Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer

Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer

It was November 1st and I was teaching at Belleisle Regional High School. With few exceptions, I was the first teacher to arrive, so I would park in front of the school, enter and turn off the alarm system. The head custodian, Ashley, would usually arrived about the same time.

Ashley was a great guy. He took so much pride in his work, and the cleanliness and condition of the school were a testaments to his great work ethic. He was of the tradition that flags should not be flown over night, particularly if they were not illuminated. His day would begin by hoisting our national and provincial flags up the two poles located in front of the main entrance. His day ended with reversing the ritual.

On this particular morning I noticed something rather unusual. As I entered the parking lot and drove toward the main entrance I saw a deer hanging from the nearest flagpole. I couldn’t believe it, and it was close up; ie, hoisted as high as it could go. This was a rather upsetting sight. I knew Ashley would be arriving soon – I waited.

A minute later Ashley drove in and parked in his usual spot beside the school. When he walked around the school he saw me leaning against my car and staring up at the deer.

“Ashley, this is a rather unsettling sight. I think this upsets me.”

“Well, before you get too upset, last night was Halloween. When I came down to check on the building, that was roadkill in front of the school. I suspect some kids thought it would be a funny prank to put it up the pole.”

This made me feel a little bit better; at least, it’s not like someone killed the deer for the express purpose of hanging it from on high. I could picture a group of teenagers giggling as they hauled the dead carcass up the lawn and figured out how to attach it to the lanyard.

Ashley and I lowered the doe to the ground and dragged it to the side of the school where it would be out of view. I told him that I would call the Department of Natural Resources and arrange for it to be picked up. I also told him that I would brief the principal when he arrived. I suggested that we not mention this to anyone else and wait to see what happens. He was in agreement.

An hour later I met with the principal and vice-principal. They agreed with my suggestion that we say nothing; after all, technically, no crime had been committed.

Following period 1, two students entered my classroom. “Mr. Caines, we heard that there was something weird about the flagpole when you arrived this morning.”

“Really? What did you hear?”

“Oh, just that there was something different.”

“Did Ashley forget to take the flags down last night? That would bother him if he did.”

“No, no. We heard something else was going on.”

“Did he put a flag up upside down? Is it like that now?”

“No, no. It has nothing to do with the flags.”

“Well fellows, what did you hear?”

“Just that they was something different this morning.”

“Well fellows, go back to your source and get some more information. I’m curious to know what you are talking about.”

The boys looked at each other then left.

During the morning break the two boys, together with another, entered my classroom.

“Mr. Caines, we heard that there was a doe hanging from the flagpole when you arrived this morning.”

“A doe? A deer? A female deer? Are you serious? Is it still up there?”

“No, but we heard one was up there this morning.”

“That’s crazy. Why would Ashley put a deer up the pole?”

“No, no. We heard it was up there before you arrived.”

“Really. You would think I would have noticed something like that. Where is it now?”

“We don’t know.”

“Aw, get out of here guys. You’re just pulling my leg.”

They looked at each other then left.

The next morning I arrived as usual. As I was exiting my car, Ashley came walking around the corner of the school. He look up at the flagpole and said, “Nothing is the snare today – time to re-set it.”

It was nice to start my day with a laugh.

During my remaining years at the school, I never heard mention of this incident again.

It was probably the best way to deal with it.

I waited five years before I started telling this story.

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3 thoughts on “Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer

  1. I am one of the founding members of the senior rugby club is Belleisle. The club was created to give graduates more rugby playing opportunities without having to drive into the city. It was cool because most of my team-mates were former students (the first year we won a provincial championship 11 of the 15 starters were fellows I had taught). One night just before practice, six years after the deer incident, I said, “Guys, who can tell me how the deer got up the flagpole?” Two of the fellows started laughing and told me the whole story.

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