That was way back in the 1920s. When I went to Zimbabwe some 50 years later as a teacher at Matopo Secondary School (the same place my grandparents lived), I met an old woman who had lived there for a long time. She asked me, “What’s your name?” “Daryl Climenhaga.” “Who was your father?” “David Climenhaga.” “Who was your grandfather?” “John Climenhaga.” Then she delivered the coup de grace: “You walk like your grandfather.”
Great! I walk like a duck! Since then I have had various opportunities to embrace my inner duck.
Class Reunion at Messiah College, about 20 years after seeing my classmates. I saw an old friend across the grass as I walked towards the Eisenhower Center. “Daryl!” (Always nice to be remembered.) “I recognized you by the way you walk.” (Great. Embrace your inner duck.)
I have the comfort of knowing that my father bears the same burden. My grandparents had three sons: Arthur, David, and Joel. One day their wives (Grandma Emma, Arlene, Dorcas, and Zoe were standing in front of their house watching their husbands walk down the driveway. They burst out laughing, causing the men to turn around in surprise. “We were just watching four bumps on a log.” So all four of them walked like ducks.
One of our sons recently said that he is trying not to walk like a duck. Good luck! These things are too deeply ingrained from watching our father walk as we learn to walk for us to simply set them aside. Embrace your inner duck!Besides, ducks can be aggressive creatures when they defend their families and take care of each other. Maybe waddling and dancing don’t seem to go together, but then again even ducks can learn to dance!
There’s lots of other attributes from my father and grandfather that I also want to embrace: their commitment to God; their commitment to their spouse; their care for their family (in spite of the problems that our family has known); their love of truth; their love of music and learning; their desire to help make the world around them better. There are the usual culprits of qualities I would like to leave behind, but for the most part I want to embrace my inner duck.