SWEET MARTHA VS. DOG

SWEET MARTHA VS. DOG.

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SWEET MARTHA VS. DOG

                       

‘The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society’ Undergoes a Name Change

The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society is undergoing another name change. It was only a few years ago that we decided to add “and Intellectual Society” to the end; since we are all so smart and eclectic and talk about super amazing things. Now we are changing again.

It was Martha’s idea. Martha has been in The Georgetown #Run Club and Intellectual Society for about 2 years now. But before she was part of the club, she was my #biking partner. Martha is like a mother figure to me, though my mother would have been 67 this year and Martha is in her young fifties. She is the happiest person I’ve ever met. You know the type, always smiling, even when she feels like crying. She is a #hero to me and to countless other pavilion goers that see her busting her butt on the elliptical and in the pool every week.

Martha taught me to ride a bike. Well, she taught me to ride a ‘road’ bike. She took me from a shy, brake-squeezing peddler to a confident cruiser in the span of a year. We ride twice a week in the wee hours of the morning, just her and I. We talk about life and vent all our concerns, after a couple hours we always part ways feeling a heck of a lot better for the time we spent together.

Martha joined the run club as a #newbie #runner. She struggled with issues on and off. She was almost ready to do a half marathon when her first injury occurred: she fractured her foot falling off a step. Once she recovered from that she was doing alright until her dog took her for a walk one day and ruined her shoulder. She recovered from that surgery like a champ. Somewhere along the way though, while getting back into running, she began to have issues with her heals. Every time she ran, she wouldn’t be able to walk the next day.

Now Martha loves the Run Club, but she didn’t feel right showing up and not being able to run. She felt like she wasn’t part of the club anymore. On a ride this weekend she made a request: “Can we rename the run club?” What a great idea! The Georgetown Run and Walk Club and #Intellectual Society, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but that’s okay. We have a lot of people in our club who walk, why not recognize them!

Well, this Monday Martha and I went out for our usual ride. It was wonderful. Martha always mentions how lucky she is to be able to ride bike and enjoy the beautiful mornings in northern Scott County. But this Monday, was different. After parting ways, Martha headed home on her bike to her house and so did I. I made it home, but poor Martha…she didn’t.

About 4 miles from her house she was charged by a dog. The dog hit her front wheel and sent her flying. She landed hard on the ground, breaking her pelvis. Her husband called me from the hospital explaining what happened. I was dumbfounded. She was so strong and happy just an hour before, now she was in the hospital unable to move, she’d have to use a walker and wouldn’t be back to herself for three long months.

I knew this would be hard for Martha; she is one of those people that multitasks and is always moving. She is either biking or #swimming or working in the #garden, caring for her parents, playing her #piano, canning tomatoes; always something.

It didn’t surprise me when I got a text from her husband. He was with her at the hospital and I was sitting at home preparing an email to go out to the run club. I was going to tell everyone about Martha and arrange for all of us to go visit her at the hospital on Tuesday night. The Text simply read: Martha wants to know if we can change the name of the run club again. She wants it to be called: The Georgetown Run and ‘Walker’ Club and Intellectual Society.

No Problem Martha, you just get better soon.

BTW: #Dog owners are responsible for injury caused by their dog whether it be from a bike or an accident caused by them. The ower of the dog that caused this accident had been spoken to many times about her dog and it chasing bikers. The owner blew-off the complaints, telling us that the dog was harmless. That owner (and her homeowners insurance) is now responsible for Martha’s bills and most likely a settlement. Martha spent over a week in the hospital and will have 3 months of rehap.

 

WILD DEATH

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Being the ‘back roads traveler’ that I am, I have made it clear that I delight in the beauty of my surroundings, especially the #wildlife.  There is however, another side to these roads…a darker side…the wild death.

I often ponder the image of a Far Side #Comic, not one that has ever existed but rather one of my own creation.  In the cartoon there is a convertible speeding down a road.  The driver of the car is a deer in sun glasses, riding shot-gun is a raccoon flicking a cigarette out, in the back there is a squirrel and a possum with big grins and hair wild with wind.  On the sides of the road are dead humans of all ages in different stages of decomposition, flattened, with tire tracks through them.

Being on foot or #bike on these back country roads one stumbles (quite literally unfortunately) upon all forms of dead little creatures.  They range from the extremely sick and twisted headless dear to the average everyday leather pouch looking leftovers of last month’s possum.  And of course, everything in between.

Last October found me and my family visiting a #Revolutionary #War reenactment at Fort Boonsboro.  The family and I stood fascinated as an actor showed us how to skin and tan our very own deer hide.  So as a #homeschool mom I was not at all surprised to hear my daughter say, ‘mom, if you find a dead dear on your run today will you bring it home so we can skin it?’

Much to my delight, a large snake met is fate near the end of one of my #runs and I cheerfully brought it to my children for approval.  They were let down; this wasn’t the buck they had imagined.  But after some convincing, I managed to get an audience.  I carefully skinned the #snake with my husband’s fillet knife which was last year’s Christmas gift from my sister.   Finally we found a use for it!  The kids were sporting exited expressions as I pointed out the little guys stomach and ribs.  The expressions faded to horror as the days went on and scent of rotting flesh hung in the air on my porch.  The nice actor never warned me about that.  Ultimately the snake skin was moved farther and farther from the porch as the decaying process resolved itself…so far that we never saw it again.

