A traffic tangle with an endearing twist

Traffic was moving quickly along the country road. On a hot and muggy evening, cars carried commuters eager to get home.

Then with little warning, vehicles heading in both directions came to a dead stop. I glanced across the road and watched a distraught-looking woman in dress slacks alight from her car and sprint down the double yellow line. I couldn't tell where, or to what, she was headed, as a big white truck was inches from my bumper.

She must be a physician running to assist people in an accident, I surmised. And so did everyone else: Drivers began making hasty U-turns, seeking alternate routes, with cellphones lit up and consternation, frustration, and annoyance on their faces. No doubt they were puzzled, too, as to how they were going to get where they wanted to go. Options were few in that rural area. For that reason I decided to stay put. But I didn't really want to be there; I was not keen on witnessing anything my stomach couldn't handle.

Meanwhile, other drivers and passengers were spilling out of their cars. Straining to see around the truck, I saw people scramble over here, then over there, then run in circles. Other others stood by with hands on their heads. Was it that bad? I looked in my rear-view mirror and prepared to back up. But there was no escape; I was wedged in.

There were no sirens, either.

I did hear yelling, though it was impossible to make out what was being said. Traffic continued to back up behind me for at least half a mile. With no choice but to sit there, I turned up the air conditioner and scrounged for a tape.

Then I saw something that made me catch my breath. A lovely spotted fawn darted out from around the truck, pranced past my car, and leaped up the embankment before it came to an abrupt, wide-eyed halt.

Had all this fuss been about a deer? I didn't know whether to feel relief or anger, to laugh or cry.

Apparently the fawn had been darting back and forth across the road, unable to get into the woods because of barbed-wire fences on both sides.

Several people followed the animal up the embankment, trying to corral the poor thing. But then what would they do with the fawn, I wondered. Should I lend another pair of arms to the confusion? But the woman in slacks, grabbing my attention, pointed to the deer, making sure I understood the gravity of the situation. Then she waved me on to start traffic moving again.

About a mile down the road I was relieved to pass a police car, heading in the opposite direction. Driving slowly, the officer had just the slightest hint of a grin on his face. Was he a little amused at the prospect? Or unaware of the chaos he'd find just around the bend?

Either way, he'd take care of it.

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