Life at Mill Bank Farms

The Deer Hunter & other tragedies


Last Monday, we started our week at the crack of dawn with a series of unfortunate events, if I may be so bold as to borrow an expression from Lemony Snicket. I was outside at about 6 am cleaning up the aftermath of a raccoon’s nighttime raid through our trash, when I heard the screech of tires and what I thought was a dog’s yelp. “Karl come quick!” I yelled to the kitchen window. “I think Cooper was hit by a car.” Cooper is our poodle who we fondly refer to as “Cooper Super-Duper Bradley Cooper”.  Sometimes our Super Cooper runs to River Road where there seems to be daily road kill of some sort. I could not possibly run to see what had happened in my lovely pajama outfit which consists of Karl’s old boxers and a ratty T-shirt.


Karl found a Suburban parked in our driveway and the owner, a rushed mom with two kids in tow said non-nonchalantly,  “Oh well I hit a deer. Gotta run!”  A truck was in the road with its hazard lights on and one of the Abbey’s Lafayette seminarians, David (pronounced “Da-veed”) was straddled over the ditch with the maimed deer. “Mr. Karl, oh good. Can you hold da strap?” he asked in his Cajun accent. “We gotta put this deer out its misery.” Karl was horrified; my New York City boy who has hunted a total of zero times.  David told me later that my husband did not miss a beat and he kindly held the “leash” (it was a truck strap) while David slit its throat.

Twenty minutes later, Karl walked through the front door with tears in his eyes. “I have to take a shower. A shower…I need a shower…”  He stumbled to the laundry room stripping off his clothes as he recounted the deer hunter tale.  He stepped in the shower and asked, “How can you do something like that?” I told him it was humane to put the deer out of it’s misery.  “I know…but…’Daveed’ said ‘we gonna eat good now, mais yeah.'”  I started laughing because I know my husband’s often sense of dismay about his Louisiana life and my culture’s foreign feel to him.  I was just proud that he hadn’t vomited yet.

That was the beginning of our week, as I said.  On Friday afternoon, we made our 14 year old son, Harris, come outside and work in the yard. Luckily the big attraction for him is learning how to drive anything; car, golf cart or lawn mower. He jumped on the lawn mower and cut a little and then drove it to the barn to put it away. I heard a scream; Karl went running. “Boy you better not have wrecked my machine!” A water moccasin was curled up in the mower’s parking spot. Karl made Harris get my Daddy’s snake catcher and they caught the snake. Then, Harris learned how to chop off its head.

I jokingly told Harris that he’s a real red-neck now.  “This place…” was all I heard Karl say as he walked inside. I really expected him to come back out with a box of belongings, a suitcase and the keys to his Element.  Instead, he came back with two glasses of iced tea. “Want some mint?” I asked as I made my way to the front porch. I put two sprigs in our glasses and sat next to my hubby.

We sat in silence until I broke it with “Ya know YOU wanted to move here.”  I love to say that when I know Karl has reached his limit–too much of my crazy family mishagoss, or too many critters that look like they belong in Jurassic Park (hello? Armadillos!), or visitors such as, mosquitoes, snakes and chiggers.

He laughed and said, “This is a beautiful piece of property.”  I said “…BUT?”  He laughed and kissed me. “But…it’s home.” Right then, a giant Wolf spider covered with hundreds of babies walked out of the front garden bed and stopped short at our feet.  It’s home alright. Home sweet home.



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