A Very Special Christmas Story, or The Deerhunter

So I’m driving home from Co-Op when Mark asks to drive home through the alley across the street. He wants to see a 1950’s vintage car that a neighbour has in his yard, ostensibly to restore. He calls this car the “Old Hudson Hornet” after the character in the Cars movie. It certainly does resemble that character, or would if it a) had an engine, b) was painted blue, and c) had a face. Anyway, I agree. As we are driving past, I can’t help but notice that, hanging from the place its engine would be if it had an engine is a deer. A field-dressed deer. A field-dressed deer that is looking at me with its big dead eyes.

I don’t say anything. The boys don’t say anything. Did they notice it? If so, why aren’t they saying anything? If not, is there something wrong with their vision? I drive home in silence, remove boys and groceries from the van, uncharacteristically order the boys to “sit on the couch and watch TV”, and phone Rob at work. When he answers, I burst into tears, and he naturally thinks that some disaster has befallen. When I finally choke out what happened he starts laughing uncontrollably. “Aren’t you surprised this hasn’t happened before?” he asks, appropriately, since our neighbour wears camouflage on a daily basis and has a bumper sticker stating that his truck is protected by Smith and Weston.

This incident reminded me of a story I heard many years ago, back when I was gainfully employed as opposed to the bon-bon eating housewife that I have become. Back then, I was working for an oil company and drove out to visit and tour one of their terminals located in Rimbey, Alberta. For those of you who don’t know Rimbey, it is a typical small Albertan town where about 90% of the vehicles are pickup trucks, and 90% of those pickup trucks are equipped with gun racks.

After my tour of the terminal, the operator took me out for lunch at the ubiquitous Chinese-Western restaurant, the sort of establishment at which you can dip your dumplings in Thousand Island dressing. Over lunch, Larry related the tale to me, tenderhearted, mostly-vegetarian, 24-year-old innocent that I was, the gory tale which featured the one and only time that he had hit an animal with his car.

It was Christmas Eve. Larry was heading home from the hardware store with his two small children in tow. A deer jumped in front of his truck. When he got out he realized that the deer was still alive, but injured, and the impact had sent the deer flying into, unbelievably, a barbed-wire fence. There was really only one humane thing to do, but Larry realized he didn’t have his gun with him. He began searching for something heavy. Fortunately a co-worker drove by and stopped when Larry flagged him down. The co-worker did have his gun with him, which he promptly lent to Larry. The gruesome job finished, Larry got back into his truck which contained wailing and hysterical children. Not only had they just witnessed the tragic scene, but they assumed, on account of it being Christmas Eve, that their father had just taken down one of Santa’s reindeer.


    I mean, that’s very sad.
    I’ve lived in deer-hunting country my whole life, but even I was shocked the other day to see a dressed deer hanging in someone’s front yard. WHAT?!

  2. Great story! I live in a state where it is not uncommon to drive down the road and see several dead deer in people’s yards during hunting season. It doesn’t even faze kids when they see this because it is such a common occurrence here.

Leave a Reply