It was July 5 and I watched over breakfast with mild interest as the doe trotted to the golf cart about 35 yards from our kitchen window. In tow were her two spotted fawns. For several weeks we had watched her cross the fairway by our home each morning with fawns minding her every command. The deer spray was doing its job; otherwise the threesome would be foraging through my backyard of roses, calla lilies, hostas, hydrangeas and various other deer fare. A week earlier there had appeared a third fawn, slightly older and more adventuresome than her twins. I presumed the larger fawn was a visiting young cousin who ventured up to the higher plateau elevation to visit his younger cousins and Aunt Debbie. Debbie the Deer seems a most appropriate name.

Now Debbie's attention was fixed upon the lengthy downhill slope of the fairway as her twins huddled near her with subsequent stares, their tails altered between dead-calm and an alarm flag. I couldn't see the golfers from my vantage near the crook of the dogleg left point but Debbie could, and she was not about to venture onto the fairway until the golfers launched their missiles. The number of deer willing to risk crossing crowded roads and highways for various reasons, many times with grisly results, apparently does not include any does with fawns in tow. This Debbie had a cinch-the-seat-belt mentality. She waited, and then waited more as I watched. Debbie admonished, "Listen up, kids. Be ready to ramble when these hackers decide what club to use and expect the golf balls to go anywhere." Bart, the male twin was anxious, "Ah, Mom, let's go, I'm hungry!" Mom made her case, "You won't be hungry if Bozo up there bounces a Titleist off your thick skull." Bart's sister, Betty, chimed in, "Cool it, Bart, Mom knows what's best and I'm gonna tell Dad if you run across." Bart exclaimed, "Mom, I don't care what you and Dad said. Just let me kick her, just once please!" "Quiet you two and pay attention, I think they've selected clubs and are ready to hit."

There was a long pause as I watched the three standing alert side by side and focused up the fairway. Then Debbie began to slowly walk along the cart path up the fairway toward the covering wooded lot just to the north. The twins followed as if tied to Betty by invisible strings. Betty was muttering, as she slowly made her way toward the golfers, "I can't believe he went all the way back to the cart for another club. Come on, kids. We'll cross behind them after they hit." They advanced 15 yards up the slope in single file before I saw two golf balls sail down the slope each to different roughs on either side of the fairway. Wow, I'm thinking, this Debbie Deer is a cautious caring Mom who obviously knows how to play the course and the golfers in Fairfield Glade.

And that was that, it was a very slow news day in Fairfield Glade. This Fourth of July had not been the date of another domestic terror attack. Millions of passengers braved the airways to visit loved ones. My wife and I and people throughout the U.S. enjoyed freedom, friends and family. We were thankful for the beautiful Tennessee Plateau weather and being able to live in such a great community. In her own way Debbie the Deer demonstrated her caution and caring for her family that morning. What a great lesson to kick off the second half of this year.

Kudos, gripes, suggestions? E-mail dfbackus@aol.com.

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