Me & Buck
This is the blog I wrote after I hit the twelve-point buck, who I named Buck. He has been with me ever since. And, all these years later, I still think of him and our connection and am grateful for the life lesson he gave me. Here is my story with Buck. If you are rushing in today’s crazy, fast-paced world, I hope it makes you slow down. - Christine
I’m not big on the God thing, but I like Oprah’s God. She somehow makes it more about that inner voice inside that speaks to us. We know that voice is the right thing, but often we are too busy doing the wrong thing to stop and listen. Oprah says that the God voice inside her first whispers, then it speaks a little louder, and a little louder and when she still isn’t paying attention he slams her over the head.
The long and the short of it all is that fifteen years ago I was driving to Denver from LA to spend the weekend with my cousins and then winging it to NYC for Thanksgiving. I stopped Friday night at an amazing spa in Utah and headed out in my car with Vivien (my GPS), my iTunes (before Spotify), and an amazing country view of red clay mountains early Saturday morning. I really felt for the first time in months as if I was winding down from my high-pressure career in Los Angeles, where I was Vice President of Marketing for the largest party rental company in the country. And, I was still running Blue Shoe, my marketing company, on the side.
I never saw the buck before he was in the road just to my left. I think he was in the ravine and came racing up out of it, but I’m not sure. He had what I now know is called a twelve-point rack (antlers, lots of them) and for one split second he and I locked eyes. I was going 84 miles an hour in my Audi SUV, and he was going 20 miles an hour on his hoofs. I actually made a conscious decision not to swerve, which turned out to be the right thing to do. I hit him head on. He went through the front of my car, broke apart the radiator, which then sent pieces into the engine, and then some of him flew up, hit the windshield and I was literally not able to see out the window. Somehow I got to the side of the road. Smoke was steaming out of the top of the car. I turned it off and I swear to God Vivien started repeating “You have left the road. Please return to the road,” over and over again like those crazy robots in bad movies. My first words were, “Vivien, shut the f(&^ up.”
A trucker was behind me and he came running back from in front of me where he pulled over. He put his arm around me, told me I was really lucky, that he thought I was going to be dead, and I started to cry.
I was outside a town called Richview, near Salina. The police came, the clean-up crew came, and the wrecker came. Everyone was so nice, and everyone kept saying I was lucky to be alive.
“If you didn’t have such a big car…”
“If you had swerved, you would have flipped…” My friend from UPS told me later that day that they teach the drivers, “Don’t veer for deer.” Clever.
“His antlers could have gone through the window…”
I just pretty much stood there.
Dave, the tow truck guy who also owns the body repair shop, whose brother-in-law runs the only car rental for miles and miles, spoke to me about the plan. He spoke really slowly, and he kept scratching his head while lifting up his baseball hat that said John Deere on it. I thought that was ironical.
“No offense but you look like one of those people who likes things to happen fast, and we don’t move fast out here. Next week is Thanksgiving, so I can’t get anyone to look at your car until the week after Thanksgiving.”
“Who is here to look at it?”
“Me.” Swear to God.
“Also, we don’t have fancy cars like this here, and I think we should tow it to Provo where they have an Audi dealer.”
I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say that two hours later Vivien and my car were settled in behind the the station and were going to Provo on Monday. I got a rental car that had to be driven back to my new best friend Dave in Richview after the holidays because it’s through the Ford dealership and you have to bring it back where you got it. My new AAA insurance that I had been crabby about a few weeks earlier covered everything except the rental car, and the nicest of ladies actually asked me if I was ok before asking insurance questions. She also called me late in the afternoon to see if I’d made it safely to Denver. Wow.
Something in me changed when Buck and I locked eyes. First, I realized that in the split second that separate those who panic from those who do not, I surely sit in the category of those who do not. How grateful am I? Very. I also realize that the damsel in distress person is not me. A number of people – my cousin’s husband, my college roommate – all offered to come and get me. I didn’t go there. I got in a rental car and drove to Denver and after about an hour of scanning every cranny of the side of the road for another deer, I settled into the view, my music and the competent driver that I am.
The buck never had a prayer up against my machinery. He gave me a present. I vowed to slow down. I promised to be just a bit different. I couldn’t say how at the time, but I can say now that I enjoyed the day with my family in Denver more than I might have if it hadn’t happened. I gained a new perspective about what is important.
I now hear the God voice inside me that Oprah speaks of and I’m sorry it took something like this to make me sit up and listen. I know Buck is my guardian angel - all these years later - still he is with me, and I’m grateful to him and to my car, and even to Vivien. So much to be thankful for…
I love this story. I think what you took from this experience is the it was meant to be.❤️