During deer #hunting season it seemed every dog I saw was guarding his own piece of the kill.  Most of the dogs just warned me with their eyes as I passed and they gnawed on their bone.  One particularly playful dog however simply could not let me pass without joining me for a romp.  So he snatched up his deer leg and brought it along.  As we ran down the road side by side I was being kicked in the butt by a deer leg.  It was rather strange.

Recently on an out-and-back run down my favorite road I spotted a perfect deer skull in the ditch.  The recent rains had evidently washed it down the embankment for me to discover.  A few yards farther down the road I noticed a really nice deer leg.  I made it to my turnaround and ran back with extra spring in my step.  As I approached the leg I barely stopped, just reached down and scooped it up mid stride.  The skull took a little longer.  With a leg in one hand and the skull in the other I loped the last mile and a half home with a strange imbalance.  As cars passed I smiled as if to say, ‘I know! Aren’t they AWESOME!’

When I arrived home I gently placed the deer leg and #skull next to the cat skull, bird skull and cow skull on my porch.  I pushed my door open and found my kids eating breakfast with my husband at the table.  As usual they asked how my run was.  I gave them a big grin and said, ‘hurry up and eat kids, it’s time for science class!’

 

Wild Death (published in the Georgetown News Graphic Column, 2011)

 

 

Back by Popular Demand: Another Possum Story!

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(In the following story, picture the guy above, but in the road with a bloody eyeball hanging from his head.)

Crabby Possum

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.

 

 

Clammy Possum, The untold story

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The newspaper editor swears he ran this story, but I never saw it.  So here it is, just for you…one of my favorites.

 

Clammy Possum

(Fourth of Animal Antics Series)

If you wonder what compels me to ride my bike 100 miles a week, it is not just for the social outlet, it is also because I am a triathlete.  My long therapy rides with Mary are also training rides.  

My most proud/embarrassing animal-rescue-bike-ride involves a 30 mile solo ride.  Mary couldn’t ride on this virtuous morning so I set out alone.  This loop goes through sections of Fayette and Bourbon County and tends to have more commuter traffic than our more remote routes in Scott County.  I was on a mission, I wanted to average over 17 miles an hours.  So I assumed a nice tuck whenever possible and focused on speed.  

As I headed down the road, surrounded by thoroughbred farms, I passed a dead possum.   This is not unusual as you know; they are common road kill in these parts.  But as I glanced back I noticed this dead possum was different, something wasn’t right.  I hesitantly came to a stop, risking a sub 17 mile per hour ride, and pedaled back to the not yet bloated carcass.

I was right, it was dead.  But on its tummy, squirming in and out of its pouch were half a dozen or so little pink bodies.  Her babies were still alive…   (insert your favorite sound effect here…eek! Ew! Blahh!Hmmm?)

Lucky for me, she was hit next to a driveway.  I pulled my bike off the road and began unloading my under-the-seat-flat-repair-pouch, shoving its contents into my behind-the-handlebars-bento box.  Then I glanced at the dead possum.  Blunt trauma to the head.  She didn’t suffer.  

I reached down, shoved my hand into the cold pouch of the dead beast and grasped the slightly wet and sticky body of the pink possum baby.  I pulled and much to my surprise, the thing was attached and refused to let go of its mother.   “Come on!  Let go!  She’s dead already.  I’m trying to save you!”  I decided to get tough and yanked.  It let go of the nipple and I shoved it into my newly emptied bike pouch/bag.  As I reached down to grab another one I heard the sound of an oncoming car.  Instantly I let go, turned away from the dead animal and begin to pretend I was tying my shoe.

At this point, I am assuming most motorist are not aware that bike shoes do not have laces, they have Velcro and they don’t become untied while biking.  I am also pretending that it is not strange that I chose to ‘tie my shoe’ right next to the carcass of a possum.  The truck passed, I resumed my rescue.  Another one goes into the bike pouch.  Each time a car passed I would ‘tie my shoe’, then resume.

Eventually I had seven live babies.  I felt around deep into the dead animals pouch, searching for another moving baby, but the rest were cold and dead.  It was time to zip up the bike pouch and go.

With a sad farewell to the dead possum mommy, I hit start on my wrist Garmin again and set out for home.  The adrenaline of the rescue carried me.  I averaged 18 miles an hour when I got to my driveway, a personal record!

Once in the house I greeted my family with a smirk.  They knew instantly that I was up to my antics. I showed them my find and they followed orders like nurses in a surgery room.  They brought me a heating pad, some baby blankets, the kitten milk replacer.  My kids watched with excitement as the little pink possums slowly came back to life.  I discouraged the kids from getting too attached, as they couldn’t stay with us, I am not licensed to rehab wild animals (believe it or not).

Once they were warm and fed, I found the number of a local licensed rehabber and delivered the little guys to her.  The rehabber promised to send pictures of the little buggers as they grow.  I am anxiously awaiting their arrival.