Great deer chase could give Mummer a run for their money

November 01, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

Forget the Mummers Parade. It's over; it's history. It had its day, but now it's only attracting a tenth of the crowd it once did. It's sooo 1973.

I'm not recommending that we throw it on the parade scrap heap, however. It is just that the Mummers needs a makeover to reinvigorate itself, and happily this week we were handed an idea for exactly how this can be done.

Flash forward to Monday morning when two deer raided the downtown, leading police on a merry chase before becoming wedged between a wall and an oil tank behind the Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown. I've heard of a steeple chase, but this is ridiculous. Or maybe they were praying for their souls for eating my tomatoes.

Police had been hoping to drive the animals toward City Park, since they were in danger of becoming hood ornaments for oncoming traffic.


But the deer had other ideas, perhaps thinking that one sanctuary was the same as another, whether or not it had the word "wildlife" in front of it.

That, or they were two months early for the nativity scene.

Outside of that, the history of deer in the Bible is notably scarce. "Doe unto others as ..." No.

I don't know if the Chamber of Commerce considers this a win or not. They're always wanting more foot traffic downtown. And if the Hagerstown Suns were still playing, you know they'd count the deer toward their nightly attendance totals.

But that aside, you wouldn't figure on deer to be much of a benefit to the city - although if venison is on the menu at Duffy's this weekend I, for one, will be suspicious.

Listening to the scanner, for one terrible second, I thought this could become another Bucky situation.

Can you believe it's been four long years since Bucky was rescued from traffic and became America's Deer after the DNR tried to send it to that great salt lick in the sky?

This episode had a semi-happier ending, primarily because it didn't drag on for six weeks. We got them out of town faster than a Burmese refugee. The deer darted into the tranquility of the church and then were darted with a shot of tranquilizer from thou holy air rifle.

They were then dutifully transported to the wildlife area at Indian Springs, where one of them died anyway. Oh well, we tried. Seems kind of ungrateful on the part of the deer, but what are you going to do?

It's like Mozart the Meerkat - give an animal a starring role and this is how you are repaid.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, we never had the time to name this poor critter, which would have lent the tragic story more poignancy. She's just another faceless Jane Doe.

But to return to my original point, I think we should posthumously name her "Mummer."

I think you see where I am going with this.

The city of Pamplona in Spain has made a killing off the annual Running of the Bulls and I think we could transition rather smoothly from the Mummers Parade to the Running of the Deer - or as we could call it, "Mummer's Parade." In honor of the late Mummer the Deer.

What would happen if we turned 1,500 deer loose in the middle of downtown Hagerstown? I don' know, but I know for an absolute fact that I would be willing to pay to find out.

And I bet a lot of other people would too. Face it, deer make everything more interesting. And certainly there is no shortage of the commodity around here.

Yes, PETA may object on the grounds that they object to everything, but that only increases the publicity. And just wait until they find out that the grand marshal of the First Annual Running of the Deer is Michael Vick.

Cruel? No more so than these varmints eating my tomatoes.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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