I had a shocking experience Tuesday evening.
The above scene looks beautiful, no? A tranquil drive down the highway at dusk. The start of a beautiful sunset as I am about to take the exit into the peaceful little town of Marion… DEER!
Oh yes, my friends. Just this week I hit my very first deer. I am a 12-year Iowan who has so far managed to avoid any deer/car encounters. (I view this as an accomplishment.) I’ve had deer cross in front of me before but always with enough time that I could stop safely. This one definitely popped my personal space bubble.
Here is the story:
The doe crossed the Eastbound lane of Highway 30 before it dashed out in front of my little blue Ford Escort and I heading west. I saw the deer as it came up out of the ditch and I immediately entered rapid-thought-mode. (I am continually amazed at how much the human brain can process in rather short amounts of time when necessary.)
My thought process went something like this: “That’s a deer. Dannit. (this is a substitute for “dangit” in my circle of friends. A beloved friend of mine cannot pronounce the “g” in “-ing” or “-ang” words. So we lovingly make fun of her. Constantly.) Yep. A deer. And I’m gonna hit it. Nothing to do but slow down, I guess. Don’t swerve. (Mama taught me that. Swerving is usually how people die when they have close encounters of the deer kind.) Well. Here we go. If the windshield breaks there’ll be glass everywhere so close your eyes. Aaaaaaaaand NOW.”
The deer hit my left side. I pulled over, turned the car off and the hazards on, and got shaky as I called my mother. She didn’t answer, which was actually for the better because a car pulled up behind me to help.
That was so great. Thank you, Tyler, the random guy who stopped. Apparently the deer crossed in front of him on the other side and watched to see if I’d hit it. Since I did, he turned around and came to make sure I was ok. Kind strangers are wonderful.
After checking on me, he walked over to the deer. It was still alive but definitely dying so he went back to his car and got a knife. (He was not a hick, but definitely a back-woods type.) He then slit the deer’s throat so it wouldn’t suffer so long. I’m glad he was there because I would have had no idea what to do about a dying deer on the roadside.
After the deer was dead, Stranger Tyler gave me the number for the Linn County Sheriff’s office so I could call and report what happened. The end result was a shaky Jenna, a dead deer, and a wounded vehicle. However, I will admit that I am shocked that Banjo did so well (my family names our cars. Alphabetically.) I really expected there to be much more damage than there was. Besides, the left side-mirror is not too much to be worried about considering that deer accidents can kill people.
I am incredibly thankful.