Deer: Differing Perspectives

Two deer ambled across the road in the dim morning light. I eased off the gas, slowing as another scrambled up the bank and across. In an instant, they had entered the line of trees and disappeared. Here then gone.

Looking both ways carefully, wary of stragglers, I slowly sped up and resumed my commute to school. Smiling now. Thankful for the moment.

Good luck, I thought, mentally sending the deer wishes for safe passage across country roads and through this year’s hunting season. God speed!

Driving along, I replayed the moment in my mind. The graceful movements, overlarge ears and tawny pelts. The swish of white tails. Seeing deer always brings me such joy.

Maybe I’ll write a haiku.

I entertained myself with phrases and syllable counts until I pulled into the school parking lot. Then, as I entered the classroom, the deer faded from mind amidst the reality of towering stacks and endless to-do lists.

About two hours later, my students arrived. L. approached me with a huge grin on his face.

“Mrs. Hogan! Guess what I did!?” he asked, his excitement palpable.

I set down my clipboard to give him my full attention. “What?” I asked.

“I ate a deer heart last night!” he crowed.

Insert a long pause here.

“Um. Oh.” I stammered. Another long pause. He looked at me expectantly.

Finally, I spoke. “Why?” (Yes, not my finest response, but I was flummoxed and genuinely horrified. And also, really, Why??? As a vegetarian, I don’t appreciate meat eating, but heart eating seems like another level entirely–even more invasive and primitive. Yeah, I know that may not really make sense…)

“Huh?” he looked back at me, clearly uncertain how to answer. His smile faltered.

I regrouped and tried to manage my expression.

“Well, how did you cook it?” Ew!

“Oh, I think my dad just threw it in the oven,” he responded.

“Was it good?” I asked, really wishing I weren’t having this conversation.

“Yeah! It was delicious!” he replied, smile firmly entrenched again. He then bounded off to start his day.

I picked up my clipboard and shook my head.

I wish I’d taken the time to write that haiku.

13 thoughts on “Deer: Differing Perspectives

  1. Flummoxed! That’s just what I would have felt blindsided by his comment. That haiku on the deer has forever changed. Still, he told you something that meant a lot to him. He trusted you. And why? This one line from your piece, “I set down my clipboard to give him my full attention.” If teachers only got that giving their students their full attention is as important as teaching them to read, write, and play with numbers, this would all be a better world. Well done, teach!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. trishsplace says:

    Ew and yet Wow! Good on you for being that kind of attentive teacher. But, ew! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fran Haley says:

    Molly-!! I can’t imagine! I’m kind of writhing and retching a bit, as the first thing that came to mind (I am so sorry) was Jeffrey Dahmer. I’ve never heard of eating deer heart before and I live out in the country where people cook deer all kinds of ways – not really a fan of venison but I will say that when I broke my foot in February I actually enjoyed a dish of venison stroganoff someone brought me. I love these beautiful. graceful creatures even if they do eat people’s gardens (rose as well as vegetable) and, like you, wish them safe and well away from hunters (I don’t tell them this. The hunters, not the deer). Now my mind is pondering a haiku ‘deer heart’ epitaph and it is going to be monstrously hard to shake :O

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Despite living in a rural area, Fran, I had no idea that eating deer heart was a thing. Apparently, it’s actually considered a delicacy. Another student mentioned it as her favorite food in a totally different discussion right after this. Ick!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. margaretsmn says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with students taking an entirely different view of Bambi. Yet, I didn’t know one could eat the heart. Yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG. I cannot even imagine eating any kind of heart! That poor deer!

    Where I live (in Central PA), most school districts give off the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is the first day of deer hunting season. We’re not hunters so even after 11 years I’m a bit confused by the “tradition.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mitchell Linda says:

    Oh, Molly. I am horrified (I’m also vegetarian) and laughing as one who grew up in deer hunting territory. That kid has the iron levels of superman right now. But, I’m more with you…ew! Great slice of life today.


  7. cvarsalona says:

    Flummoxed is a great word that truly fits this event, Molly. I always have been surprised by some of the delicacies children reported that they ate at holiday meals. Your intro that was lovely did not prepare me for the child to teacher conversation but that is the mark of a great tale.


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