Raspberry-filled Donuts and My Night With the Deer

This experience is one I had in June 2016 that will always stay in my mind, an experience I still haven’t shared with my own parents. I did send this story to subscribers of my newsletters, though, and it’s finally time to post it here with only a few minor edits.

Mother knows best?

My dad was having outpatient surgery to close a stomach hernia that was the end result of a previous surgery that hadn’t been closed properly, and I wanted to be with him to make sure he was taken care of. As the hospital was ninety minutes away, I decided to take my husband’s Mazda 3 to save on gas. The surgery went well, and they allowed my dad to leave the same day, so I put him in my car and drove him home.

My mother was anxious when I left their house. The dark was closing in and I had over an hour more to go before I arrived home. But I wasn’t scared of driving in the dark. And it was June, so there shouldn’t be a problem with deer. Right?

rasberry-filled donutsI stopped by the convenience store on the way out of town to grab a drink and a box of Hostess Raspberry Filled Donuts, you know, the kind with the powder sugar covering. Since I hadn’t eaten much, it probably wasn’t the best choice, but, hey, it had been a long day, and I deserved a reward for being such a dutiful daughter.

Twenty-minutes later, I finished the first lap of the journey and my second donut. I pulled off the two-lane road and onto the main four-lane highway, grateful to be able to speed up.

Then it happened.

The deer.

I swerved, trying to avoid the animal. No luck. The edge of my car hit him, and all my swerving did was to catapult me into oncoming traffic lights. I spun an entire 360 degrees, still going far too fast, but I kept yanking on the wheel, knowing I HAD to get off that lane before the cars hit into me.

All my efforts hurled me back across the lanes I’d just left. I tensed, expecting cars to slam into me from the side, but they didn’t. Back in control, I turned in the right direction and rolled a few yards until I could pull off to the side. Cars whizzed past in all directions. The whole thing had taken less than a few seconds.

deerMy heart was pounding, my hands sweating, and my entire body was shaking.

Thoughts went through my head:

Why hadn’t the cars hit me? Was the deer okay? Was I now living on borrowed time? (Remember I write FICTION for a living, so this is a totally natural thought and not paranoid at all. 🙂 )

If I’d been hit by a car in our little Mazda, it would have been a terrible accident I might not have walked away from. If I’d been in my SUV, I’m certain I would have flipped the vehicle. Twin girls had died only months before on this same road in a similar situation with a deer.

As I sat there shaking, I might have cried. A lot.

My sister called just then to ask about our dad, and, sobbing quite uncontrollably, I spilled the beans about what happened. I might have told her something about the living on borrowed time idea. She told me that local residents all know to hit the brakes when a deer pops out in front of the car, but to never, ever swerve. Better to take the brunt head-on than to die in a crash with another vehicle going at high speed.

I ate two more donuts, and that gave me the courage I needed to pull out on the highway again. I drove slowly home, where my kids greeted me with hugs and tears, and where, with a sympathetic smile, my husband popped out the dent in our car and shrugged. (Yes, my sister is a tattletale, like most little sisters.)

I ate another donut for good measure, which I could do since I hadn’t died, and threw the remaining donut away. It would be six months before I ate another one. Then I went to sleep hugging my youngest daughter, wondering again if this was an omen, and wondering if the deer had survived only to jump out in front of another car on another day.

What did I learn?

Life can change in a second.
Miracles happen.
Usually Mom does know best.
Don’t ever eat five donuts in one night, even if they have raspberry filling.

What about you?

Have you ever had a near death experience or other scary experience? I’d love to hear about it. And please weigh in about what kind of raspberry-filled donuts you love or hate.

Hope you are having a great week!

Teyla Rachel Branton

 

 

Copyright 2017 Teyla Rachel Branton

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