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Published: Wednesday, 12/10/2008

Deer make splash with in-store dash

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

On Comet, on Cupid.

Two "reindeer" doing some holiday "blitzen" dashed into the village of Whitehouse's tree-lighting festivities, just ahead of Santa Claus' arrival.

As event organizers readied cookies and hot chocolate Monday night, the four-legged party crashers startled about a dozen people who were inside a holiday-decorated store on Providence Street.

"It was the strangest thing and the most horrible noise," said Holly - how appropriate - Kowalczk.

She was hefting a table when a deer at the front window caught her eye.

And just as suddenly, the deer crashed through the glass and was inside the store.

"It was not 2 feet away from me," she recalled yesterday.

People scattered. Children screamed. And although bewildered, the deer weren't naughty, but nice.

No bull in a china shop these. Rather, think Dancer and Prancer.

The deer skirted a Christmas tree and its plugged-in light cord, as well as tables filled with photographs, charcoal sketchings, ceramics, tote bags, purses, and baked goods.

"They managed to navigate through all that stuff, through a pottery display of bird feeders, and never broke a thing. Nothing at all was ruined," Mrs. Kowalczk of Whitehouse said.

And then the deer went out the same way they came in: through the front window.

After the mother deer cleared the jagged glass, the young deer froze.

"It stood there. It was bleeding and then it went behind a lamp, behind my table, trying to decide what to do," said Mrs. Kowalczk, who crafts announcements, invitations, and gift cards as part of her business, On A Cheerful Note.

Eventually, the young deer made its way to the front of the store, and like a lord a-leaping, it jumped. And was gone in a flash.

"My grandsons were in there, and it was devastating for them when it happened," said Diane Long of Whitehouse who organized the art show in the store as part of the village's holiday event.

Mrs. Long is promoting the arts in the community as part of her interest in helping to develop a revitalization project in Whitehouse.

The Lucas County village has just learned that it was awarded a $400,000 grant to help redevelop the downtown.

Afterward, trying to calm her twin grandsons Bryant and Brandon Bowman of Maumee, Mrs. Long put a holiday spin on it.

"I told them maybe the deer really were reindeer looking for Santa, and that the reindeer saw the store all decorated for the holiday and thought Santa was in here."

Savvy at age 7, the twins didn't buy it.

"Ho, ho, ho, Grandma," was the reply.

As of yesterday morning, nobody had found the injured deer, and Mrs. Long was hoping that both "reindeer" were safe in a nearby wooded area.

Although the young deer limped after darting out the window, the mother deer seemed fine as she dashed away, dashed away

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or

419-724-6006.



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