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by Michael M. Dewitt, Jr. | Aug 26, 2020 | BIG GAME, HUNTING
Dear Deer

The heart wants what the heart wants, dear deer, and that’s you.
Dear Deer,
Why do you make me chase you? If you only knew what I had to go through, the trials I must endure, the obstacles I must overcome in order to spend time with you, you would throw your hooves up in the air and surrender out of sheer pity.

First, I have to get past the wife. After four 12-hour days at the office with you on my mind constantly, I’m finally home before dark and she asks, “Hey, don’t you want to spend some time with me? I just heard about this South Carolina Antique Trail. We can visit 12 antique stores in one day if we don’t stop for lunch!”

I’m dressed in head-to-toe camouflage, a ThermaCELL crammed in one pocket and a .30-06 rifle magazine in another, reeking of Deep Woods OFF.

“Sure, Honey,” I respond, but please believe me when I tell you this: every moment I’m with her, even when I’m holding her in my arms, I’m thinking only of you, dear deer.

So Saturday is out, which leaves me skipping church and Sunday School to be with you on the Sabbath. Yes, my soul may be in danger of eternal damnation, but it is the heart that matters most here. The heart wants what the heart wants, dear deer, and that’s you.
deer buck oil painting

The spousal obstacle surmounted and the soul in jeopardy, and it’s finally time to hunt. Now I must quietly slip past the family dog, Barkly, who ain’t been right since that school bus hit him last year. Once Barkly realizes that I’m going hunting, the same mutt that hasn’t said a word to me since that fateful trip to the vet that robbed him of his manhood (the wife’s idea, not mine!) will now become man’s best friend and follow me all the way to the deer stand, playing “tag, you’re it” with every wild creature in sight, before setting up camp directly beneath my stand and then talking all afternoon, offering advice, reminiscing about the good old days, begging for some of my beef jerky and asking non-stop questions.

Now, I know how to cuss in fluent Southern, mixed with a Coast Guard dialect, a Navy vocabulary and a construction worker accent–a skill I learned from my father and his father before him–and if it were physically possible to cuss a dog to death then Barkly’s collar would be hanging on my trophy wall as we speak. But alas, the canine will not die from the vocal blasts; at most he will usually wobble off back to the house “punch drunk” and have to lie down somewhere.

As if the spouse and the dog weren’t enough, dear deer, then there is the inevitable herd of cows my father inconveniently planted in the back-forty hay field, between me and the deer stand, of course.

And that big one with the horns, Nettie, has a bit of an attitude and is obviously triggered by either camouflage or OFF, I can’t tell which. But if I get a running start, I can usually escape with only one gored kidney, and all I need is one kidney to be with you, dear deer.

(Now don’t get me wrong: even though she is Daddy’s favorite cow, I will pull that .30-06 out and smoke that bovine bully, but it’s you I’m really after, dear deer).

But all the wives and dogs and cows in North America cannot keep us apart! When I do manage to get close to you, it is worth it. I am so excited that I’m trembling with emotion. My hands are clammy. My voice is husky. Finally, it’s just you and me alone, silently waiting in the deer stand in the pre-dark hours.

Soon to be together at last.

“Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!”

Well, alone except for maybe Cousin Wilson’s donkey, who lives next door, who bellows warning into the wind just as you are about to step out into the fading light so that I can have one fleeting glimpse of your beautiful body in the crosshairs of my scope.

(I wonder what donkey tastes like. And can I get a clear shot from here?)

But alas, you’re gone, vanished into the growing darkness. My unrequited love. Another day has escaped without us finding each other. My empty heart is heavy with sadness. Oh, how I yearn for you!

I’ll miss you, dear deer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back and shoot the donkey. And the cow. And maybe finish off that cussed dog while I’m at it.

See you next week. I will count the hours, my love. Until we meet again.
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