By Lorry Myers.
We hit the deer on a busy street, right after we left our Thanksgiving dinner. My husband, the driver, never saw the big buck, but I did. I saw the deer the moment he leaped head first into our front fender. Thankfully, everyone was OK.
Everyone but the deer.
We called the local police and then climbed into the truck with our daughter and her family who were traveling behind us. While the adults in the car were looking out onto the busy road, my three-year-old grandson was buckled in his car seat, looking out his own window. Our view was the passing cars while Ivan’s view was the big buck lying still in the grass, one his impressive antlers, broken off.
Ivan was very aware that something had happened. He watched his grandfather standing in the headlights looking at his busted car. He heard us talking about a deer coming out of the darkness. He recognized worried looks and worried tones and when he asked his mother, Hilary explained that a deer had jumped in front of Pops car.
Now, the police were here.
One pulled in front of us and one behind us on the side of that busy street, their flashing lights lighting up the faces of everyone there. Randy stood outside with the officers and explained what happened. He answered their questions and gave them his license and the names of everyone involved.
Ivan watched it all.
I sat beside that little boy as he turned from his window and said, “Mom, Santa needs help. That reindeer needs help.” Finally, we turned and looked out Ivan’s window, clearly seeing the broken buck lying in the grass.
“What wrong with Santa reindeer?” Ivan asked in a monotone voice I’d never heard him use before.
My daughter turned to me; her eyes wide with indecision.
What do you say when the questions are hard and the night is dark and the flashing lights are not from a Christmas tree? Our Thanksgiving night did not end the way we thought it would, but still, we were all safe and sound. The answer about that reindeer question just might be what a young boy would remember about this dark night. Ivan’s mother knew that someday those life and death questions would have to be answered. But, someday wasn’t now.
Hilary wisely told her young son that Santa’s reindeer was tired from trying to get home. He was lost and scared and had laid down to rest for a while.
“Oh,” said Ivan, and then he asked his dad to roll down his window because he needed to talk to the police.
For the complete column, see the week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard