Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hello, my deer

We left Pat and Angie's house after eleven o'clock last night, driving home in a strong wind that was blowing flurries practically horizontally across the snowy roads.

"We'd better be getting home," my husband and I told them nervously. "Your roads out here in the country are so bad and it's so...dark. And....and....windy. And snowy." It was very scary for us city dwellers, living in a place where every road's surface has been as dry as a spinster's kiss for the past week.

Pat and Angie, at hearing that their plowed and salted roads rated as "bad" to us, nearly jackknifed themselves laughing. "Bad?" Pat said incredulously. "Bad? You've got to be joking. You don't know bad until you've driven home from work on an unplowed road where the snow is up to the windows and you have a preschooler in the back seat screaming that she has to peepee and then you realize what you thought was the road was actually the neighbors' koi pond. Bad...geeez, you big babies."

We departed with our dignity trailing behind us like toilet paper on the sole of a shoe and got in the van. "We're not babies," I stoutly assured my husband. "We're just cautious."

"Yeah! Cautious! And careful!"

"Yes, we're very careful. We are very carefully careful and considerate, too. We would never drive in the neighbors' koi pond, thinking it was the road."

"You got that right," said my husband fervently, gripping the wheel with both hands and pushing gingerly on the accelerator. The needle on the speedometer shot up to forty miles per hour and hung there breathlessly.

I was watching the road, noting with alarm the two and three inch snowdrifts all pushed up against people's mailboxes, when all of a sudden, a very large buck stepped out in front of the van, giving us a haughty glare as my husband began to brake. His branched antlers crowned his proud head and I was beginning to think that they'd look nice mounted on my living room wall. That is, until I summoned some crazy reserve of nervous energy from the depths of my being and screamed as loud as I could, pointing at the buck through the windshield as we rolled to an easy halt.


My husband was very startled and jumped so high, I practically saw light between him and the seat. Meelyn and Aisling, who had been relaxing in drowsy contentment, bolted straight upright yelling, "What? How? When? Who?" Even the buck appeared to be startled and gave us a contemptuous look before sauntering to the edge of the road and disappearing into the trees.

"What is wrong with you?" my husband asked indignantly, turning to look at me with a gaze that was only slightly less disgusted than the buck's. "You scared me worse than the stupid deer did. Did you not notice that we were already stopped?"

"I'm sorry," I apologized, abashed. "I don't know why I did that. I didn't even know I could scream like that."

"A hidden talent," said my husband huffily. "A scream like that could get you jobs doing voice-overs for horror films."

"Sorry, dear," I said, suddenly overcome with laughter at my own bad joke. "Get it? Dear -- deer? Hahahahahahahaaaa..."

"Ha ha," he said sourly.

"Yeah, ha ha," said Meelyn.

Aisling was convulsed. "Dear -- dear," she gurgled helplessly, "dear -- dear....that is so funny..."

"Thank you," I said. "It's nice to be appreciated, DEAR."

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