As fate would have it, we decided this Thanksgiving to turn our wheels eastward towards the land of the living skies — or at least that’s what kind of land it is according to their license plates.
Saskatchewan! Here we come!
It was to be a redneck, country Thanksgiving, with a shooting competition using real guns complete with very loud bangs, crazy quad rides through the forest, a very competitive horseshoe tournament, and canoe rides on the slough. And, to top it all off, the chance to consume lots of food and drink, and maybe even make some music.
We started out late, of course, because in my world, that’s where we usually start out.
I knew that we had probably hit the Saskatchewan border when the wide expanse of nothingness seemed to get even wider. By this time the sun had disappeared somewhere in Alberta and the road and the sky and all points in between looked blurred and kind of grey and not at all pretty.
That was when we saw him, standing dead centre in the middle of the road, almost the same colour as the night.
“Deer!” I shrieked to my husband, who was behind the wheel, not meaning ‘dear’ as an endearment, but ‘deer’ as in ‘animal, big, middle of the road.’
But it was too late.
It truly was a deer in the headlights scenario and we hit the poor creature head on with a terrific bang that crumpled up the hood of our humble little truck and did a lot of internal damage that we still don’t like to talk about.
The deer died instantly, a blessing, no doubt, for both us and the animal.
Hitting the deer changed everything about the trip.
For one thing, in less than a heartbeat we became much less bored with the tedious journey and a whole lot more agitated, sort of like Coke inside a can that has just accidentally been dropped.
We both uttered a lot of unprintable words and watched helplessly as the steam poured out of our crumpled hood.
That was when the first acts of kindness happened, which incidentally, just kept spilling out from likely and unlikely sources, until we were safely deposited on our own front step some days later.
Two young men, wearing traditional baseball caps and driving a pickup truck (also traditional), actually turned their truck around, no doubt stopped in their tracks by the sight of our steaming truck with the crumpled hood stalled in the middle of the highway.
“You guys all right?” they inquired, peering in the driver’s door.
I shouldn’t have giggled at that moment, but I must have been a bit giddy, plus it seemed like a really silly question.
They helped us limp back to the nearest town which consisted mostly of a tavern and other small town stuff like a few houses and lots of parked pick up trucks in front of the tavern.
The people, of which there were many, passing by our truck to get into the tavern, looked at our truck with something akin to pity before shaking their heads and uttering one word.
Yup, we replied, all gloomy and sad and a bit confused as to how our journey, so abruptly interrupted, would end.
It ended, of course, thanks to friends and family and all the good things that we reverently repeated later at the lovely Thanksgiving table.
“I’m glad for the kindness of family and friends. I’m glad only our truck was hurt, not us. I’m glad I’m here to tell this story.”
And in the end I was glad I won the horseshoe tournament, which is, of course, a whole other story.