My Thanksgiving was dominated by the killing of my first deer–not with a manly rifle, though it is deer season (WELCOME HUNTERS say the signs on all the bars in my neighborhood) but with my car. The accident happened on Wednesday. The doe ran across a busy two lane road an hour before dusk. Didn’t quite make it across the second lane–I struck her with the right side of my car (a Subaru Outback Impresza, going about 50-55). I saw the impact with my own eyes, and yet I can’t remember where exactly she was hit. I have an impression she spun, or sprang up, but that may be an illusion. She fell in the front yard of a house along the road, as we pulled over, and lived for perhaps five minutes.
911 summoned the county sheriff. The only other mourner was an old man in hunter’s camo who came out of one of the houses and tapped her with his shoe. The cop, young and businesslike, dispatched the matter in a few minutes. He did not inform us that we could have taken the creature for our own consumption; perhaps it went to charity, or the PBA.
The hood was crumpled, and there was a dent in the right fender. But the car drove–for 30 hours. The next day we had Thanksgiving dinner at the best restaurant I know of in the Hudson Valley, The Depuy Canal House in High Falls. We had driven about ten miles and were three miles from home when the engine began making noises, and the temperature shot up. Pulled into the parking lot of a bank, spread with snow and empty as the moon. At 10 PM in the country things roll up pretty tight. Steam billowed from the hood. Called our friend Doug, who was home and awake. He came with a bottle of Benedictine and two glasses, and his knowledge. The radiator hose had been pushed back against the fan belt, which had finally frayed a leak. We rolled the car to the side of the lot and called it a night.
Next morning we went back with Doug, who made a quick fix with duct tape, the philosopher’s stone of home repair. Drove down the hill to a body shop, where the couple ahead of us had brought in a van, totalled from swerving to avoid a bear. Detroit should look into it–hunting could be their salvation.