Read by Pat and Becky Stone
“Oh look! They are so cute” my wife, Marcie, whispered. “Two of them still have their spots. Their Momma must be really close.”
Marcie gazed at the deer grazing where our garden meets the woods—and smiled. Then my bride looked at me, said she loves me, and added, “Kevin, why do you even have a garden?”
I stared at the retreating deer and at my vegetable garden. The tomatoes were untouched this time. So far. Maybe the new deer repellant I bought really works. But then, considering all the repellants I’ve tried, the homegrown tomatoes that I actually harvest must cost about $100 each.
The lion’s share of my gardening expenditures seems to be spent trying to convince the deer they should not eat my backyard. But these deer truly believe they are part of our family. They also believe that, as members of our extended household, they can enjoy dining on anything I grow.
Marcie loves most critters that come into our yard, but she especially loves the deer. “Yesterday,” she informed me, “a group of five deer came through our yard. They let me get within 15 feet before they ambled back.”
“Look!” I interrupted her. “Today’s deer just came back from the woods. See them? They’re behind our 10-year-old lantana bush. It’s almost in full bloom. I’m really glad they don’t eat lantana.”
As I spoke, one deer strolled over to the lantana bush, gnawed a branch near the ground, then ate all its flowers, dropping the remains. Soon, another deer joined in the feast, nonchalantly chewing the flowers on its own branch. Finally, having eaten all the flowers off this once beautiful shrub that had never been eaten before, the two deer arrogantly sauntered back into the woods.
Beneath the heavily damaged remains were four untouched branches. “Why didn’t they eat those branches?” I asked.
Marcie answered, “Of course they wouldn’t want to eat those branches, dear. They don’t have any flowers.”
She leaned on my shoulder and said, “But don’t worry. They should bloom soon.”
“They can eat them then,” she added, smiling. ❖