C • A • N • V • A • S • B • A • C • K • S
AN D THE FABULOU S DU CK PICKING MACHINE
MMy father taught me to fish with a split bamboo rod and a little
B Y R O B E R T R E H D E R
Penn No. 9 reel on the surf near a jetty in front of our house on
Shearwater Street at Wrightsville Beach. We happily caught bluefish,
puppy drum and flounder. But he didn’t hunt so I knew little of
hunting until one particular day that is forever seared in my memory.
My dad had a florist shop on Dawson Street in Wilmington and
on Saturdays I would occasionally ride to work with him, especially
at Christmas when the store was decorated for the holidays and
buzzing with activity. He had a big commercial cooler that held
fresh cut flowers that came each morning from the fields and green-houses
in Castle Hayne.
The scent of those beautiful flowers — gladiolus, snap dragons,
carnations and lilies — was like magic in the cold air, and so I
would sneak into the cooler from time to time, and he would fuss
at me if I left the door open.
On a visit one Christmas season when I was about 10, I went
into the cooler and there among the vases of flowers was a strange
wooden box. The box held four drake canvasback ducks, a gift
delivered that morning from my father’s friend Dan Cameron.
At the time I’m not sure I even knew they were ducks, much less
prized canvasbacks, but I recall the moment like it was yesterday.
I was fascinated as I held one of the lovely birds with its gorgeous
burgundy and silver herringbone plumage and its clean, wild scent.
My father said I could ride on the next delivery and take them to
Robert Rehder with speckled trout from Mason’s Inlet in 1975. Rehder and his son, Kyle, duck hunting together in 2009.
WBM october 2019
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROBERT REHDER