Each morning when I leave for work, the last thing R.T. tells me is, “Watch out for deer!”Â It all started a couple months back because my route to work takes me through some country backroads where deer are plentiful.Â Â Too often, alonside the road, I see deer who were on the losing end of an encounter with a vehicle.Â I often see deer in the distance or near the road.Â So far, though, none had come close to running in front of me.
Soon, R.T.’s caution became a ritual – and, as silly as it might sound, it is one that always brings a smile to my face.Â RT never missed an opportunity to tell me to “Watch out for deer” until thisÂ morning.Â He was hurrying to meet a workman over at the building site and was distracted.Â Â I was on my way to work before I realized he hadn’t said it.Â I almost called him to tease him about forgetting it, but I figured the phone call would jinx me.Â
Jinxed or not, it didn’t take long.Â Sure enough, about six miles from school, as I drove down a road with particularly scenic woods on each side, I saw the deer.Â He was a large stately buck with an impressive rack of antlers, and he stood poised by the side of the road ahead – seemingly ready to dash across in front of me.Â I slowed the car.Â He looked my way, paused briefly- seeming to make eye contact – and then turned and bounded off into the woods.Â It wasÂ one of those unexpected moments in life when you see something so beautiful and close-up it takes your breath away.
I called R.T.Â “You forgot something this morning,” I said.
“Watch out for deer!” There are advantages to knowing someone so well.Â He knew exactly why I had called. He had already realized that he hadn’t given his usual caution.
“Too late,” I answered.Â I let the words hang there for a second or two before I assured him that I had not run into a deer but had merely seen one.Â Of course I had to talk about how large it was and how big the antlers had been.