Out of nowhere

She came out of nowhere, booking it down a little knoll and right smack into my front bumper. The doe released body fluids all over my windshield before she rolled off right in front of my face. I don’t know if she made it or not, she righted herself and left my sight.

Stunned, I pulled over onto the side of the road. Thankfully, it happened in broad daylight. On my way to a work assignment for the day, I had to open a post office in just under 15 minutes with zero cellphone reception in the area that I had hit the big doe. I got out and assessed the damage. Everything looked intact, and I was able to continue the three-mile drive to the post office.

Once there I used the land phone to call the sheriff’s department to report the accident. The dispatcher asked me where I was when I hit the deer. (Remember my sense of direction?)

“I think it was on County Road D, I’d say about three miles out of Mattoon.”

“Going north or south?”

My heart sunk. I seriously had no clue so I basically told her I had no clue. Silence — I’m pretty sure she thought I was an idiot. Who doesn’t know what direction they’re going in? We hung up with her telling me they’d figure it out and she’d send an officer out ASAP.

The deputy came out and told me he was amazed my air bag didn’t deploy. It was then I realized the damage was more extensive than I had thought. This man was so kind and patient and listening to him, I teared up. These eyes of mine have a mind of their own. I have no control.

The officer’s compassion was boundless. He took another look at me. “Nobody hits a deer on purpose, and you didn’t get hurt.”

He left.

I called my husband.

“I hit a deer.”

“Are you alright?”

After assuring him I was OK, he asked, “Don’t you have any peripheral vision?”

Thanks, honey. Thanks.

A guy (a retired farmer) told me, “You should gawk when you drive, then you’d see the deer coming.”

I have received no sympathy from farm guys that almost run in the ditch on our road because they’re looking to see how the corn is coming up or how that hayfield is growing back instead of paying attention to the road. However, I give them this: They probably would see a deer that is booking down on them because they’re only going 15 miles an hour. Gawking.

My husband has a side job that takes him off the farm and on the road to Wausau and Green Bay a couple of days a week. When I say goodbye, I add, “Keep your head on a swivel” so he’s mindful of what’s around him. Guess what he told me after my encounter with the deer?

The day I hit the deer I was able to drive to my work, but when I started for home that night the engine light came on. Uh-oh. Again, I called my husband. (He is the first person I go to.)

“Did you see an oil leak?”

“I didn’t look.”

When I got to him, he tried popping the hood and couldn’t, so taking two vehicles, we drove the smashed one immediately to our repair shop and dropped the keys into the night drop box. There it will stay until it is completely fixed. Good thing for insurance!

About 15 years ago, I had hit a deer coming out of Shawano on County Road M just past the overpass, where you would not expect a deer to be. I had taken my little girl and her friend to the movies, and we were on the way home. The deer got caught under the van, and we could feel the hooves scraping the floor beneath us. I believe all three of us were screaming there for a while.

So for now, I am living with the results of my inability to see this deer coming, dealing with the insurance company and repair shop in addition to keeping up with daily activities that require me to get where I gotta go without my little car. Good thing we do have a spare vehicle that we had to reissue insurance on. I feel out of sorts without my car; I’m out of my comfort zone in a different ride. It’s a mind thing.

Driving all over the county and beyond, I’m amazed I haven’t smacked a deer before this. Now I’m on high alert and look like one of those little old ladies with my shoulders hunched and my nose in the windshield. I can feel the tension when I drive.

Because you know, those deer come out of nowhere.

Even with peripheral vision.

And my head on a swivel.

(“He ordered His angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.” Psalm 91:11, The Message Bible)