Missing but not missed

Rolling on down the road in our rustbucket of a minivan this afternoon, I spied something in the ditch, nestled neatly up against the Stop Ahead sign. Half covered in weeds, with only 2.3 letters showing, was a license plate. It took a minute to register, but once it did I just had to knock ‘er into reverse and take a better look. We sat there, my daughter and I, and regarded the plate with cocked heads and curious expressions. Interesting. Something familiar called to me, inasmuch as 30% of a license plate can be familiar.

Thinking it wise to remove ourselves from the middle of the road, being just below the precipice of the hill as we were, I sent my daughter out to retrieve the plate, which, naturally, was met with momentary disbelief followed immediately by a resigned exit of the vehicle. She has been privy to far too many of her father’s mid-highway-reversal-and-roadside-treasure-retrievals to argue.

Indeed, the familiarity was warranted. It was our very own plate, laid out like a trophy for all to see. The look of puzzlement grew stronger on my daughter’s face, but was replaced by a flash of understanding on mine.

The Turd. In the flesh.

We hit a deer a few weeks ago. Very near the spot where the license plate was erected, apparently in memoriam. We were all loaded up in the big van – affectionately dubbed The Big Rolling Turd – headed on into town, when a frantic doe launched herself in front of us. The Turd is big – short bus big. Thus, we emerged victorious, or so we thought. Another crack in the grille, another step closer to the scrapyard. The race is on between all three of our vehicles, but the Turd gained another feather in its cap that day. Little did we know it lost more than another degree in grille stability.

As a testimony to the sad state of our trifecta of vehicular terror, we never even noticed the missing license plate. Once you cross a certain threshold – somewhere around the time you drop into the collision only, please echelon of auto insurance – all the damages run together and take on an air of antiquity, no matter how new they may be. You tend to adopt a broader view of your transportational trappings. Did it get me from point A to point B? We’re good. You quite frankly don’t notice things like missing license plates anymore.

So it turns out the Deer vs. Turd battle wasn’t quite a shut out. She got in a jab or two and the Turd is even closer to the scrapyard.

If you need me I’ll be looking for the bumper from the minivan,

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