Friday, May 2, 2014

Well, this happened

We were asleep at 2 a.m. when our son called from upstate, where he had gone to spend the weekend with friends. I picked up the phone. "We're here at the house, safe and sound," he said, "but you might want to wake up a bit because I do have something to tell you."

My son and two friends had left for Ithaca at about 9 pm, after they all finished work. About 20 miles outside of town, on a dark rural road with a deep ditch on one side, a deer darted out of the woods and ran headfirst into the car, knocking it across the road into the oncoming traffic lane, which mercifully was empty. As my son tried to right the fishtailing vehicle he hit a signpost, skidded back and forth and then the car was up on two wheels on one side about to flip into the ditch when it suddenly righted itself and spun, coming to a stop horizontally across the two lanes. Thankfully, no one in the car was hurt. My son pulled off the road and parked and got out to survey the damage at which point a state police cruiser pulled up. The deer was dead, the skid marks told the story, and the cop filled out an incident report for the insurance company and sent the young men on their way.

As my son related all this I didn't panic, because there he was on the phone with me and he sounded fine, if a little shaken by what could have happened—but didn't. I told him to tell the story again to his dad so I wouldn't have to, and while they spoke I went to use the bathroom then to get a glass of water. By the time I came back, the two men had hung up but now I was more awake and I had questions. So I called him back. He said, "I expected you to call back. You were remarkably chill when I told you. I knew you weren't fully awake." At one point he said, "It was terrifying. You're driving along and suddenly some invisible thing slams into you and the car is careening and you don't even have time to think what the hell just happened?!"

It's the call you never want to get, unless of course some throng of guardian angels surrounded that car and righted it before true disaster could befall those boys. My cousin's husband, who is from Montana, always says city drivers don't know to look out for deer on rural roads, but I can tell you, from now on my son will be scanning for them. I can hardly wait till he's back in the fold on Sunday. Until then I'll be trusting that he has a good time with his friends this weekend regardless, and all the while I'll be silently praying him back home. Since I have no superpowers it is what I can do.


  1. On my birthday in 2003 my son wrote me an email from Iraq. It started with "First thing Mom, I'm all right." I knew it was going to be bad. Thankfully that army of angels was around him that night. I'm glad they were protecting your son. I'll say a prayer for his safe return.

    1. Lisa, such a coincidence. My birthday is tomorrow. I am glad our boys are safe and thanks for adding your petition for my son's in eventful return. xo

  2. It is good to know all is well with your son.

  3. I too hit a deer once and it totaled the front end of my car. I am SO GLAD everyone is okay. Those phone calls at night are always scary.

  4. I have heard there are more deer now on this continent than there were when the white guys got to it. And they are terribly dangerous on the road, especially at night. Yes, that could have gone so much worse. I am so glad it didn't.

  5. So glad he is safe and sound. That was a very scary mishap and a very lucky outcome! Deer are so hard to see at night and they often run across the roads, so your son might not have seen it if he were looking. My dad totaled his car hitting a deer and his biggest injury was the air bag flinging his hands into his face. :)

  6. I am dreading these calls even if it turns out ok but you can hear it in the voice and the pauses and maybe even before anybody says anything. My daughter has a certain fake cheerfulness I feel I can smell across the planet and she knows it. I don't think this will ever get any better or easier.
    But: They call, they tell, they know we need to know and they want us to.

    I actually ran over a (very old) fox on my very first night out with my dad's car. I can still feel the thump. I never told my parents.

  7. I am so glad that all is well. I have been in a car that ALMOST hit a deer several times, and it is, indeed, terrifying.

  8. I too am glad to hear all is well. Except for the car! And the deer. I'm sure he will forever more be on the lookout for deer. I hit a deer once and it took months to get over the terror of driving at night.
    Bless those angels that watch over our babies.

  9. You can't always see deer even if you are watching. They dart out and run right into you. I'm so glad your son is ok!

  10. So terrifying, and that is exactly what it's like, an invisible thing suddenly slams into you. I am so, so glad that the minor damage in the photo above is the worst of it. Good job not panicking on the phone. :)