Wendy Cartwright: Midwest wonders: Watch out for deer

By Wendy Cartwright

Guest columnist

Midwesterners are considered some of the friendliest people in the United States.

It’s true. Google it if you don’t believe me. There is a phrase, however, that not all locals throw around. It’s “I love you.”

“Now, wait a minute,” you may be saying in disagreement. “This woman is crazy. I tell my family that I love them all the time.”

I’m not talking about telling our families that we love them. I’m talking about the other people we come in contact with.

How many times have you stopped by a friend’s house for a short visit around dark or left that Labor Day barbecue at dusk and your gracious host said the Midwest equivalent of “I love you?” You know what I’m talking about. We all say it. It’s the kindest, most loving statement we can utter: “Watch out for deer.”

We’ve all seen just what an 8-pointer can do to the front end of a pickup, and we know a deer can effectively destroy a small car. We also know not to trust a deer until they’re well past the ditch. They tend to want to turn around and ram your passenger door.

In the early 2000s, I had a job in pizza delivery. I had just bought a brand-new Hyundai Elantra. One night, I was looking for a house number on a dark, tree-lined hill when all of a sudden … Bam! A large doe ran directly in front of me, and I struck it. I was lucky because I was going slowly in search of the hungry customer. The deer ran into the treeline, and I got out to check the damage. There was only a minor crack in the fiberglass bumper.

We may have all heard it a million times or said it that many times ourselves. New drivers may dismiss the statement with a scoff. But we shouldn’t be too quick to underestimate the creatures or to think we’re such wonderful drivers that it won’t happen to us. There’s always a possibility that a deer can appear.

So the next time you are on the receiving end of this heartfelt sentiment, take it for what it is. It’s both a warning and an expression of love.

Wendy Cartwright hails from the North Vernon area and has lived there most of her life. She is 43 years old. She has a love of sharing her thoughts on growing up in the Midwest and other stories from her life. She spends her days reading and writing in the home she shares with her husband and chihuahua. Send comments to [email protected].