May 21, 2014

Four Little Ducks

Growing up as a child in a military family, I was quite used to hearing time expressed in twenty four hour or military time. Some of the times even gained nicknames. Midnight was "Oh Oh Cocoa". Likely named for the tendency of those pulling night watch to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at midnight. Six thirty in the morning was "Oh Dark Thirty". Again, this makes sense because six o'clock in the morning is often dark. These nicknames for times are fairly well known. When I moved from England to the United States I found these terms in use on both sides of the pond.

What I have never found anywhere else, even after much Internet searching, is our family nickname for 22:22, or twenty two minutes after ten in the evening. In my parent's house this time was always referred to as "Four Little Ducks". The reason for this has it's root in the electric clock that my parents owned. It was, naturally for the era, a delightful Olive Green and had flip down numbers because LED and LCD displays were still far too expensive for most consumer electronic products. The clock displayed the time in 24 hour format and the numerals were nicely printed with graceful curves instead of just straight lines. My parents fancied to compare the digit two's to graceful ducks, so at 22:22, it looked like four little ducks gently gliding to the left.

The reason that the phrase four little ducks not only sticks in my memory, but is my favorite one of all the childhood phrases that I remember, is that for a time as a teenager, that was my bedtime. Even now, with my teenage years far behind me, I still try really hard to be tucked up and lights out by four little ducks.

Tags: Personal