Friday, January 15, 2010

Shot By Moose Hunter on Honeymoon

 For our honeymoon Mark and I took a car tour of New England and Canada.  The year was 1981 and we crossed the Maine/Quebec border during the height of the language war between French and English speaking Canadians.  Mark drove up, cranked down the window, and gave a hearty "Howdy!", to which the French Canadian border patrol twisted his narrow lips into a snarl, clicked his shiney polished boots together, and uttered an indignant "Bonjour!"  He looked like cartoon character Dudley Do-Right, complete with wide brimmed hat.

"What is your business in my country? Do you have any alcohol, drugs, bla bla bla?" And Mark explained that we were on our honeymoon, and we had a half a bottle of cold duck...  The policeman handed back our identification and cut short Mark's explanation with a brisk "Be on your way! Au revoir!"  So Mark, in his London Fog windbreaker and me, in my tweed business jacket (as those were the warmest clothes we Floridians owned), headed off into the beautiful wooded backroads of Canada.  An occasional snowflake floated down and we were happy as clams.

It was early and the morning sun burned through the big windows of our turquoise Pacer, making it like a warm little hothouse, and although it was was an icy mid-October day, we had the windows cracked open to enjoy the fresh air.  We cheerfully bounced down the two lane road, paved with big chunks of gravel mixed with asphalt, and laughed at the moose warning signs that dotted the highway.  Locals we passed had bumper stickers with funny slogans like, "I Brake For Moose."  It was the beginning of Hunting Season, and moose hunters with huge rifles that looked like they were meant for elephants, were leaving their trucks on the roadsides to wander into the forest.  Mark and I thought their red plaid hats, with ear flaps pulled up and secured with a bow on the top of their heads looks oh so silly.  Occasionally we heard a shot, some very near and some far away. I had just commented to Mark about gun safety, when BANG!  I was shot!

Mark skidded our car to a stop on the soft shoulder as I clasped my hands to the back of my neck, feeling how quickly I was covered in warm blood.  A million thoughts raced through my head, which was expected, as I was about to die. 

My high school Biology teacher was a Viet Nam veteran, and he once mentioned that being shot in the head wasn't terribly painful, as the brain lacks pain receptor nerves.  It was my medulla oblongota, and no, I was not in pain, and miles away from civilization.  I thought about the headlines at home, "BRIDE KILLED BY MOOSE HUNTER ON HONEYMOON" and I thought about my pitiful husband who was trying his best to pry my hands from the spout that would soon empty all of my lifebood if I ever let go.  Through Marks fearful "I love you's" and heaertfelt pleads with God, I hung on for dear life.  I wondering what words I should say as my final goodbye to my true love?  Would my words come out normally or would they be garbled from brain damage?  I remained in shocked silence.

Mark finally pried my fingers free, stopped fretting, sat back and said in a blank flat voice: "There's No Blood."  No blood? How can there be no blood?  My fingers were drenched with warm blood, and although I didn't want to, I brought my hands before my eyes to see.  Nothing! 

It was then that Mark plucked the champagne cork from the collar of my jacket.

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