I topped the crest of the Celeste Road overpass spanning Interstate 65 in my mother's blue 1977 Pontiac station wagon and was nearly blinded by the lights from the newly built 7-11 convenience store.
Despite the annoying lights, the whole neighborhood was proud to have this little store finally here after having been rumored for so long. And never mind that Delchamps, a full service grocer, was less than a mile to the east up Celeste Road. It did not have the real conveniences that mattered most: gas and pinball.
Despite the lack of pinball, I went to Delchamps for this errand. A few hours earlier rain had soaked the streets, which were still sufficiently slippery.
With my attention drawn to the floodlights from the 7-11 store, I didn't see the approximately 120 pound doe (hereinafter “Bambi”) lying in the middle of Celeste Road.
Nothing gets your attention like something unexpected in the road on a dark rainy night.
In the nanoseconds that followed, I realized what it was - lying there in the road.
Of course, Bambi’s eyes froze as the approaching Pontiac illuminated her face; state law requires it.
Unfortunately for her, her body did not stay frozen. She bolted to her right. With a 50/50 chance of avoiding disaster, I chose wrongly, swerved to my left where, not coincidentally, the Pontiac and the deer met.
As Bambi and the Pontiac met, I nearly drove off the embankment to the north side of Celeste Road and came to rest on the aforementioned Bambi.
Fortunately, for the Pontiac, the damage was minimal; but for the Bambi, umm, life would not be quite the same.
OK, life would not be life at all.
But, for two resourceful locals hanging out at the 7-11 (probably playing pinball) this would be their lucky day.
When Bambi and the Pontiac met, there was a noise. This thud carried through the summer air the 300 yards to the 7-11.
The scared 17-year-old driver – that’d be me – shaking from the trauma, but better off than the Bambi, sped home – all of two blocks.
The pinball dudes took note.
I garnered enough stamina to return to the 7-11 a few minutes later, looked up toward the overpass and spotted the pinball wizards lifting the Bambi into the back of their pick up truck.
Why bother going into the woods hunting for Bambis when one has been provided for — right up the road?
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