I was out photographing roadkill this morning. Some furry little squirrel must have zigged when he should have zagged and a vehicle caught him off guard. From the looks of him, it must have been an 18-wheeler. His face showed the anguish of his final breath, so out of respect I found a squished beer can and covered up the gory stuff. It was sad.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an animal lover extraordinaire. I even love that family of skunks who keep suggesting to my bubbly black Lab that they are not interested in starting up a relationship. My own animals are my family, children who just happen to walk on four legs instead of two. My screen saver is a picture of my daughter’s kitty, Jaden, my only grandchild to date. Jaden is mentally unbalanced, as many kitties are, and that makes her all the more lovable.
As I was carefully setting the scene for the squirrel’s photo shoot a nice driver lady assumed I was trying to cross the road. So she stopped and waved me across. Traffic began building behind her. Then she noticed the camera in my hand and the roadkill at my feet. I chose to smile and wave as the line of cars lurched past me. Those drivers just didn’t understand. I was photographing the little squirrel not out of some morbid need to document, but as a gift for my friend, Phyllis Harmony of Ohio.
Phyllis and I met in the late 1990s at a speaker-wannabe conference and we’ve been dear friends, albeit long-distance ones, ever since. Recently Phyllis had the opportunity to speak at my church’s annual Women’s Retreat. We were all blessed.
At the retreat, Phyl shared a hysterical but poignant story about roadkill. It’s a story every mother, grandmother, and daughter needs to hear. It’s about family and life – not death – and the power of humor.
Phyl has gone back to Ohio and as I returned home with camera in hand, I noticed a squirrel dancing on my front step. Phyl’s “Thinking of You” roadkill card will be in the mail later today. I felt a feeling of joy. Life goes on.