West Seneca, NY—On an almost daily basis Donna Marie Clossen finds herself turning onto Orchard Park Road from Seneca Street. As she winds through this short, curvy section with the Speedway station on the left and Caz Creek on the right she usually sees a cluster of four or five deer up from the creek bed chewing on the grass in the small field next to the road. For most people the daily spectacle of seeing deer on the side of the road becomes mundane and routine, but not for Clossen, she is excited every time she sees them. Breathlessly, (she’ll say to herself) “Deer!!!” She’ll then count them as if they were unexpected gifts on Christmas morning. “Deer!!!”
On weekends Clossen and her daughter will typically do a little shopping at Home Goods and AC Moore and then get some lunch. But the real treat for Clossen, beyond spending time with her daughter, is sitting in the passenger seat while her daughter drives and excitedly counting the deer along the side of 219 South. “There’s three . . . there’s six more . . . and a baby that still has its spots still, awe . . . that makes nine.”
Even though she sees deer almost everyday Clossen is not sure why they so excite her. She thinks it might go back to the 1970’s when she had big thick glasses and a stupid Dorthy Hamill haircut.
Looking away she says, “All the pretty, popular girls had feathered haircuts, but my mom was insistent about this Dorthy Hamill atrocity. It’s one thing to have a haircut like that if you’re the “cute as a button” skating star who captures the imagination of America, but it’s quite another if you’re an awkward twelve year old girl desperately wishing that kid with the lopsided head, Joey Miller, would look your way.”
She explained as a kid, her family would go to Allegany State Park in the summertime and all she ever wanted to do was sit in an open field and wait for the deer to come. “I didn’t want to go swimming or hiking. I didn’t want to go to bear caves or see rock formations. I wanted to watch those beautiful, majestic animals graze in a field. When I was looking at the deer I never had to endure the embarrassment of my sister’s too big hand-me-down bathing suit falling off. Sitting in a field with the sunshine pouring over my skin I never got laughed at for liking black, flakey, burnt marshmallows. The deer never judged or ridiculed me. And, they never chanted mean things like the kids at school:
Clossen, Clossen, she’s not awesome.
Clossen, Clossen, she’s not awesome
As the weather changes and winter hardships become a reality for the deer, Clossen will continue to watch excitedly and add a few prayers for their safe passage to spring.