Oh, deer! After reading a story in last week’s Landmark about two deer being hit by cars within seconds of each other on First Avenue, I was reminded that there are number animals in the area. Poor things! 

Now, I admit I am an animal sympathizer. I saw the movie “Bambi” as a child and never watched it again. It was too sad for me. I think it was the only Disney movie not in our home collection. So when I read stories such as last week’s, I feel badly for them again. 

I know they are around and they have been visitors to our backyard to eat the birdseed with the squirrels and birds — they all get along. One day “the boss” even showed up, a beautiful big stag and with him was a smaller deer. For a while last year we had visits from an injured deer who was able to move around on three legs. We would see him for weeks and then he was gone.

When I was teaching at Mater Christi School in North Riverside, going west down 26th Street, past First Avenue, I always went slow, not just because it was a speed trap but because the deer congregated in the clearing around 5th and 6th avenues. They would wait before crossing the street to feast on someone’s bushes.

When I was a child, before Morton West High School in Berwyn was built, the area was a large fenced-in area with lots of trees and deer. I have no idea how they got there and I didn’t care, because my parents told me that was where Santa kept his reindeer and as far as I was concerned, it was true. 

We would visit them every week, spend time looking at them and bring them stale bread, Italian bread, nice and crusty. 

When the land was developed the deer vanished. I didn’t know where, but I was concerned. My parents told me that Santa had moved them to another location and I was satisfied. I believed they would be taken care of at their next location to be ready for Christmas.

It’s funny how I’m reminded of different times when the deer come to our backyard. They seem very content and look at us with those big brown eyes as if it’s OK to be there and are they safe. Yes they are, because who knows? They may wind up being one of Santa’s reindeer in training.

Look both ways before you cross the street, you and the deer.