The family duck shack was a place where food tasted better, stars shone brighter, and the banter was brisk and lively. The crisp fall days featured a backdrop of deep blue skies and golden grass waving in the breeze. Majestic mountains towered in the distance and the velvet black sky at night twinkled with more stars than one could ever count. On special nights, we were regaled with the Aurora Borealis as they danced above the city lights across the Cook Inlet. Lazy days laughing and giggling with my four sisters and brother, and sharing stories of the hunt that have become family lore and grown more colorful over the years. And the food! Even simple fare prepared on old Coleman stove at the duck shack tasted better than any entre at a gourmet restaurant.
Those are among my most treasured memories of childhood.
In later years, brothers-in-law were grudgingly invited to the old tarpaper shack on the slough. It was, after all, a rite of passage in our family. Stories were told and retold late into the night around the plywood table, under the light of a propane lantern and warmed by the fire crackling in the old barrel stove. With the addition of a grill on the deck, char-broiled steak with "duck shack" mushrooms became a first night tradition.
Today, nieces and nephews, eagerly jump out of the plane on Opening Day, running to claim a bunk in the new shack on the slough. The family had outgrown the old tarpaper shack, so it seemed fortuitous that a few years back my newly minted husband, David, straight off the streets of New York City, accidentally blew up the old duck shack. But that's another story…one that is gleefully told and retold by the other brothers-in-law when they all get together over fine food with great wine.
The Duck Shack is a place where tall tales take wing and become the stuff of legend, the inspiration for Duck Shack wines. Wines that are meant to be poured wherever friends gather and tall tales are told.