In the late ’80s and early ’90s one of my duties was running the water systems for Radiance and for Goldenwood West.
One December a ‘blue norther’ blew in late in the day. That evening I went out to check the wells to make sure everything would survive the sudden temperature drop. As I drove into Goldenwood West I saw a fox lying on its side in the middle of the road and stopped to investigate. It had apparently been killed by a vehicle, but there was no blood or obvious damage. It must have just happened, as the body was still warm. It was a beautiful animal, and rather than have it get squished into pulp by the next vehicles to come along, I moved it to the side of the road and out of the way.
After I was done checking on the well I saw that the fox was still there. So I put it in the bed of my truck, thinking someone (maybe even me) might want the pelt. When I got home I left her in the truck, but put an old towel over her so that if anyone looked in there they wouldn’t freak out.
The next day I went about my usual routine and didn’t even think about the fox until I returned home. The towel had blown back as I had driven around and exposed the fox’s head – it made her look like she was sleeping peacefully in my truck bed with a blanket over her.
Not knowing what else to do with her, I put her in a plastic bag and put her in my freezer. (I rarely kept any food in the freezer at that time.)
A few days later I told a couple of the neighborhood kids (Angela, Felice) about it and they came over to see her. They were probably 8 or 10 at the time. With the natural curiosity of kids they examined her, petted her, and made all the appropriate “aww, so cute!” noises.
Every so often they’d show up at my door with another friend or two saying, “Can we show ____ your fox?” and we’d pull her out of the freezer and go through the same.
She was probably in the freezer for a couple of years in all until I discovered that our friend Angelo Mitchell knew taxidermy. He did the work of skinning her, and we discovered that she had indeed been hit and died from internal bleeding. I eventually gave the skin to a Native American friend who I knew would treat her with honor.