COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. – As his best friend lay lifeless on the ground, Joe Mansheim attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I did,” says Joe. “I didn’t want him to go.”
Then, having failed at his attempt at CPR, Joe grabbed a shovel and buried Frank in the backyard.
“I still get choked up,” says Joe, standing next to the grave marker of his duck.
Eight years earlier, Joe and Frank had become internet darlings after KARE 11 first shared the story of the truck driver with a shotgun-riding mallard.
During nine years together delivering freight around the Twin Cities, Joe and Frank racked up more than 750,000 miles in their flatbed truck.
Still, Joe didn’t foresee his grief when Frank succumbed to old age last spring on his 9th birthday.
“I rode for three days and just kept looking over at that empty seat and I said, ‘I just can't do this.’”
Then Joe walked into the same farm supply store at which he’d purchased Frank and ordered another duck.
“This is Eddy,” Joe proudly says as he opens his truck’s passenger door. Eddy, now three months old, has been with Frank since his second day out of the shell.
“He wanted to be with me every chance he could,” says Joe. “He’s pretty much bonded to me. We go salmon fishing almost every weekend on Lake Michigan.”
Just like Frank, Eddy now rides in the passenger seat as Joe shuttles pipe, steel and other building materials from storage yards to construction sites.
During 10-hour days on the road they share water from the same bottle, Pop-Tarts and lots of conversation.
“What do you think, Eddy?” asks Joe on one subject or another.
“I know," Joe responds.
“I'm back to laughing and giggling and having a little bit of fun out here again,” says Joe.
The truck driver is quick to point out that Eddy and Frank are ducks of different personalities.
Where Frank could be charmingly grumpy at times, Eddy is curious and playful.
“He always moves from the passenger seat over to my seat and sits down on my seat,” Joe points out as he steps out of his truck to unload.
As if on cue, Eddy slides behind the wheel. “Like he wants to take the truck for a drive,” Joe says.
Like Frank, Eddy has moved into Joe’s house. The two sit a few feet from each other in easy chairs watching Twins games.
“I'm taking care of him and he's taking care of me,” Joe says.
In a world of many problems, contentment can sometimes be found in one loyal friend.
Joe has had two - the duck who started him down the road and the duck who picked up the quack.
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