Deer Jon

A week ago Friday I was under the knife for a second time, a deeper incision this go around, for a blood clot that developed near the base of my spine (which is a euphemism for “my butt”). I’m not sure whether to read this as a sign of success or just that I’ve gotten better at pain management, but I seem to be regaining function at a faster rate than last time. In fact, I was feeling so good that a careful arrangement of diet and a few modifications to the morning routine gave me the confidence to try having a little family adventure this past Saturday morning. Nicole found a historic property not too far from home that looked to provide a gentle walk, and some fun exploring for the kids, so we dressed in layers, and set out to enjoy a crisp fall morning.

I drove the family SUV, in a show of paternal competence, and we got about 15 minutes from home. Nicole had just updated the GPS with a route to our destination, and I glanced down at the map view, then back up at a shattered windshield. My first thought was that I had something in my mouth, and one of the kids must have thrown something. I picked fur out of my teeth and tried to look in the rearview mirrors — only to find them missing. “That must have been a deer” I said, as I eased the SUV over to the side of the road. “Um ya. You’re bleeding!” said Nicole. I looked down at a tiny pin prick of blood on my index finger. A quick survey found that to be the only injury to anyone inside the vehicle. Abi started, then stopped, then started crying again.

I recall a flash of brown in my peripheral vision. Nicole says she saw the deer the instant before it hit, but didn’t have enough time to shout a warning. Ben, who was in the back row, says he saw the deer somersaulting past him after the collision. The best we can figure, it was hiding in the bushes beside the road and chose a poor moment to try to leap over us. Almost the entire impact was to the windshield — a dent in the driver’s side door panel, and the missing rearview mirror, suggest that his back legs were trailing a little. The engine compartment and surrounding body panels were unaffected, save for a streak of mud. The roof has no dents, although the headliner surrounding the windshield on the interior of the vehicle was ripped back, and the attached electronics and mirror were dangling by their wiring harness. The car was drivable — save for the fact that you can’t really see where you’re going. Thankfully, the deer was a baby — not a fact that comforted the girls much, but it certainly limited the damage. The deer died instantly, as far as we can tell.

A helpful local cop arrived within about 20 minutes of calling 911, a tow truck about 20 minutes later. Our good friends John and Karen arrived in between to commiserate — and give us a ride home. Our insurance agent has been great, and approved a local shop to do the work. The vehicle’s safety equipment did its job — no air bags or collision detection were triggered, because of where it hit (although the rain sensing wipers did turn on!) but the windshield protected us. We will be out of pocket $500 for the deductible, but the rest will be completely taken care of with OEM parts by insurance. Hopefully the family wagon will be back on the road before the snow starts.

It was not the adventure we had in mind for our weekend, but we’re thanking God for His protection. It certainly could have been a lot worse. We were all a little shaken, but after regrouping at home for lunch, we salvaged the Saturday with a round of mini golf and some ice cream in the afternoon.

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