Somewhere on the dark, wet, deserted four-lane highway near the edge of Hanover County, Gen and I saw a deer run across the road ahead of us. It was far enough ahead that we would just miss hitting it. Suddenly Gen said "No! Don't turn around!" and then the deer did exactly that. It wheeled back the way it came and slammed into the van's right front fender. I've always wondered how Gen knew the deer was going to do that. She cried out before it started to turn.

So then there was the matter of the deer to handle. I needed a police report to explain the damage on the van to the rental agency. I noted the next mile marker and we drove to the nearest town, about eight miles away. We stopped at a convenience store and called the cops. A cruiser from the King William Sheriff's Office came along. The deputy listened to what I had to say and informed me that the deer-hit had occurred in Hanover County. He contacted Hanover, who dispatched an officer and told me to head back to a designated spot and wait till the Hanover officer reached us.

It was 1:30 a.m. by this time. Ken, Valine, Gen, and her cat all deserve high praise for their lack of complaining. I think we were all too worn-out to gripe, but I sure felt sorry for us, sitting in the van at the side of the road, exposed to God knows what danger that might lurk on a dark and stormy night when everybody with any sense is home and safely tucked in bed. The Hanover officer asked me to leave the van alongside the road and ride with him to find the deer. We drove past the spot where I was sure the deer's carcass would be lying in the road, but no deer. The officer turned the car around and we looked again. He spotted it--somebody had moved it off the highway. I'm still embarrassed that I hadn't thought to do that, but, oh well.

The officer filed a report, gave me some paperwork, and drove me back to the van, alone at the side of the road, flashers blinking, with three people inside, waiting and weary. I turned the van back onto the eastbound lanes and drove back to Heathsville. By the time we arrived there at 3:30 a.m., the rain had stopped.