Little sister was right to fear the deer

My sister, Marley, is on cloud nine this week. She's walking around with the kind of strut in her step and smile on her face that can only come with the joy of being able to say "I told you so! I told you so! I told you so!" Maybe this isn't true for all people, but to me pure happiness is the kind I get when I can finally prove that I was right and everyone else was wrong. That is the wonderful feeling my sister is able to experience this week.

Marley is my younger sister and usually I am the one teaching her valuable life lessons like "sarcasm is the most sophisticated of all the humors," "shower cream makes you smell nice" and "falling off your bike is an excellent way to get attention." As the older sister I hold not only the distinct honor of being able to be a teacher and leader, but also the right to make fun of her whenever I want. My favorite thing to tease her about is her fear of deer.

From a young age Marley felt like deer were probably always on the brink of charging her down and trampling her with their sharp hooves. When we'd come across a doe snapping off tulips for a snack in someone's flower garden I'd yell for Marley to start running for her life, a killer vegetarian mammal is on the loose! Marley knew these animals' shy nature and big docile brown eyes were just an act, lulling people into a sense of complacency.

Now probably no one is really going to admit being happy that a couple of pet dogs were attacked by a wild animal, but if anyone were, it would be Marley. Occasionally I catch her smirking at me over the top of the newspaper as she reads the latest headlines. Marley, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize: I'm sorry I made fun of you for all those years, and I'm happy for you that you're finally having your moment of vindication. Now I expect you to stop making fun of my fear of bare feet, we may discover in the coming years that those are a silent killer, just like hypertension.

Maybe the deer have gone berserk. Maybe they have a vegetarian version of mad cow disease — brought on by eating plants which have been feeding off of other plants. Until the scientific community can disprove this theory of mine I'm swearing off all parasitic plant life. Goodbye morels, so long mistletoe during the holidays.

Of course the reason behind the attacks may be much more obvious. The deer are simply trying to take back their ancestral lands. Ashland has only been here about 100 years; I'm sure the deer were here first. Deer could be the next species to take over the world; possibly deer are much better suited to the perils of global warming than we humans are.

But this doesn't mean we should go down without a fight! Stand tall, walk your dogs and eat more venison. Ashlanders love a good, sustainable food source, and the deer are here for the taking and baking. We don't even need to drive out of town and return with a carcass strapped to the front of our Priuses, the deer are on every street corner and lawn; we don't even need to set baits of tulips and rose buds out for them, their hunt for Ashland domination will eventually bring them directly to your very own front lawn.

So Marley, my dear little sister, you were right, but don't let it go to your head. Deer are the biggest danger facing Ashland right now, but there's no need to worry. As your older sister I will protect against all things; pot holes in the sidewalk, eating anything named "squash surprise," and wild animals. Just don't expect me to be any help in a battle against bare feet.

Zoë Abel is wearing slippers and sitting safely indoors. She is simply biding her time until the moment comes to be right about something (anything!) and prove everyone else wrong. You can contact her at

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