THE DEER STORY, OR IT JUST WON’T GO AWAY!
This is a true story about a very rare and fantastic person, a one of a kind individual that for sure marched to a different drummer and wasn’t out to impress anyone…in fact he could have cared less.
This guy had a quick wit and a glib tongue, coupled with his friendly disposition made him admirable and very likable at the same time…sure now but he more than likely had kissed the “Blarney Stone”, but this Irishman really didn’t have to, he was just a natural. One of the most likable people I have ever met, that was our friend Mick.
Back in the late 1960s Mick took up archery with the thought in mind to go out and hunt deer. Well he got serious, in fact very serious. He made good on the hunt and brought home a deer. He set out to process it. After all of the meat had been cut and carefully wrapped, he decided that the next step would be to tan the hide.
Following instructions he scraped, salted and brined the hide. Now that the hard work was behind him, the crock with the curing hide was placed out on the back porch.
Mick proudly came over to our house to share a couple of beers and tell the story of his accomplishments and plans for the deer hide.
Time passed, and we hadn’t heard any more of the deer hide, so we asked “What’s up with your deer hide tanning project?”
Mick, with head held low, reluctantly related that after a few warmer than normal days the hide had ripened instead of curing. Mick’s mother and the neighbors had protested that the stench from the rotting hide was totally disgusting, and that it would have to be gotten rid of.
We inquisitively asked, “Well, what happened to your hide?” Again with head held low, Mick sheepishly related the rest of the story.
He had indeed disposed of the hide.
I said, “You just couldn’t have thrown it out after all of your hard work. What did you do with it?” Mick told us that he had indeed thrown it into the dumpster behind their house. After a couple of beers I came up with an idea.
My idea was this, if it stunk, all that was needed was for it to be cleaned…right?
My next idea was that we should all go quickly and look for the hide, so we did. The dumpster was now full to over flowing, but determined as we were, after a couple of beers we dug in. After much rutting around, there deep down in the dumpster was that frozen deer hide. Success, we had it!
Next we needed to take this frozen hide to the laundromat…all that we had to do was wash it.
We had the hide in a box so that the patrons wouldn’t be alarmed at this grisly sight.
We put the hide into a machine, not an easy job as the frozen hide didn’t want to go through the opening of the machine…it was like it was protesting our actions…we persisted and in it went.
We bought several small boxes of laundry soap and put it in, started the machine, and, oh my God, what a noise that thing made as this frozen mass seemed to come to life inside that machine. It clunked and pounded…everyone in the place was staring at us! The manager of the laundry quickly came to see what the problem was…we all stood in front of the machine concealing our crime. She asked what was happening. As we all stammered for an answer, she came to our rescue. She said “You must be washing a rug.”
We all agreed, that was exactly what we were doing.
After a few minutes the clunking subsided as that frozen mass began to thaw.
As that mass began to heat up the soap began to spew like a geyser out of the machine, the attendant was back as we happened to notice that large globs of hair were piling up on the window of the machine. Again, we took our defensive positions in front of the machine and tried to get rid of that over helpful attendant. When we had the situation under control and all was running smoothly, we went next door to Dan’s tavern to celebrate our success over a couple of beers.
When we returned to the laundromat the machine had finished. We extracted that very limp and dripping thing into our box and discovered that we had another job on our hands, and that was to clean the machine…it was caked with wet matted clumps of hair. We took turns scraping the stuff out and for good measure we ran the machine again just to get rid of the last piece.
At last we were on our way home content that we were now successful.
I told Mick that he was welcome to hang the hide on our clothesline so that it could dry and air out…and so he did.
The story doesn’t end here.
It turns out that the next day when Mick parked his car in a sunny spot the juice that had leaked out of that cardboard box the night before in the back seat of his car began to stink the most putrid and disgusting stench. Mick took the seat of the car out and washed it, but it seemed to be of no avail, that rotten stench just wouldn’t go away. Eventually he had to get rid of the car…it just stunk and the smell lingered and lingered and refused to go away despite countless remedies.
The story continues. The deer hide hanging in our back yard on the clothesline attracted all of the dogs in the neighborhood. They seemed to have been driven into frenzy by the aroma of that deer hide. The dogs persisted at jumping and snapping at the hide until they had it on the ground, there the tug of war began, and the last thing I saw of it was as the pack of dogs snapping and snarling were off down the alley and out of sight.
Just to show you what kind and considerate neighbors I had, one of them beat off the snarling dogs, retrieved the hide and brought it back to us…that damn thing just wouldn’t go away!