Friday, July 15, 2011

One Hen, Two Ducks- The Secret Origin Story

When I was a kid, I went to camp most summers.  I love camp- as a kid it was Girl Scout camp, church camp, space camp, ski camp, day camp.  More recently it's been science camp or quilt camp.  Mmmm camp!  One year at ski camp up in Oregon, we were taking a hike on an off day to some pretty cool waterfalls.   Waterfalls were of great interest to me, having grown up in the mountains of the desert southwest where such things are rare.

The notation scrawled on the back of this photo informs
 me that these are Ramona Falls and the year was 1993.

Anyway,  along the hike, one of the counselors taught us this crazy-silly poem I call "One Hen, Two Ducks".  I later taught it to my sister and we've been teaching it to kids ever since.  I even taught it to the audience at an open mic night once at a different camp a few years later.

One hen.
One hen. Two ducks.
One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese.
....Four corpulent porpoises.
....Five limerick oysters.
....Six pairs of dynal varsey tweezers.
....Seven thousand Macedonian warriors all in full battle array.
....Eight brass monkeys from the sacred, ancient crypts of Egypt.
....Nine empathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity for procrastination and sloth.
....Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul, stall, and quo the quey of the quivey all at the very same time.

It's meant to be taught one line at a time, with each number getting to be successively more of a mouthful.  I don't even know what some of those mean (if anything).  Once you've learned it, if you say it really fast, you can almost get the whole thing in one breath; I usually run out of air at the end of nine and have to gasp to finish ten.  It always makes people laugh, and when I finished the one-block wonder quilt with all its fabulous hidden animals, I remembered all the crazy things in this poem and thought "One Hen, Two Ducks" would be a good name for the quilt.  No one else (aside from my sister) got the name though, and I received show comments once in which a judge said she liked the quilt but was still looking for the hen and ducks.  But now you too know the story!