I was 20 minutes away from our summer rental, driving on a dark, hilly, remote road with my son, when the moose happened. We rounded a bend, and it materialized in the exact middle of the road. I stopped short, 5 feet away from the animal–I could now see it was a baby moose, no antlers but still taller than 6 feet–and was immediately rear-ended by the minivan behind me.
After the hubbub settled down, we headed home, unharmed but shaken, and set to unpacking the clothes, books, kitchen equipment and, especially, the huge harvest of garden vegetables I’d picked and packed on ice that afternoon. But the trunk had been jammed shut from the impact, and there was no retrieving them.
I spent the next day trying to liberate my food, but it was Sunday and no garages were open. Calls to dealers went unanswered. A locksmith scratched his head for an hour. The local firemen agreed the Jaws of Life were overkill. I brooded over my quarts of bouncing blueberries, my dewy basil, my baby haricots and first head of broccoli, the sugar-sweet Sungolds, my warty little cucumbers and crisp heads of romaine. I imagined them wilting and blackening in the midsummer eat, halfway to compost already.
But Monday morning the local service station came to the rescue. They had to drill a flap into the already badly damaged trunk lid to access the lock. The trunk sprang open and there was…everything. I nervously opened the coolers and found, to my unending relief, that my produce was still cool to the touch and quite intact. And, for the first time in 48 hours, I broke into a broad, hungry smile.