As usual I was just minding my own business when natured decided to brutally attack me. True story. I was driving at a manageable speed up the highway on a clear, crisp dark night when suddenly, out of the darkness loomed a HEAD, in my driver’s side window.
Seriously, I saw the whites of eyes, and a full rack and my brain struggled to process “Wha…?” when a split second later we heard — and felt — the unmistakable crashing thud of a deer hitting our car.
The entire car shifted and shuddered but I’m proud to say I did not panic (on the highway, with oncoming traffic) and we held the road. Our daughter, wide-eyed in the passenger seat, said almost instantly “Did we just hit that?”
It is always iffy when you hit a deer with your car on Christmas Eve Eve. As we were still processing the fact this had, in fact, happened, I turned to GirlWonder in the passenger seat and said “I’m so glad you’re old enough now that this trauma won’t be an issue.” Then we both laughed hysterically out of fear with tears because we are not quite right.
I also once almost ran over a rabbit so near to Easter that everyone in the car gasped. That one had a happy ending when the Easter Bunny got away.
Exiting the vehicle I saw we had in fact “hit that.” More specifically, he (his rack and lack of direction gave away the fact he was a male) ran into me.
I had a split second to see his big head come out of the dark like he was checking himself in my rearview mirror, then BAM! Right into the left rear of the car. Pulling over to survey the damage, I found the car caved in from the rear passenger door to back quarter panel, gas tank door and fill valve hanging, and door handle cracked.
I began to shake. Had we hit that deer just a second sooner, he could have ended up in my driver’s side door, or the front of the car, the windshield, or somewhere much, much more damaging.
I could have lost control of the vehicle — causing harm to my daughter (as a parent we all know you really never think about yourself. Even as we were hitting it my thought was of my child).
We — or he — could have been thrown into oncoming traffic.
I don’t know why things happen like they do and why deer don’t have guardian angels to protect them from running into cars at all, but I do know I am eternally grateful to God and guardian angels that all we had was vehicular damage. This is the brand-new-to-me car — it was sitting in cracked and dented pieces on the side of the road and I was so happy I could have cried from relief.
Hands shaking, I called Mr. Wonderful to say “I really can’t have anything nice.”
For those following along at home and worried for the deer, let me assure you when Mr. Wonderful came by, within a few minutes the buck had roused himself and gone off. One thing I cannot abide is the thought of an animal suffering.
Mr. Wonderful scouted the area thoroughly that night and kept an eye on the wider area the next day just to ensure it wasn’t suffering. Since the deer ran broadside in to a bright red car, there’s a good chance that there’s at least one local deer with a Rudolph red nose the next morning.
A friend noted that women ask “Are you OK?” and men ask “How big was the deer?”
In this case I would like to think that somewhere there is a deer going “Darn thing ran right into me” and when his deer friends say “Did you kill it?” he’s all Nah it kept going. Got away.”
Thus, I’m told I almost bagged a six point buck. I will admit that in a family of hunters, had the deer not survived, I would have wanted to mount it. If only so Boywonder could point to his and say “bow,” Mr. Wonderful could point to his and say “gun” and I could point to mine and say “Chevy.”