A Lesson From a Duck
Beth and I were driving home last week on Interstate 64. We had just passed Hurstbourne and were coming up on the Watterson (I-264) interchange.
Just ahead, a Louisville Metro police car was blocking the fast lane. There were no flares in the lane, only the lights on the top of the car warned the approaching traffic. In similar fashion, a second squad car was parked a few yards ahead and was blocking the second lane. Perhaps fifty yards in front of the two patrol cars was a single white sedan stopped partially in the fast lane and partially on the shoulder of the center divider. A solitary older lady was standing in front of this car frantically talking on her cell phone.
It was obvious that something was up, but this was not a typical traffic accident scene. There was no ambulance, nor any noticeable damage to the involved vehicle.
Since the two fast lanes were blocked, all traffic merged to the right and slowed to a crawl. As we approached the scene, there was something very unusual along the base of the concrete barrier separating the two sides of the freeway. Spaced apart about every two feet, with amazing precision, were around a dozen dark masses of some type of animal flesh about the size of footballs. The creatures had obviously been thrust into the concrete center-divider with some degree of force as they were noticeably mangled.
With one eye on the cars ahead and one on this strange scene, I tried to figure out what had happened. The reality hit Beth and me at exactly the same time. With wide eyes and dropped jaws, we turned to each other and exclaimed simultaneously— “They’re Ducks!”
This poor lady had obviously collided with a flock of ducks!
I can envision the scene. Here she is, minding her own business, driving down the road. Given her age, she was probably gently swaying to Pat Boone or the Carpenters. (I can say this, because that’s what I have on my playlist!) Then, suddenly, the serenity is broken violently with numerous intense pounding thumps and thuds assaulting the car from every angle. There is an immediate dust cloud fully engulfing the vehicle, except this particular haze is made up of a mass of feathers enhanced with an occasional webbed foot and a duck bill or two.
The experience must have been terrifying! The driver was obviously so dazed that she stopped while partially blocking the fast lane of a freeway. (Generally, not a good idea.) I can imagine her explanation to the police. “Honestly Officer, they just came out of nowhere!” (And, I’m sure they did!) From her hand gestures and the expression on her face, she looked like she was providing the same explanation to whoever was on the other end of her cell phone.
Always a glass-half-full kind of guy, I told Beth, “At least they weren’t geese.” (Or, sand cranes for that matter!) These would have done some serious damage to the car and possibly involved more vehicles.
Also, always a reflective guy looking for teaching and planning illustrations, I pondered the cost and inconvenience of this incident. In addition to a dozen dead ducks, the accident victim is going to have to invest significant time and money before life gets back to normal. It brought me to this practical conclusion and application…
It’s always best to get your ducks in a row before tragedy strikes!
For what it’s worth!
Till next time,
Stephen L. Franklin, M.B.A., M.Div., M.R.E., CFP®, RICP®, CEP®, CFS