---- — When I was little, my dad used to have me and my siblings on “deer alert” driving by Mississinewa Reservoir not too far from here. It was a fun game – anytime I thought I’d spotted a deer, I got to yelp out the news and scare my dad half to death.
I didn’t know it, but it was an important job. I should have demanded payment. In ice cream. It’s the only currency an 8-year-old knows.
Fast-forward several years, and you’d think I’d know better than to go flying down the roads near Mississinewa, especially after dark. You’d be wrong.
I was driving home from my parents’ house with a friend in the seat reserved for the “navigator.”* She’d put a French-pop album on the music player to while away the nighttime driving hours.
My grasp of French is limited to “bonjour, mon amie” with a bad accent, so for all I know, this Amélie-les-crayons gal was singing about kindergarten. Whatever the lyrics, the songs sounded good. French people could sing about cow manure and it would sound good.
All of a sudden, we found a group of does huddled on the right berm. They jerked me back into reality. The deer started to scram. I don’t have anything against deer, so I tried to urge them out of danger with a honk.
Parked next to my dad’s Buick Roadmaster, my car looks like a Little Tikes coupe. The horn matches.
Deer are stupid. These were so close to the edge of the road, they decided to run to the opposite side, right in front of me. Of course, I managed to hit one.
No, I lied. I hit two.
At the same time.
One with each corner of my front bumper.
I’m pretty sure one doe did a flip.
But the airbag hadn’t exploded. I still had my headlights, even. There was just one crack in one of the headlight casings.
We turned the car around to check the fate of the deer. But we couldn’t find any.
Oh well. I could still scare my dad half to death with the bits of deer fur stuck in the headlight.
– Sarah Einselen
Friday columnist / Crasher of deer parties
*Sarah’s Dictionary defines “navigator” as “someone whose sense of direction is iffy but whose musical taste is unquestioned.”