So, last Thursday I had kind of a stressful day.
My husband was scheduled for a medical procedure where he would have to be put under complete sedation. Amongst other things, this test was to be sure he didn’t have anything ‘bad’ going on inside his body. I tried not to show it, but I was seriously worried.
Thankfully, the procedure went well and all appears to be under control. However, he did need some prescription medicine. So, after I got him home and resting in bed, I headed off to the grocery store to get his prescription filled and do a little grocery shopping. After picking up some meat, ice cream, cottage cheese, wine and milk, I headed home.
Forgive me while I go into details about the scene I’m going to describe. One of the main roads in my neighborhood is a four-lane street with a raised center divider. There are also left turn lanes at the intersections. This roadway is fairly busy and people drive way faster than they should. On each side of the road there is vegetation of grass, plants and shrubs. The center divider also has flowers, trees, and plants. It’s a lovely neighborhood.
I’m driving home from the market and see some road-kill in the street. I don’t look too closely, because it always breaks my heart to see the dead animals. I come to a signal-controlled intersection. The intersection is a ‘T’ configuration with the top part of the ‘T’ being on the four-lane road, and the ‘support’ section of the ‘T’ being a side street.
I’m in the number #1 (left) lane of the street. There is one car in front of me, and one car in the lane next to me. There is no one directly next to me. We are all stopped at a red light.
The light changes and the car in front of me surges ahead. Suddenly, a gaggle of ducklings veers from beneath that car and heads toward the car in the #2 lane that is now beginning to accelerate forward. I’m thinking I’m going to witness a duckling massacre, but the little guys were fast and got out of the way of that car in the nick of time by running back my way. I put on my hazard lights and put my car in park and start to get out of my car. Which sends the little guys back into the #2 lane.
I look in my rear-view mirror and I see a car fast approaching in the #2 lane. I did what any normal human being would do…I pulled my car across both lanes of traffic, which had the desired effect of slowing down and stopping all the approaching traffic. It would have been better if I’d been in a police car though. Anyway…
I’ve got traffic stopped in two of the lanes of traffic and I’m in the middle of this intersection trying to shoo the ducklings out of the traffic lanes. Another lady is on the sidewalk encouraging me, but she has a young daughter with her and I don’t think she wanted to have her daughter in the street.
I have to say, I haven’t lost my command presence since I’ve been retired. I had all four lanes of traffic at a stop, plus one poor woman on the side street. A lone duckling had gotten under her car and I kept telling her not to move. Thankfully, she was okay with that. Surprisingly, not one car honked or moved – even when the light changed.
Finally I got the ducklings up on the sidewalk, but not before I’d lost two who’d slid into the storm drain. Meanwhile, about seven other people had stopped to help – one of them being a woman who worked in an animal hospital. She had a crate where we began placing the ducklings after we caught them.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking of my husband – who needs his meds and worry that my ice cream is melting. I tell the crew I have to go, but I’ll be back.
I go home, my husband is on the phone, I throw his meds to him, and tell him I’ll be back. I get my groceries and throw the perishables in the freezer and fridge.
On my way back to the scene, I stop at the nearby fire station and begin banging on the door. No one came. Luckily a rescue ambulance returns to the station. I explain to the paramedics what’s going on and that we’ve got two ducklings in the storm drain. To my relief they seem eager to help out.
The paramedics get to the scene and make short work of opening the storm drain. One of the men lowers himself into the hole and after a few minutes comes up with one of the ducklings. Unfortunately, the other duckling was afraid and ran down an off-shoot of the storm drain.
In total, I think we rescued eight ducklings. Sadly, the ‘road kill’ was the mother duck and one duckling.
One of my fellow rescuers was going to take the ducklings to a wildlife animal refuge where the ducklings would be raised by hand until they were ready to be set free.
When I got home, I apologized to my husband and explained where I’d been. When I got to the point in the story about getting out of my car, stopping traffic, and duck wrangling, he clapped his hands and said, “Good for you! You did the right thing.”
I still worry about the duckling that ran down the storm drain. In fact, I’ve been back several times to see if I could see him/her. Yes, I’ve got a soft heart…but don’t tell anyone!