By all accounts, the late Gerald “Herb” Green was a larger than life character.
That’s not surprising, considering the longtime police chief in Dover-Foxcroft stood 6-foot-8 and weighed some 380 pounds.
Perhaps it stands to reason that Green be the main character in memorable Piscataquis County tale involving a 10-point buck. The story, which dates to 1959, has stood the test of time.
Today, we present this clever piece of storytelling, a poem co-written by Herb Green’s late son, Kenny Green, and Kenny’s wife, Laura Perkins.
“Kenny’s aunt, Lillian (Mayo), who just passed away a few months ago, she used to talk about this all the time,” Perkins said of the story involving Herb Green, whose family was known for its maple syrup business.
After many times recounting the story of his father’s bizarre encounter with a big Maine buck, Kenny and Laura crafted the poem during their travels together across the country.
“I said, as we travel, talk about some of your experiences when you were growing up and about your family and we’ll put them to a poem,” Perkins said of her prompt to Kenny.
Many thanks to Laura Perkins who, after Kenny Green’s death in May 2021, came across the poem among his belongings, wondered whether it might have an audience and graciously sent it along for us to share.
One Dark & Foggy Evening
By Kenny Green & Laura Lee Perkins
One dark and foggy evening
In rural Atkinson, Maine,
Police Chief Gerald “Herb” Green
Drove home in a ’57 Ford Fairlane.
This was the town’s new cruiser,
Which attracted a lot of attention
He drove very carefully, heading for home
Without any apparent apprehension.
All dressed in his police uniform and
Tired from a very long day,
Motoring along the Range Road
Winding, he made his way.
When much to his astonishment
A mighty large buck appeared
And smashed headlong into the car —
What a rack upon that deer!
He stopped the car and jumped right out,
And came around to the passenger-side door.
There he counted 10 antler holes and thought,
Oh, I hope there are no more!
A massive creature Herb encountered
Laying right there by the road.
Now what is the local police chief to do
When confronted with an illegal load?
He took a moment to ponder and decided
That since it was already dead
Herb’s 6-foot-8-inch frame could lift it all
With the massive, rack-laden head.
So tug and pull and push he did
Until into the back seat it was squeezed.
Herb went to tell his family about the free meat.
He knew that they’d be pleased!
Arriving at his parents’ farm, he called
“Hey Dad, go look in the cruiser and see.
I’ve got a real trophy out there in the car
Look in the back seat, where it will be.”
Old Gramps seemed gone a very long time
And when he came back into the kitchen
Herb said, “Well, what’d you think?”
And old Gramps, he started a bitchin’.
“The next time you bring an illegal deer home
Crammed into the back seat of the town cruiser,
You might want to make sure it’s really dead
And not just some stunned bruiser.
That new cruiser is really a mess,
You came in the house too fast.
When you see the damage that deer’s rack made
You’ll want this prank to be your last!
When the buck woke up in the back seat
Within that strange and confining cage,
What a flailing mess it made
When the buck expressed its rage.
Good thing I had my sturdy knife
Strapped to the side of my waist.
We’ve got venison — but it won’t be free
And you’d better enjoy the taste!
’Cause it’ll cost you many dollars
To get that cruiser back into condition.
Next time you want venison, take the truck,
Some guns and a box of ammunition.
And after you shoot the animal
And load it not in a car, but your truck.
Make sure it’s not still breathing,
Especially if it’s a large, horned buck.”
The town fathers couldn’t believe the story
Of the animal crossing the road.
That their police chief encountered in the fog
And why didn’t he examine the load?
To make sure that it wasn’t breathing
Before he loaded it in the rear seat,
The town’s new cruiser taxpayers had bought
Was a mystery in town for many, many weeks.