Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday! The moose mishap

During the ages of 10-13 I shared a newspaper route with my younger brother Brian. I despised this job. It was also the most dangerous job that I have ever had. And I have had quite a few jobs.

Often, when one thinks of a young brother and sister duo, riding their bikes along tree lined streets in a small town and delivering the breaking news of the world daily, endearing and the epitome of a Norman Rockwell print comes to mind. But ohhhhhh, let me tell ya... the two of us endured many dangers. The elements, rabid guard dogs, disgruntled customers and a pervert or two.

We dreaded the Wednesday and Sunday papers especially, because of the extra fliers and coupons that were stuffed in each paper. Our bags became so heavy, we often fell over and crashed our bikes, due to the heavy mass shifting.

"The job" entailed the two of us waking up at the bum crack of dawn, which was torture for a gal that had and still does have, a horrible time getting up in the mornings. Next we would roll papers, stuffed our ugly newspaper bags in the front and the back, and then hopped on our bikes, delivering newspapers over miles of streets with in a certain amount of time, all before we had to get ready and go to school.

Winter was the worst. Wyoming winters are known for being a bit brutal. The rule was, with my parents, "If the temperature hits 0 degrees or below, dad will drive you on your routes." Zero people! You heard me right. Zero! There were many times me and my brother would be standing in my parent's bedroom doorway begging for a ride when the temperature was 1 degree. It was a rare occasion, if they gave in.

It was one of those frozen days, that my famous "moose mishap" occurred. There was at least a foot and a half of snow, that blanketed our little town, and the temperature was measuring in the single digits vicinity. I woke up in the hopes of listening to the radio with my brother and to hear the dj announce that the temperature was zero degrees. But our hopes were crushed to learn that the temperature was a whopping eight degrees. "That's too warm," I thought to myself. "There's no way dad will drive us today." Me and Brian didn't even attempt to wake my dad to beg for a ride.

We then each loaded our bags and hopped on our bikes. And yes, we did ride our bikes in the snow, because it was faster. And we were willing to try anything to make the torture pass by faster. We separated to our assigned streets and we were off.

Delivering papers in the winter, we would sometimes encounter some wild game animals that had made their way from the mountains near by, into town, in search of food. And it just so happened that a moose was hanging around my "beat" the past several days.

So there I was pedaling my bike slowly, in the dark, with my head facing down to cover it from the bitter cold breeze and listening to my pink walk man. I was a sight to be seen. I looked like a stuffed sausage, covered head to toe with layer upon layer of winter gear. This was so un-cool, to me. If a boy from my junior high ever caught sight of me, I knew it would be the end of the world for me.

I was in my zone of pedaling, pedaling, pedaling, stop. Get off bike, throw down bike, grab paper, walk up to the door and place paper in the desired location. Then I was off to repeat the same routine over and over again.

Fifteen minutes in and the snow began to fall. It began to fall harder and harder, making it even more difficult to see what was in front of me. I had just finished delivering to a string of houses and began to ride towards another street. I was in my own little world, and watching the ground as my bike made tracks in the newly fallen snow. Then all of the sudden....Whack!!!!

Something had stopped me in my tracks and knocked me clear off of my huffy ten speed. "Oh no! What happened?!?!?! A car hit me! Am I hurt? Did I break something? Do I have a concussion?" My eyes began to well up with tears and not because I was in pain. I began to tear up because I hated that paper route! It was so unfair! My parents totally sucked for making me have that stupid paper route! I hated it! I hated it! I hated it!

Once my tantrum subsided, I picked myself up, several wet newspapers off the ground and my bike. I wiped the tears away from my cheeks and sat back on my bike. I was still unclear of what I had a collision with. "Maybe it was a tree?" I thought. I looked forward and saw a dark silhouette standing in front of me. "That's what I probably hit," I thought. "Hey, that thing has legs. Four legs. Sheesh... that's a big dog!" My heart began to pound with fear. I feared dogs. Past experiences with loose, lone, dogs on a street proved to be detrimental to my legs. Stupid dogs and their teeth! I hate dogs with teeth!

I froze with fear. I knew that if I began to ride away, the "stupid dog" would begin to run after me and bite me. Then I heard a "snort". "Dumb dog, can't even bark," I said out loud. I had a plan. My plan was to slowly ride away and pray with all of my might that the "dumb dog" would not chase me. I put a little pressure on the right pedal then the left one. The "dog" was still standing there. Not moving, and it was getting bigger. Alot bigger. Alot taller. With a humongous snout.

Then it hit me... that is no dog! "I hit a moose! I hit a freakin' moose! The moose is going to trample and kill me! I'm going to be killed by a moose!" We looked into each other's eyes. Mono et mono. Me and Mildred the Moose. The moose that I hit was a cow moose. A female moose and she didn't move an inch. I wasn't sure if she was about to charge or if she was as shocked as I was. But we each just stood there looking at each other. It was uncomfortable and I wasn't sure which one of us should leave first. Then just like that, Mildred took off in the opposite direction.

I caught a glimpse of Mildred a time or two after our collision and each time we would exchange nods. Knowing that we shared a connection un-like any other moose or teenager.

This is similar to what Mildred the Moose resembled, when I had collided into her.

...but she might as well have looked like this, when our eyes met.


  1. That is wild! Did you get to quit after the moose collision? I think I would never deliver another paper again! But that's just me.

  2. I didn't know you had a paper route. I did too, and I HATED it, the winters were so awful and carrying around all those Wednesday and Sunday papers was back breaking for a little kid. I never had an incident with a moose, but plenty of scary dogs.

  3. Jayleen! I still have nightmares of the Casper Star Tribune. I loathe the Tribune.

  4. Whoa! That's "amazing & hilarious with a touch of dang you could have died" all rolled into one!!! >< what I wouldn't give to read Mildreds mind LOL!!!

  5. I REMEMBER when those MOOSES lived in the neighborhood! Once in a while they would bed in the garden! (Which was of course, a stones throw from your garden.) However, I never smacked into one with my bike. Good times.

  6. I tried to teach my kids responsibility in the same way, making them have a paper route, but I stinkin' had to drive them. Sucked.

    When I moved to Alaska when I was ten I looked out the window to the back yard and Morris the Mondo Moose was there looking at me through the window. I was fascinated and terrified at the same time. Did you know that they can run like 50 miles an hour? You are lucky to be alive. I am going to say a (belated) prayer of thanks on your good luck.


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