Thursday, December 11, 2008
Hit a deer
It proved to be a bad omen.
Pam, Andy and I left Marshall Academy’s basketball games at Carroll Academy Thursday night and knew our next stop would be Grenada for a late dinner.
Once we left Highway 82 and got onto I-55 heading north, I was driving along at 70 miles per hour, possibly a bit faster.
We were talking about a variety of things - the junior high team’s win, the hectic weekend ahead, the newspaper’s upcoming Christmas edition (which will be published next week) and, of course, Christmas itself.
Andy, who will turn 15 in May, has a small but expensive Christmas wish list. We’re trying to nail down a couple of not-so-pricey gifts, but it has been rather difficult.
I asked again, “Andy, what do you want for Christmas?”
But he did not have time to answer.
That’s because a few seconds later a deer suddenly ran into the right lane of I-55 and stopped and I hit it.
I hardly had time to hit my brakes. There was no other option but to hit the deer. I couldn’t swerve to miss it. If I had, there’s no doubt in my mind, we would have wrecked.
I’ve seen deer after deer after deer in my 31 years of driving. I’ve had close calls before - one just a few weeks back when a big buck dashed across the roadway in front of Pam and I. Never had I hit one.
Thursday night, I pulled over to the side of I-55, expecting to get out and see the front end of my SportTrac bashed. I was already talking to Pam about insurance coverage. Surprisingly, the truck looked OK, but it was hard to be totally sure in the dark.
The first thing I noticed was what used to be my Bama tag. It was shattered - only the top part surviving. One of the vehicle’s fog lights was missing, and I could see deer hair in some small cracks in the bumper.
I got back into the vehicle and told Pam and Andy we were going to try and make it on to Grenada (about three miles) and then check the SportTrac out more.
I mentioned the tag.
“Oh no,” Pam said. “I hope it’s not an omen.”
She was referring to the SEC Championship Game pitting the Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators. It was, at that time, still ahead on Saturday.
We made it to Grenada just fine. All the SportTrac’s gauges were normal.
And by the way, I did not go back to check on the deer.
Andy said, “Dad, I saw it all (from the backseat). It was a doe. I think you hit it toward the rear.”
We wheeled into a gas station at Grenada before going to Shoney’s for a late-night meal. I couldn’t believe it - basically no damage to the SportTrac, except for the Bama tag.
Pam sent text messages to some friends who had not yet left Carrollton - warning them to watch for deer.
“Are y’all OK?” was the common reply.
“Yes,” we responded.
Saturday, a few people told me they saw no dead deer on the side of the road. Maybe it survived.
I’m not a hunter. My brothers-in-law are. So I called one of my sisters, Gayla, and said, “Tell Roger I killed my first deer.”
She caught on quickly.
“What, with your car?” she responded.
I was worried about the high-flying Florida Gators prior to hitting that deer. After I hit it, I was worried even more.
The Gators were favored versus Alabama. I knew our chances were pretty slim.
But I still had high hopes of playing for a national championship.
The Tide led the SEC title tilt going into the fourth quarter but lost 31-20 to Florida. The Gators will play for the national title. Alabama heads to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
Blame it on the deer.
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