Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Oh, deer, here’s a timely tale

December 1, 2005

Once again, Thanksgiving has come and gone and I'm thankful for that. It's a favored holiday, of course, but it can be filled with perils. A lot of that has to do with the combination of the heaviest travel week of the year as winter is finally taking hold.

Then, too, there's that eating thing. It's a time to gorge, that's for sure, and as always I have to plead guilty as charged. With my "hollow legs," that's really never been much of a concern for me over the years.

Maybe those years are over.

I drove to Liberal in far western Kansas for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to see my parents. My dad had two major surgeries within a week recently and it was good to see he is recovered. It had been hard to tell because the only lingering effect from the surgery is a problem with his voice. He didn't sound very well over the phone, but to be with him in the flesh, I knew he was fine.

Mom, of course, did her Thanksgiving finest. From the moment of arrival to the moment of departure, she had food in front of me. She also sent back tons of food, including her world-famous noodles. We have always adored them. She sent back a whole boat-load of them with me and the boys and I have continued chowing down on them.

I was also once again able to pull my pie trio for dessert on Thanksgiving. Even I don't know how I can do it after I've stuffed myself with turkey, noodles, stuffing, etc. and, yes, more noodles. But, I did it -- a piece of pecan, mom's special banana pie and, of course, a slice of pumpkin.

She sent a pecan pie back with me, too. The gorge-fest continued.

When Monday rolled around, if you'll excuse the pun, I found myself not feeling quite right in the Signal office. I wasn't sure what it was. Then I decided to try something. I loosened the belt a notch. All was well.

But, it hit me -- my hollow legs have finally filled.

Despite the belt "incident," the gorge continues. Noodles and pie, oh my.

I'll waddle through somehow.

As for the travel, it certainly was a factor, too. Twelve hours roundtrip in the Pony is a lot of time. I was certainly blessed with two things -- good weather and good radio. There was none of those blizzard conditions that shut down I-70 and I-80 when so many people were heading back from Thanksgiving for me.

I, of course, had thrown in a ton of CDs, knowing from experience that western Kansas is a radio void. But, I got a little surprise. The Wichita Fox station was playing an A to Z Thanksgiving Weekend special and I miraculously picked it up just outside of Emporia and it lasted longer past Wichita than expected. It was still going on with the return trip. I got to hear a lot of songs I hadn't heard in a long time. Rock on.

But, still, the road is long. Real long. The mind tends to drift in all sorts of directions. Of course, there are landmarks along the way of note and the variety of road kill keeps things interesting. There were the usuals -- raccoons, opossums, even a coyote or two, a pheasant and, of course, deer.

Since it's rut season, there were even more deer than usual. It's just that time of the year. Nothing unusual. But, it did get me caught up in one of those wild mind things. It hit me that this must be an especially busy time for the editors and writers of the "Deer Gazette" with all the obituaries that must be written.

This is in jest and not intended to offend anyone, including animal rights people. The annual slaughter of deer along the nation's highways, especially during rut season, is well known. So, I started "writing" a deer obit in my head. Here it goes:

  • **
  • Deer Fred is dead. He was 8. He met his demise Nov. 26, 2005, just east of Emporia near mile marker 152. A semi-tractor trailer at 80 mph was the cause, as Fred miscalculated its closing speed as he ran across the Interstate on a courting mission.

Deer Fred was well known in the woods. His antlers were the envy of many other bucks, who also respected his abilities to defend his harem. He was also well known for his abilities to out fox hunters and possessed one of the finest noses in the area. He was especially fond of soybeans, but wasn't choosy about his agricultural food choices. He had few hobbies.

Deer Fred is survived by his "known of" does: Daisy, Delila, Doris, Debbie, Diane, Diana, Dixie, Valerie, Venica, Vicky, Angie, Alica, Alice, Ann, Anne, Annie and Anny, among others; many, many offspring; and even more great-offspring.

Burial services were brief. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the "Buy More Deer Crossing Sign Fund" in care of the funeral home, Coyotes-R-Us.

***

Yes, the mind certainly tends to wander when hours and hours are spent on the open road. And, it makes me hungry. I think I'll have some more noodles ... and pie.

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