It’s a yellow, rubber duck.  A simple toy with hopefully fond memories from a happy childhood. But like a daisy chain necklace, a rubber duck isn’t as simple as first it appears.  

A friend’s partner recently passed away and while the friend and I haven’t been close since high school, we’re both somewhat aware of the path of each other’s life.  Her’s has been difficult, and my heart aches for what she’s now going through.  As I laid in bed last night thinking about her, a memory of innocent times popped in for a visit.  We made daisy chain necklaces.  It was a favorite adornment of ours and it bugs the hell out of me because I can’t recall how to connect the last stem to the first stem to make it hold together round our necks for an afternoon of play (I wonder if she does?).

I lost sleep thinking about it and the problem of that crucial last step became tangled in the heartache I feel for her loss. I cried for her.  And part of me cried because I couldn’t remember how to connect the ends of those stupid necklaces – those things around our necks that looked like shit the next day but bound together our youthful years. The memory of the joyous simplicity of those daisy chain necklaces suddenly became one of pathos. And complexity.  

My friend and I spent a lot of time together, but as farm kids, we spent a lot of time on our own as well.  My favorite toys were used for imagined travel.  A Viewmaster.  A fortune teller of folded paper with crayon dreams. A Magic 8 Ball, of which one has always, and will always, sit on my desk. These simple toys were magnificent travel tools in the hands of my imagination.  And so it was from this perspective of appreciation for simple toys that I approached the yellow, rubber duck during a recent solo journey. 

I don’t recall playing with a rubber duck in the bathtub.  Too young I guess. But this rubber duck, while possibly and superficially at home in a small body of water, is for grown ups — grown ups who day dream a lot about travel. From the first time I read about this thing, this travel trophy, this simple, rubber duck that has nothing to do with bathtub playtime, I wanted one.  My Magic 8 Ball and the paper fortune teller and the Viewmaster needed a new, deceptively naive, travel toy.  

They say the journey is all that matters. As I think about my friend, mostly I say that’s a BS lie.   But this time, on this journey, they were right.  


The yellow, rubber duck given to Lufthansa's First Class Passengers at their First Class Terminal/Lounge in Frankfurt, Germany

Not-so-simple, yellow, rubber duck

First class rose and early refreshments

On the way for the rubber duck

a reflection in the plane window

Everything At Once

caviar with all the accruements, and no skimping either

the rubber duck better be worth this

Lufthansa's first class cheese course

no words left

Lufthansa's first class breakfast course


the Porsche that provided transfer

The Transfer

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