(In the following story, picture the guy above, but in the road with a bloody eyeball hanging from his head.)
Mary and I go biking on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We usually meet around seven and ride the narrow back roads of Scott and Harrison Counties until nine. Mary and I have gotten to know each other pretty well since we started biking together a year ago.
We chit-chat as we bike. While she rambles on about something, I listen patiently, giddy with anticipation of my turn to ramble. This is our time. We get to vent and decompress and after two hours of bike therapy, we are new women and ready to take on the day.
It took a few rides before she realized I was a little animal crazy.
On a ride last August, Mary and I were surprised to find a possum sitting in the middle of the road. With its teeth sneering at us, we didn’t dare get near. As we passed, I could see it had been hit by a car and suffered head trauma. It had been circling in the middle of the road, with a little blood trail behind it. The animal rescuer in me panicked, Mary kept rambling as if there were no suffering possum in the center of the road.
I tried to make eye contact as we passed. I was hoping to see sweet lovie eyes, the kind of dark glossy innocent eyes a puppy has. But this guy only had angry eyes for me. He had a frothy grimace on his face that dared me to rescue him. Mary warned me to leave it alone. And we rode off.
On our way home, the thing was still there, alive, but now laying in the middle of the road. My heart ached. I simply could not leave the thing there, only to be hit again by another passing car. I had decided in my mind to come back with my car later, scoop it up and get it the care it needed (whether he liked it or not). I would never admit this to Mary, she is a good friend but she may draw the line at rescuing a half dead possum.
I had to get the thing to the side of the road however, if I wanted to have a live possum to come back to. I told Mary to stop and let me move the thing. She panicked at the risk. I maneuvered my bike so as to use my wheel as a shovel. I pushed it across the road, as it snarled and bit at my tire. Once safely on the side, I telepathically told him I would be back and not to worry.
After returning home, I loaded up my kids into the station wagon and set out to rescue the brain injured possum. I explained to my kids the situation, they knew the drill, they were not strangers to their mommy’s animal antics. We arrived at the curve and rolled down our windows in search of the poor angry possum. Crunching along, tires turning slowly so as not to miss the thing, I spotted the telltale white hair…and then the entrails. The intestines and liver….yep …that’s him. “Looks like the turkey vultures got to him first kids”. Oh, well, can’t save ‘em all.
I never told Mary about returning to the angry possum. Had we known each other better then, I would have considered it. Had I returned to a live possum that was ultimately saved by my heroic efforts, I may have told her. But it was a half-baked effort to save a mostly baked possum and it was by far more embarrassing then brag worthy.