My very first column, and how it all began.

I am a writer.  Telling stories is what I do.  I also write columns for our local paper.  I like writing columns because it limits my story to 700 words or less.

The following is the fist column I wrote for the Georgetown News Graphic in 2011 under the guise of The Back Roads Traveler 

Cracked Cat

I never intended to be a “biker.” I intended to be a horse trainer, then a veterinarian, then a Ph.D, and then I realized that all these things were overrated.  I became a mom during the process of earning my Ph.D in veterinary science, and after discovering I was pregnant with yet another child during my graduate degree, I acquired a MS instead of a Ph.D.

After a short stint in a research lab, I decided my place was in the home with my kids. My type A, overachieving, still slightly competitive personality was not fully satisfied however.  That is when I discovered running.

When I found myself doing laps in the pool after a running injury, I realized I was only one sport short of a triathlon. That’s when I met Mary, my biker buddy and mentor. And that is how I became a biker (at age 35, no doubt).

As a runner, I rescued many a turtle from absolute death.  I would hit stop on my Garmin and dash to its side, gently pick it up and set it on the side of the road.  “Stay out of the road, little buddy.”

Because at heart, I am a crazy animal person.  You know the type: usually worked as a vet tech for some period, owns at least one three-legged animal, has taken out loans to pay for her dog’s cancer treatment … owns chickens.  We like to rescue all creatures great and small.

As a biker, you cover much, much more ground.  The animal lover in me was bursting with lust as I spotted deer and wild turkey on my outing in the hills of Scott County. And when the opportunity to rescue a baby bird from the center of the road presented itself, I demanded we stop and we did. The little veterinarian in me became more and more satisfied with each ride.

On the morning that predicted a 55 percent chance of rain at 8 a.m., Mary and I found ourselves diving into a tobacco barn with our bikes in tow at 8:06.  After a torrential downpour, we picked up our journey where we left off. As we rounded a corner onto a remote country road, I squeezed my brakes hard in response to the saddest animal cry my heart had ever heard (and I have heard many in my time). It was coming from the bush, a ‘Mew! … Mieww! … Mew!”

She was only about 6 weeks old, a kitten. She was drenched and shivering, staring up at me with her pathetically sad eyes. I clip-clopped my way (in my rigid bike shoes) to the single house within walking distance and inquired about the little critter. “Naw, she’s not mine and I don’t need any more,”  the homeowner said.

I apologized to the kitty, “I’m sorry, I tried.” I set her down, wished her luck and we set out on our way.  
As we slowly pedaled off, we turned and saw the little bugger chasing after our bikes, screaming at us.

At first we sped up in an attempt to lose her, but suddenly a Dodge truck came barreling around the corner en route to hit the little thing. I dismounted and set my bike down in one motion, then waved the truck down.

The kitten leaped into my arms and I was instantly attached to her (her claws were embedded in my arm).  I could not leave this careless little creature. I had to rescue her.

She refused to ride in the pockets of my jersey, didn’t fit into my Bento Box, and I definitely could not ride one-handed the 10 miles home. We ultimately settled on a makeshift pouch. I tucked my jersey into my bike shorts, shoved her down the front of my shirt and she rode with her head poking out of the neck hole. Until she fell out … and I ran over her.

With fresh abrasions to her lips and nose, she decided to wiggle less and we made it home in one piece. Her wounds healed in a week or so. I eventually had her spayed and she became part of my family.

My kids named her Lula, but I call her Nosedive.

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