I am beginning to think I must be jinxed. Between me and my bride, we have had three or four collisions with deer in our vehicles. I shouldn’t complain. No one got hurt, the insurance company has been very understanding and the body and fender work has been really good. Still, nobody likes to have to go through that process and the inconvenience of it all.
Last Thursday night I was headed down 211 from the Ben Venue road towards Amissville for some R&R time with a few bluegrass friends. When I topped the first little mountain and headed down the other side, there were oncoming vehicles in the other lane and I had my headlights on dim, which I don’t like, but you need to do that. Just as I was nearing the bottom of that hill there appeared the blackest black bear you have ever seen, smack dab in the middle of my lane and very close to the car. As an aside, I will tell you, in this instance, I was not happy about our dark skies.
I didn’t have time to hit the brakes. I was driving my wife’s car and it handles really well. Good thing. There was no other traffic around me and I pulled hard to the left and prepared for the crash. I believe the only thing that saved me was the fact that the bear was running directly away from me at a pretty good clip. Fortunately, as well, I had just last week put new tires on the car. The tires protested audibly, as did I. I was certain I was headed for the body, fender and Bondo shop, at a minimum.
I missed the bear. I never touched him. I don’t get easily upset about stuff like that, but this one took my breath away. I slowed down almost to a stop to regain my composure.
Someone at the jam session asked me how big the bear was. I guessed him to be about 100 to 125 pounds. He was just the size of bear that a mature female would run off, especially young males, after letting them tag along with her for two years. Frequently, this time of year, you will see what looks like a half-grown bear wandering around in places you don’t normally see them. I think they are just trying to find their bearings and get over the trauma of not being able to follow mama around anymore. It would upset me, as well. I hope this one finds his way before much longer, and stays off the highway.
You should be aware, however, that last year hunters in Virginia took a record number of black bears, more than 2,400. Add to that the fact that, beginning this year, the state game commission has made the bear tag a separate purchase, and no longer issues a bear tag when a hunter purchases his big game license.
It is my contention that many of the bears taken by hunters in Virginia are taken by deer hunters, who just happen to see a bear when they are deer hunting, and, having a legal tag in their pocket, take the bear. I only know of a handful of hunters who go out looking specifically for bear. We could be in a position, very soon, when we have more bear wandering around in the Commonwealth than we can comfortably accommodate. We will have to see how this plays out. Stay tuned.
Happy Pastor’s Appreciation Month
In other more pleasant news, the good folks of the Macedonia Baptist Church family here in Flint Hill would like to acknowledge and express their appreciation for their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Donald E. Simpkins, for his dedication, support, love and commitment to preaching the word of the Lord, and to say: Happy Pastor’s Appreciation Month.
And if those good Christian friends at Macedonia don’t mind my jumping on the bandwagon, I think their expression of appreciation and support for Dr. Simpkins is a great reminder to all of us to express our appreciation to all those Reverends, Fathers and Pastors who work hard to bring us the good news and show us, through their words and deeds, that there is a better place waiting for us when our time here is done. Thank you, each and every one, and may He continue to richly bless our community with Good Shepherds like you to lead those of us blessed to live here.