Putt Putt Golf, a rainy night, and my first deer

After an exhaustive night at Putt Putt Golf in Mobile, I headed north for home. I took the Celeste Road exit off Interstate 65 in my mother’s blue 1977 Pontiac station wagon (every teenagers’ dream car). The floodlights from the new 7-11, about a half-mile away, were working well. I stopped and made the left-hand turn west towards our house.

I didn’t mind the lights. It had taken years for this new little store to get here, so a little bright light wasn’t a big deal. With the store, I felt that we were at least getting close to the 20th century. There was a full-service grocery store probably a mile down the road towards town. But it didn’t have the stuff that mattered to 17-year-olds like me, gas and pinball machines.

With my attention drawn to the floodlights from the 7-11, I didn’t see the large creature sitting in the middle of the road.

Few things in life get your attention like something unexpected in the road on a dark and rainy night.

In the nanoseconds that followed, I realized what it was – lying there in the road.

A deer.

Of course, her eyes froze on cue as the headlights from the car lit up her face.

Instinctively, she bolted. Well, I say “instinctively” but I don’t know why her instincts didn’t keep her out of the road in the first place. It was probably a warm place to sit.

So, with a 50/50 chance of avoiding disaster, I swerved to my left where, not coincidentally, the Pontiac and the deer met each other.

I almost drove off the embankment but instead came to rest on the aforementioned Bambi.

Fortunately, for the Pontiac, the damage was minimal. Things were the opposite for Bambi.

But for two resourceful pinball guys hanging out at the 7-11, this would be their lucky day.

When Bambi and the Pontiac met, an unpleasant thud carried through the summer air 300 yards to the 7-11.

I was scared and shaking from the trauma, but better off than the Bambi. I panicked and sped home – all of two blocks away.

The ever resourceful pinball dudes watched my Pontiac disappear and looked back up the street at the scene of the accident.

Maybe they thought I had hit someone. I don’t know.

The Pontiac had some damage to the front end, which displeased my dad.

I drove back to the 7-11 a few minutes later, looked up toward the overpass, and spotted the pinball wizards lifting and loading Bambi into the back of their pick up truck.

I had never killed a deer before and haven’t since then. But I was glad to be able to assist a couple of South Alabama pinball dudes in bagging a deer without the need of trampling into the woods.

Why bother when a deer had been prepared for you right up the road?

Bon appetit, dudes.

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