Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DEER me! Part 1 - "A funny thing happened to me on the way to church this morning"

I've gone back and forth way too many times asking myself if this is BLOG worthy or not. Since this pertains to events that happened last Sunday and I still can't get it out of my head I must post something more for my therapeutic benefit than anyone else taking the time to read these words. I do appreciate your attention.

Yet another side job I have; I try very hard not to consider it a job though as it is most definitely a ministry, is that I am a certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church. One of the things I do is go out to Hebron, ND once a month to lead worship services as they do not have a regular preacher assigned to them. So the parishioners are responsible for lining up a speaker every Sunday.

December 6, 2008 was my December Sunday. I was headed there traveling West on Interstate 94 when somewhere between New Salem and Almont I noticed some Whitetail does running across the highway. As a Game & Fish employee I have listened to numerous talks about what to do in these situations. One point of information is that if you see some deer there are more than likely others. So I slowed down and was scanning the ditches to see if any more animals were going to be foolhardy enough to attempt a crossing.

Everything happens so fast yet seems in slow motion as it is occurring. I'm not sure if it was just the lay of the land or if the ditches were deep enough that there was a blind pocket big enough for a young buck deer to hide so that I was not aware of him until he popped up right in front of me. I was still continuing to slow down and even then drove passed him a little bit so that he ran into the rear driver's side door. A sound like a muffled gunshot occurred and then sounds like hail as tiny bits of shattered glass showered the entire back seat of my car. I felt more shrapnel dusting the back of my head and jacket. Then there was the initial jolt which seemed to kind of shift the back of the vehicle over and then a small secondary bump was heard more than felt as the deer glanced off the rear quarter panel. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the buck rolling end over end in the ditch. When he stopped moving, he did not get up. The "experts" that I work with have to over-analyze everything and said he probably busted his neck when he collided with my vehicle and was killed that way. Okay, thanks.

The car continued to slow to a stop just like nothing had happened. I pulled off onto the Almont exit to survey the damage. What a mess! The whole back seat and floor was covered in deer hair and bits of glass. The left rear window which consists of a bigger movable section and a small triangular section was no more, the pane connecting the 2 sections was dented considerably and there is a small dent in the left rear quarter panel. Typing this at work I almost wish now I took a picture before I taped and sealed everything up. I may post a picture anyway if I have time later.

Well, I promised a church in Hebron that I would be there, the car was still drivable, and the door shut reasonably well except for another bent portion at top of the door frame. I shook the glass out my hair and coat, brushed away some of the fallout to the front seat, and got on my merry way although somewhat chillier and noisier due to the missing window.

Hindsight is always 20-20. By the time I finally got to Hebron it dawned on me that I had this windshield shade that I use in the Summer so the inside doesn't get so hot when it is parked in the sun. If I unrolled that I could drape it across the window and shut the door to keep it in place. I had to play around with it to get it tight enough and covered enough but it was definitely a much quieter and warmer drive back home again.

I was really bummed. I've always driven the older of the 2 cars in our family and this one had 180,000 miles. It's a 1993 model that we got in 1995 so it's been in the family awhile. Of course we only carry liability on the junkers that I drive so we don't have insurance coverage on this type of accident. The vehicle is so old they more than likely would have totaled it out anyway. But we were probably going to replace it this Summer and I imagine would have gotten a better trade-in before the accident than we will now.

But, I do try to practice what I preach and that is always, always......ALWAYS look for a bright side when deplorable things happen. You can almost always say, "things could have been worse." My children were not in the back seat and did NOT receive faces full of busted glass which they most certainly would have if they'd been in the car. I was in the front seat and so also did not receive a face full of busted glass. Vehicles can be fixed or replaced, human lives cannot. I'm still thanking God for watching over me and my family as I'm writing this.

The car is still drivable, I've got cardboard and duct tape on it now so it's sealed pretty good and we have some time where I can still drive it while we look for a used car door or a used vehicle to purchase. And like the hymn says, I continue to "count my many blessings and name them one by one. Count your many blessings and see what God has done." Words: John­son Oat­man, Jr. Music:Edwin O. Excell.

I feel so much better for having written this. Thank you for putting up with my blog.


AZJim said...

You are right! Thank God you were not hurt. The question I have is that "Did you incorporate this episode into your sermon for the day?" Depending on the text this could be made into a great personal witness.

randymeiss said...

Oh Yeah! One of the things preaching every month has taught me is to look at every little thing that happens to me as possible sermon material. In my opinion, personal, true-life situations make the best sermons you can deliver.