Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shipshewanna & Josephine

Installment 1: Shipshewanna

Somewhere along the road in Indiana. Three states in one day - Ohio, Michigan, Indiana. It sounds more impressive than the reality. Flat terrain. Obnoxious semis. Corn fields.

Around the 15th mile I sat at the front of my group signaling the left turn we had to take when I heard a scream. You might have called it a shriek. A yelp of excitement.

I turned around and saw a semi approaching the three girls behind me. And something behind that. Something small. Something running with all of its fury. Its speed was surprising.

"Oh my god oh my god." The girls screamed for me. I heard the semi breaking, that staccato exhale from the engine loud enough to remind you just how easily it could smother your existence with a single bump.

Me & Shippy

There was a kitty in the road. I biked up to it and it ran towards me, right into my hands. He shook and shook. We just stood there for a while, giving the orphan love. Then we walked it to the nearest home, Dorothy Shepherd's, and handed it off. Diana named it Shipshewanna after the town in Indiana whose name enamored her.

I called Dorothy a few days later to confirm that ol' Shippy now had a happy new home. It's living in a barn, Dorothy told me, with two horses, a mule, and it eats like a hog. "Ol' Shippy's getting fat," Dorothy boasted.

Dorothy & Shippy

Installment 2: Josephine

Mile 78 during our 115 mile day into Jacksonville, Illinois. Saw a lot of road kill that day. Turtle stew. Squashed squirrel. Possum brains. Snake innards. Everyday really, but you remember the road kill on days you nearly kill an animal yourself.

We had just left a water stop and passed three flattened ducklings in the middle of the road when Tom out in front spotted the lone surviving baby running for dear life into a field. I don't know why, but we decided it would be a good idea to catch it, dote over it, and eventually enact a rescue.

Tom & Josephine

The duckling was shaking, like ol' Shippy. The video below shows the epic capturing of the duckling. We put it in the back of Tom's jersey and transported it to our next water stop where Josephine, the feminine version of a Joey (baby Kangaroos inside of their mama's pouch), was placed inside of a box until animal rescue was called and saved that cute ducky.

This video depicts the rescue of Josephine and the unfortunate fate of his brother and sister.

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