The Deer Whisperer of Anderson Springs

Mitsy….standing there with her dark blue wide-brimmed hat shielding her from the sun, impenetrable sunglasses which make it hard to truly connect with her, is talking to me? Speaking with me? Talking at me? I would say it is a conversation, except that there are not many spaces to make a full reply. There are moments of pause, silence just enough to get in a funny agreeable remark or two. Still, it is fully enjoyable on my end, if not like being part of a movie scene in which I am faintly a part of but mostly watching.

I had been walking down the bumpy lumpy paved road where I live in Anderson Springs, a quiet (well mostly) neighborhood incorporated into the town ten minutes away. We call it the loop. It loops you through the middle of our woodsy tiny paradise beside and over the creek. The sky is Mother Mary robes blue, the heat penetrates without being obnoxious, river sounds serenade anyone who listens or doesn’t listen…just a constant, with continual variation in her song. I was feeling spacious and easy as I began to notice a deer crossing the pavement, while at the same time, it sounded like someone was calling her dog. All I saw was deer. Hmmm? The Doe continued to the beckoning voice of someone I found out in a few more steps, was named Mitsy. This was most likely a really cute name when she was younger. Pretty cute now too if not a bit off for her current look. Honestly, it feels incongruent with the person before me which is why it is oddly pretty cute in a quirky sort of a way.

Mitsy, it turns out is a deer whisperer. I have never seen anything like it. The way the doe came up to her like an old friend. This is real life, not a youtube video. The area had been burnt down by fire years ago sparing a few houses and just now rebuilding is starting to happen. So, this relationship between Mitsy and the doe (who apparently has a name or had one) is remarkable considering Mitsy only comes up to visit and hasn’t lived here since the fire.

I stop and comment that I didn’t mean to interrupt, assuming she was trying to take a picture of the deer. Upon closer inspection though what she has in her hand is a small bag of spaghetti, not a camera. Odd.

“Wow, you’re a deer whisperer!” I say. “yeah well call my Dr. Doolittle…” she says, nonchalantly but with a hint of pride in her voice. She is gifted and knows it. OK well, she doesn’t officially ‘do anything with it’ so then maybe there is the hint of insecurity. One must wonder what her road has been like. “Snakes, Bears, you name it they all find me. I used to have 13 deer around here that I knew by name. They all came to me. One was special though, not sure if this her…. she loved my spaghetti sauce, came round whenever she smelled it.”

“Wow, your kidding that’s wild” is all I got in. She continues…” she came in the cabin once with her fawn. The fawn had never stepped on wood and before you know it, startled by the sound of his hooves, he went flying into my bed. (She said that with some emphasis but again with the nonchalant it isn’t a big deal tone). While I was helping the fawn, she, the doe, was eating my spaghetti sauce in the kitchen”

Mitsy is of a petite height like me, somewhere around 5′ which is always relaxing to be around, a comfort to be able to look someone in the eye if only she would let down those darn sunglasses. She has on a striped tank, covering a bit of belly, faded black cotton shorts, and flip-flops. Her skin looks a bit rough like since the fire she hasn’t been taking herself much. There is a slightly sad and sarcastic crooked bent to her lips while resting and while speaking. Also, one of those things where a person doesn’t open their mouth much while speaking…keeping the teeth fairly close together. I have seen this before. She mentions she went to Catholic school. Well, that nails it! Logan, an old friend of mine, used to have that closed-mouth slight drawl way of speaking.  She was, I guess still is, a debutant. How does this work anyway? Once married is the title revoked? The nagging questions of one who didn’t grow up with ‘society’ in any sort of way. That world is like looking at an aquarium, one can see a bit but would never be part of it. This particular way of speaking is one of the ‘tells’ that clue one into a possible high social status even if the said person is just in Gap jeans and a t-shirt. Logan mentioned it was to keep the Nuns from smelling alcohol on their breath.

Mitsy mentions that her grandfather owned Anderson Springs in the day. “God knows why he decided to parse it out,” she says in a way that implies he let the riffraff in. So, there it is. She is a bit of royalty in our little hood and she will make it known even if under the cuff. It should also be known that other relatives live here, however, they are more distant (undeserving) and she would all together prefer them not to be related at all. Mitsy has a trailer on her small piece of property, The BearCub. I have noticed that those distant relatives of her tend to complain in a similar fashion. Maybe it is just the way the family has its fun. In any case, I find her charming in a scruffy little dog kind of way.

She goes on to expound, complain and be superior about many subjects, including civil rights, the war between good and evil, angelic forces, and ghosts. She informs in a slightly secretive fashion that the contractor working the house next door has been cursed because he handled Native American artifacts incorrectly. “You should always keep sage in your kitchen and burn it,” she says in a way showing she knows what she is talking about. Sounds good to me. I agree and give a few examples of my own ghost stories. She seems to enjoy that.

We take a pause and just stand there for a few moments. Listening to the wind and water. Birds singing spaciously even in the heat of day. I am charmed and go on my way, waving goodbye; taking a last look at the small bag of spaghetti in her hand.

Lila Kihn

I have been an avid reader all my life and always written poetry/prose. It wasn’t until later in life that writing short stories and novels came to mind. I love the inner worlds of people and the beauty of nature. Stories can change how we view the world.

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