Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh — The other morning I awoke to a gentle poke in the ribs from my wife, Annette.

The other morning I awoke to a gentle poke in the ribs from my wife, Annette. If I have been staying somewhat out of trouble and not fueling the fires of civic debate the tickling is normal and expected. However, when engaged in political satire and lampooning the transition between sweet sleep and becoming wide-awake is far less subtle as she expresses her disapproval at first light.

I rolled over and blinked a few times, at first not believing what I saw on the other side of the bedroom window. There stood, with her nose pressed against the glass, a most imposing doe, chewing away at a fresh breakfast while staring into my eyes. There was plenty to eat since our yard-boy had headed south in search of some real economic opportunity, leaving those of us with passports free range to scamper up the tall trees in surrounding orchards to groom and prune there, then free to come home and begin a tango with our own landscaping, molding delightful lighted pathways carved from the primordial shaded sylvan glade that quickly asserts itself once the yard maintenance crew cuts and runs.

I hovered in my nightshirt in front of the window and reached out mentally to connect with Bambi's mother, while she nosed about, exhibiting no fear or trepidation. She clearly was more interested in the grasses and weeds than in the floating, sightseeing human with his fearsomely prominent Roman nose on the other side of the glass. The fact that my snout was tinted on the red side did not evoke any memories of Rudolph, though I could easily have been wearing Santa's suit.

My loyal dog, Spooky, joined the event and, not knowing how a squirrel or a raccoon could have gotten so brazen and large, began a forlorn howl that was soon quieted when I mentioned that the deer was, in fact, waiting for Spooky to come out and play.

As a gentle reminder, never make such promises to a wild-eyed and obsessed dog.

Spooky began barking like a foghorn and circled the interior of the house at such speeds that his foot prints were off the floor and on the walls of every room. Centrifugal force kept him about five feet up the walls as he whisked around and wailed with such force that some of the paintings, once firmly hung in place, began to rotate like the propeller of an small plane rapidly gaining take-off speed.

I backed away from the window to allow the footprints to fall where they may, while keeping a keen eye on the doe, who threatened to succumb to terminal ennui. She just kept chewing up a storm near the eye of a canine hurricane, quite insulated from and unconcerned with my dervish of a dog.

I closed the curtains and everything returned to normal, or so I thought. After an hour of writing I heard the newspaper hit the walkway, prompting Spooky to bark and howl with newfound ferocity. As he always retrieves the paper and opens it to the editorial page, I was a little miffed as he bounded over three planters and stopped at the fence to the deer sanctuary in question. Suddenly he was eye-to-eye with the cervid in question, but both were now simply staring and waging their tails.

Soon they were snorting, squealing and by all accounts the best of friends. In an effortless leap the deer jumped the fence and landed lightly in our front yard. After about 15 minutes of rampant joy and pleasurable play the two parted company, possibly prompted by an approaching neighbor who had witnessed most of the event.

"I know that you spent a bundle on that fence to keep your dog from wandering, but it doesn't seem to work at keeping the deer out," he commented.

I smiled, then replied: "I know that it cost me a lot of dough, be I think that it works wonders helping make friends. At least I know that the buck stops here."

lance@journalist.com was last seen in his side yard talking to three deer, two squirrels, an assortment of birds and his dog. Get off your tail and wag him a friendly e-mail.