Sometimes when a co-worker leaves for the day, I will say to him or her, "Don't hit any deer."
Well, not too long ago, I received a phone call from fellow sports writer Kevin Pierson shortly after he'd departed the office, and he said, "You're not going to believe this, but a deer just ran into my car."
Poor Pierson, he hadn't even gotten out of the Marietta city limits.
Thing is, just about every driver of a vehicle in Washington County has had at least one close, scary encounter with a deer on the highway.
Mine was on Interstate-77, and I still to this day don't know how I missed it. All I remember was bracing for the impact - which never came, thankfully.
Some people, though, like Pierson, have been unlucky enough to make contact - and that of course can be a very expensive proposition. By the way, Pierson was not injured in the accident - and the deer was able to get away.
Deer, it seems, are everywhere, from grazing in the wooded areas of New Matamoras to the residential yards of Norwood. They can be sighted from Vincent to Veto Lake, from Beverly to Barlow, from Hadley Lane to Harmar Hill. Just name the location and they've probably been spotted there.
On Monday, bucks, doe, and fawns will be on the run and fleeing for their lives all over the county as hunters lock and load on the opening day of deer gun season in Ohio.
So drivers everywhere beware.
Interestingly, in Neil Abramson's novel "Unsaid," it starts out with a man and a woman, later to become husband and wife, first meeting in the middle of the road after the former has collided with a deer. The latter had just missed it by swerving down an embankment.
If the deer had not crossed their paths, they'd never have met.
Kind of an unusual way for a romantic relationship to begin, isn't it?
OK, I will also be in the woods Monday - but not as a hunter. Where I trail walk, I see deer all the time, sometimes as close as 10 feet away. Often, I have to shoo them away to continue my journey.
I pose as no threat to them.
I just love to observe them, and they appear to be curious about me, too.
Not everyone is a deer hunter, which incidentally is, by the same name, one of my all-time favorite movies, starring Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep.
Fact is, I've only tasted venison once in my life, making me probably one of very few to do so. About 20 or so years ago, Jane Schott, a co-worker at a business establishment in Reno, was kind enough to cook and introduce a plate of it to me.
It was pretty good if I recall - but I haven't had any since then.
Oh, yeah, these days when Pierson leaves, I just bite my lip. I said it once, and I'm not going to say it again.
And, to the best of my knowledge, he's hasn't hit any "you know what" on the streets of Marietta or elsewhere.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org'