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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear, Santa... how do I put this?

Merry Christmas everyone! … and an especially Merry Christmas to J and I.

[Read: sarcasm]

I'm not being selfish. You see, we are driving to see my grandparents and parents. I just got off the phone with my dad saying that we are on the road and would see he and my mom in about four and a half hours.

We have probably only been on the road an hour or so. Kira is all snug as a bug in the back seat, we're singing along to a song by Vampire Weekend, and approaching some construction in Aggie-land.

Ah, look… those infamous orange barrels narrowing down to the left lane. We're about to pass another car and get over into the left lane, when this big suburban gets in the way. Instead of passing we slow down in order to get behind them.

What in the world is that?
[The suburban in the left lane breaks hard next to us.]

We have to stay in the right lane, there is no other option. No moving into the left lane, no getting into the shoulder, because of the lovely orange barrels.

Is that a deer standing in the middle of the road?
Why does it look like it's eating?
[Deer don't eat things in the road, they eat plants!]

Oh no, oh no...

Did that really just happen? How is it that time stands still while it simultaneously speeds up? Are you okay J? Thank you God, we’re fine. The car? Not so much.

[The deer hit the bumper, the hood and then ran off from what we saw.]


Um, hi Santa? Yeah, I think we just hit Rudolph. Can the rest of the team make it without him this year? Please don't leave coal in our stockings, it was an accident we promise!


[Okay, so I'm totally kidding. I know a Reindeer is quite different than a Whitetail deer.]

Back to real life.

The suburban in the left lane just slows down next to us. Thankfully neither of us swerved towards the other. That would have been bad.

J pulls us over to the side of the road to check out the damage, and the kind, caring people in the other vehicle drive off.

Nice... I'm pretty sure the people in the Suburban or whatever it was saw what just happened, since we were right next to them. Thanks for checking to make sure we are okay by-the-way guys.

Okay fine. I realize they weren't obligated to stop, but come on. Human decency and common sense come into play here.

[More cards speed by.]

J is outside looking the car over, and I watch cautiously as other cars approach from behind. I really don't want someone losing control and hitting us. We soon decide to find the nearest gas station to see if the car was leaking any fluids... for example if the radiator has been cracked.

[Saying a prayer that it's not.]

J and I start slowly down the road, [hazard lights flashing] going back towards home, and looking for a service station. We'd rather retrace our steps, instead of driving further away from the towns in the area. Little did we know, but the closest station was ten miles... get that – 10 miles in the opposite direction away from our destination.

We finally reach the station. Man, that felt like we were in an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. 'Do, do, do, doooo!' Now we're able to really take a good look at the car. Well, a "good look" considering the random placement of the lights in the station parking lot.

Big dent in the hood?

Paint flaking off?

Bumper shoved in, cracked, and slightly askew?

Center Toyota emblem missing from the impact?

J and I get out of the car. Stretching our legs is nice, but that wasn’t the real reason we took the detour, nor were the facilities. I walk in to use the restroom... as the adrenaline rush made the need greater. I meet J back outside, where he says that he's going inside to buy a hammer.


Oh yes, once you have damage to your hood like that, it doesn't want to latch closed again. He hammers a few times, and then soon realizes he needs a flashlight (forgetting we had one in the glove box – a fact we noticed afterwards). J's goes back in the store again to buy a small light, while I proceed to try and take a few pictures with my phone's camera. Bad gas station lights prove to be a challenge, but they will do for now.

[Thoughts going through my mind… yes this really happened. Meh.]

J comes back out, holding the light towards the latching mechanism and eventually sees that it's bent enough so that the hood's catch wouldn't connect with the latch on the car body. I decide that this would be a good time to get Kira out. She gladly hops out sniffing the air, trotting along side me.

Once she is done with her doggy business, we go back to the car and she surveys the damage... er, rather she smells the deer hair that is embedded into the bumper in a few spots.

I guess with enough force anything can happen.

Kira enjoyed sniffing around, but it's time for her to get back into the car. I call my parents to tell them what had happened, and also try to help J (whatever good that did).

We he hammers the latch a bit more; the hood still won't stay shut. Just then a man not too much younger than J or I asks if we need any help. Obviously we said… yes, yes thank you! He parks his truck, gets out and tries to help J get the hood latched so we can get back on the road. We still have the majority of our trip to drive until we reach the Dallas area. Joy!

He and J push and pull on the hood. Normally I'd be cringing since such manhandling of a vehicle would damage the metal and paint. Now there's not much of anything that will make a difference, since it's all wonky anyway. They're using a wrench to try and move or bend the latch so it will close. After a little bit of work they close the hood and thankfully it stays. We ask the man if we can buy him a Coke or something from the store for his trouble. He says, 'No thanks, I figure if I help someone now, one day when I need help someone will be there to help me.' (Reminds me of 'Pay it Forward'.)

Nice guy, huh? After many "thank you's" by us, he is on his way. J and I stop back in the store one more time for a potty break, an A&W Cream Soda for him and we "start" our trek once more.

We pass back through the construction area where the legendary deer faced off with our vehicle. No sight of him. Yes, I did say him. J and I both asked each other right after it happened if the deer had antlers. We were both fairly sure it had.

Our original drive was delayed by about an hour, and we have just spent the past two hours in relative silence. Yes, we talked a little bit, but it wasn't until a while later that we decided to turn any music back on. Kinda hard to find much of anything that's relaxing after an accident, other than silence and prayers.

Around 11:30 pm we reach our destination. My parents meet us outside my grandparent's house and we all look at the damage. Dad hugs us both, joking that we should have tied the deer to the top of the car. After all, I know better.


Mom hugs us as well, and says she is glad no one was hurt. We visit for a while and then decide to go to bed, exhausted.

Our Christmas vacation definitely started off with a bang crash, but fortunately nothing else happened that was nearly so traumatic.

I wonder what the New Year holds. Ah 2010, we're off to a grand start already. The chance of the car being repaired "this year" isn't going to happen, so our visit to J's family will be postponed for another time. That's probably okay with both of us. I think after our experience, we aren't looking forward to another lengthy drive anytime too soon.

Now for the pictures:

Car vs. Deer. Who really wins?
No one I suppose.

Doesn't look like the car wins.

Missing hood 'ornament'.

Nice, flaking paint.

That had to hurt!

Embedded deer hair (upper left).
Crack in the bumper/front fascia, near headlight (middle).

J and I are very thankful that we weren't hurt in the accident, and that our vehicle was still drivable afterwards. We are very aware that things could have been much worse, and we thank God that He was present and watching over us.

1 thoughtful comments:

Adrienne said...

WOW! I'm glad everyone was alright! Our driveway to our house is right off a highway and we have seen/heard many deer versus car accidents.

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