The Deer Hunter Revisited

Nobody has racked up as much deer roadkill as my ex. The man usually gets his deer
each year but has never hunted. In 23 years that I’ve known him, he has driven
home in the dark from work at least 18 of those years and struck at least 12-15 deer
that I am aware of, possibly more. Then there was that one time in California, PA by
the college stadium when he saw a whole family of deer in the distance and stopped the
car he thought in time, only to have them charge into him -- an account backed by an
off duty sober policeman.

In the beginning, we were scared to contact the insurance agent for fear that he and/or
the adjustor would think something was up and disbelieve that one man could be such a
deer magnet. After about the 6th deer and smashed car, we got to know the adjustor
fairly well. We’d just call and say where the car was and he would go out and tally
up the damage. When he recommended those little deer repealer whistles gadgets for the
hood or front bumper, we got them and then the ex started thinning out the  larger than
he imagined hearing impaired deer population..

One early evening about 3 years ago, I was going home with my son in the car with me.
I turned into the yard to park and could not believe what I saw. A small, young deer
was lying motionless in the same exact spot where the ex always parked his car then.
My son who was about 4 immediately noticed the deer too and wondered why it was
sleeping there.  I could not detect any blood or sign of trauma on what I guessed was
definitely a dead deer. One of the two teens who had just walked by en route to the
woods turned and yelled back, “I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t
believe it! That deer just walked across the road and laid down there and died.�

“Of course it did, and why wouldn't it?� I asked under my breath. Immediately
my son started to wail at that point hearing the teen say that the little deer was dead..
No, no, honey, she’s sleeping. Shhhh! I urged him to quiet down and not wake the
napping little deer as we got in the house.

I figured I had a few hours to find someone to help move the dead deer after my son
went to bed and before his dad came from work at midnight. I went on the back porch
to see if the neighbor was tinkering in his garage and could help. Just then I heard my
son loudly exclaim with absolute glee, “Daddy’s home!� before he started out
the front door to run down the incline to the driveway. For the first time in 20 years, the
ex left work early on of all nights, that particular one.

I flew from the back porch, through the kitchen, down the hallway, through the sun
porch, over the toys and out the front door but not in time to stop the child or his dad..

The ex continued his focus on our son, yelling for him to stop and wait on the sidewalk
and not to run towards the road. The ex just wasn’t looking to see what was in front
of him as he pulled into his parking space. He ran right over the now for sure dead little
deer at the same moment I appeared yelling to stop.

“It had to be there. It had to be dead already,� was all the ex could say with big
tears in his eyes.

The child wailed again, “No, sir, dad, she was taking a nap there. You killed another
Bambi! Daddy killed Bambi!" he cried as he came to hug me.

I remember a neighbor driving by who stopped, just shaking his head in disbelief too.
Stories of the ex’s bad luck with deer were known throughout the town, but even
this one was too weird to believe even though it was playing out right there in front of
our eyes.

“You hit a deer in your yard? the shocked neighbor asked. “O my God, look at
the big dent in your car door!�

No, no, the ex tried to explain that the dented door was from last week’s road kill. It
was a horrible evening. Somehow, we got the little deer hauled to its final resting place
that wasn’t the ex’s parking space.

The incident with the little deer who laid down to die in the ex’s parking space came
to mind today when I encountered a friend this morning who had just hit his 5th deer in
10 years. He was hesitant to call the insurance company for fear that the agent would
not believe him. We have the same insurance agent, same claims adjustor.

I got out my cell phone with the adjustor’s number still on speed dial.

"I'll ask for him and tell him who you are. He'll believe you."

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