, the duck is also a Jeep thing. If you as a Jeep owner see another Jeep in the parking or where you leave a small duck on the windshield or side mirror…. Wherever so they can easily see. And you can either leave a note with it or not. Just a way of saying I see you. I have to look up the origin of the tradition.

    • Julie Miller

      Oh what fun, just imagining the giggles that accompanied the plotting!

      Sweet story Marlys, that’s a house full of love…and ducks.


    • That’s awesome, Jimmie. We have a Jeep Wrangler … and now we have 75 ducks (we found more after I posted the blog)!

      A friend of mine, after reading this story, took a photo of a Jeep dashboard lined with ducks. It was in a parking lot near where she parked. I’ll have to look up the origin, as well.

  6. BJ Butler

    Marlys, this was so fun! How is Dan coping with the duck invasion…nightmares? Well, when Allison finds the rubber BEAVERS I’m in!

    • BJ – Dan will probably need counseling because he never knows if, upon opening a drawer, another duck will jump out at him (we’re up to 75 ducks and we’re pretty sure there are more). It’s causing quite a bit of anxiety.

  7. So fun! Thanks for the smiles – and good thoughts about our critique group friends! 😂👏🏻🙌❤️✍️❤️😊

  8. Penny

    We too have Oregon Duck fans…… and truthfully they are very committed to that team…. we also have some Beaver fans…… when the BIG game is going to be played the lines are drawn in how our team is the best!! You talk about a clan, a tribe or a family, I choose the family…. very much imperfect but perfect to me!! I can’t imagine a world full of me…… that makes me shiver!! My family is everything to me, growing up family was an abstract thing, LOVE was not a common spoken word. My family hears this word almost every day….I don’t want them to remember never hearing that word!! I hope every duck you find brings a smile to you both, imagine their fun but most of all, remember their love……. 💗

    • Wise words, Penny: “… imagine their fun but most of all, remember their love.” Thank you! And when we pay them back, it will be done in love!

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