Our Pet Deer
My mind is slipping back in years like it does so many times. I’m now in the year 1963. It was a typical year in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Late spring was turning into early summer and the time that my brother, Jim, and I spent in the forest was a daily event. This particular year though, we had no idea at the time that our lives were going to change. Jim and I grew up with nature all around us. We were taught by our parents to admire and respect it.
Jim was walking near a small stream that passed a short distance from our home. He spotted something in the brush that immediately caught his eye. It was a newborn fawn covered with spots. The mother was nowhere to be seen which was unusual for such a tiny animal. The fawn was very weak and our family feared that the mother may have met an untimely death. Jim carried the little fawn home and we nursed it back to health by using a baby bottle. Growing up with nature all around us we knew what we had to do. Our mission and our job were to protect God’s creatures. That isn’t saying that we were not hunters. However, everything that we killed we ate. It was a time in our lives when that was a necessary thing to do. I have since that time given up hunting. Now many years later, I would much rather hunt with a camera.
It was at that time Freckles came into our lives. What else could we possibly call such a frail little fawn covered with spots? Freckles grew and spent much time in the forest around us but always came to see the people that saved her when she was so little. We would hold out an apple in our hand and she would take it from us as we petted her just like she was our favorite pet. She was an unusual pet, but growing up country would often bring such circumstances into our lives. I can remember having a pet gray squirrel and a pet raccoon when I was a little boy.
Freckles continued to grow and brought our family much happiness. I’m sure that she felt the same way about us. We could go outside of our home and call her and smile as we would see her running toward us. No matter how old I get, I will never forget the time that Freckles was in my life.
That was over fifty years ago. It was a very rural area at that time. I’m sitting in front of my computer now thinking of how the housing boom of the last couple of decades has shrunk the size of the forest land in the Pocono Mountains. This little country boy is now approaching sixty-nine years old. I now live in another state, in a city next to a state park. I can walk into that park of over five thousand acres and I can feel the little boy that is still inside of me. I’m watching some squirrels playing nearby. I listen to the sound of the wind whistling through the tree branches. I can look out over a little lake and smile as I think back over my life. Although I am now hundreds of miles from the Pocono Mountains of my youth, this state park keeps those memories alive in me. As I think back through the years I can see it’s been a good life. I will never forget Freckles. She was special. I’m proud to be an American. I smile and realize how special that is.
Copyright Larry W. Fish 2017