Friday was reporter AnneMarie Knepper’s last day at the Democrat-Herald, and as luck would have it, before she left the office for the last time she got to hear — amazingly, for the first time — a legendary story from DH yore: the zucchini duck.
Here’s the photo that for some reason isn’t visible when you click on that link:
It’s hard to believe AnneMarie could’ve worked here nearly five years and not heard about the ZD, because it’s definitely something we talk about in the newsroom with a bit of regularity. It wasn’t exactly a proud moment for the paper the day we for some reason decided to lead the front page — as in, A1 — with a kid holding a curiously shaped vegetable.
But we did it, and now, lo these many years later, we can laugh about it. Sort of.
As we recounted the ZD story Friday night, the discussion group included four of us — Hasso Hering, Les Gehrett, David Patton and myself — who were on the staff on that fateful day, Sept. 22, 1999, when the duck flew into our circulation area’s consciousness.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe it was 1999,” Les said. “I remember the zucchini duck like it was yesterday.”
“This can be a little game: Where Were You On Zucchini Duck Day,” I said.
“Kate was probably in kindergarten,” Les said of copyeditor Kate Schell. For the record, Kate is quite young, but not that young. She was in elementary school at the time.
“I was in my first year in high school,” AnneMarie said.
My son Bob and his fellow sports part-timer, Scott Campbell, were in junior high. Photographer Jesse Skoubo was in high school.
What about you: Where were you on 9/22/99, a day that lives in comical semi-infamy for us longtime DH staffers?
Btw, none of this is at all a criticism of the boy in the photo, 9-year-old Todd Miller of Lacomb, the son of Laurie and Rick Miller. And it is a pretty interesting-looking zucchini.
It’s just that ideally, we’d have something a bit newsier on the front page, but, well, these things happen I suppose.