Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Wildness

Seems I forgot something when I said I'd be writing a series titled, My Best Friend Starr Ann's Most Embarrassing Moments. Truth is, Starr Ann does not suffer from embarrassment. Ever.

So, as she was trying to decipher my new password this morning, she said, "Don't think you've got fodder for that series, Margo. Now, if you want to write about all the times I've done things that have embarrassed you, that's different. Plenty of those." She tested out another password and it failed. Heh.

I said, "I'm always proud of you, Starr Ann."

That got a snicker.

Starr Ann said, "How about the time you were picking up Chinese food I had called in under the name Condoleezza Rice, and it took five minutes to straighten out the confusion and then they kept calling you Condoleezza Rice in front of all the people behind you in line?"

I said that wasn't embarrassment, it was outrage.

She thought a second, then tried another variation of the password and asked, "Well, what about when we were on that crowded elevator and I asked you how your supply of Preparation H was holding up?"

I said, "That one was so lame, Starr Ann. Who would believe I needed that stuff?"

"Or the time I talked you into going to that Republican rally with me, just to get a handle on what makes those people tick?"

I had to admit, "Okay, that was totally humiliating."

Starr Ann hit Enter and her password attempt failed again. She was never going to guess this one. Then she said, "The time we were driving in Claire's car with the two wild fawns and I kept waving out the window at people?"

Now that brought back a lot of wonderful memories. It was two springs ago. We heard this distressed sound coming from the woods. Sounded like a kitten screaming its head off. But it turned out to be a tiny fawn. She was lying all wound into a ball just at the edge of the trees. Now, we know well enough to never meddle with a fawn lying alone like that. The mama deer leave them like that on purpose, teaching the baby to be very still and quiet when she has to leave it alone. But this one was hollering and carrying on so, we thought it would be a good idea to call the wildlife rescue organization near us. Barbara said that if the baby was that upset, it was probably hungry, which meant the mama hadn't been back in quite a while. We did a search and did, sadly, find that the mother would not be returning. She had been hit by a car.

That meant we needed to go against the usual rule of leaving a baby deer where it's lying, get it to a warm, dry place before dark, and get some formula in its belly. This little thing couldn't even walk. It just scrabbled across the ground, but we dang near couldn't catch it. Good thing she almost got away, though, because in tripping after her, we discovered her sister about fifty feet away, lying quiet as could be.

Here's the second baby, right where we found her.

Anyway, we got to keep them in one of our stalls for several days before taking them to Barbara's to be socialized with other orphans.

They were real weak at first, and skittish.

But the more we fed them, the stronger they got. And although we tried hard not to make them too tame, the simple reality that we had to bottle feed them did cause some imprinting.

When they finally got big enough to stand and run around upright, we fully understood why you should never try to keep a wild animal. They were incredibly strong and we feared they were going to break out of the barn any day.

That worry made it a lot easier to give them up when the time came. We borrowed our neighbor's station wagon for the trip to Barbara's place. That morning, we put on all kinds of protective clothing and backed the car right up to the stall door, because we were sure these kids were going to go nuts when we confined them inside a vehicle. To tell the truth, we were a little bit daunted by the idea of trying to drive 15 miles with two crazed fawns ricocheting all over the place.

But they were little angels about getting carried to the back seat, where Starr Ann intended to try to keep them contained while I drove. So far so good. Then I started the car up, and they stayed right there on Starr Ann's lap, nice as could be. When we got rolling, same thing. Perfect behavior from those two.

By the time we went through town, Starr Ann had the babies' heads propped up on her shoulders where they could each look out a window. Every time we came up next to another car, the fawn on that side put her ears forward and looked at the people next to us. And Starr Ann would smile and wave. Starr Ann to this day contends I was embarrassed by all that, but I am here to tell you it is one of my fondest memories - of Starr Ann and of our babies.

I was telling Starr Ann one more time about how she failed to humiliate me with that one when she hooted real loud. She had cracked my new password. How on Earth can one human being be that much inside another's head? I will never understand it. But at least I'm smart enough to enjoy it.

Oh, and the fawns grew up healthy and strong. Barbara turned them out on a refuge with the other orphans when they got big enough.