It was a quiet, pre-Thanksgiving family get-together in the Golden household on Cantata Court, just outside Vienna, until an uninvited guest showed up.
At about 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11, Roland Golden was sitting in his easy chair in the living room, and his grown son, Kevin, was on the couch. Golden's seven-month-old grandchild was asleep nearby on the floor. A two-year-old grandson had just followed Golden's wife, Edna, into the kitchen, where the couple's eight-year-old grandson, Michael Hildebrand, was getting a soda, when a grown male deer exploded through one of the narrow panes of the living room bay window.
"As big as he was, I don't know how he got through that little window," said Edna Golden, indicating the bay window's middle pane, which was about a foot and a half wide and now covered in plywood.
The buck apparently landed on the infant's pillow, in front of the loveseat that sat under the window. Three hoof prints were found close to where the baby's head had lain. However, the child received only a scrape on the shoulder.
Roland Golden began to rise from his chair as the buck crossed the small room toward him. "He went over me and put a couple of hoof prints on my chest," he said. "Right after he went over me is when he hit him." He nodded toward Michael Hildebrand, whom the home invader had kicked in the face.
However, Michael, who was getting ready to play football with a neighbor, had been dressed out in his Pittsburgh Steelers uniform, including the helmet. He sustained only some minor bruising around his right eye. "I came out to see what happened, and it had just come down from jumping over Papaw, and it came down and kicked me," he said. "All I saw was a deer flashing above me."
IN THE DINING ROOM, the animal knocked over a chair and a bench and put a hole in the wall just inches from the china cabinet before heading into the kitchen. There, he was met by Kevin Golden, who had sprung from the couch and circled around through the kitchen's other entrance. He tackled the deer on the kitchen floor.
"My son was laying on top of him, and I was holding his head to keep him from hitting him with his antler," said Roland Golden. "The deer just kept kicking, and it was bruising his legs." The deer was also bleeding all over the linoleum, as it had slashed itself and knocked off an antler jumping through the window.
"Then is when our great neighbors helped us," he said.
After taking the children upstairs, Edna Golden ran up the street to a neighbor's house to get help. On the way back, she encountered another couple pulling up to their house and recruited their help as well. They called another neighbor. In all, seven neighbors came to the Goldens' aid.
A rope was fetched from the garage, and a neighbor tied the deer's feet while Roland and Kevin Golden held it down. "Kevin was pretty spent at that point," said Roland Golden, noting that the deer never stopped struggling. They dragged the animal outside, and the neighbor cut the rope. "Boy, he was up and gone," he said of the deer, which took off down the street, slammed into a neighbor's house and ran out of sight.
The neighbors then helped the family clean up the broken glass and blood. About 30 minutes later, Animal Control arrived. The family was told that the deer most likely would die from blood loss.
THAT EVENING, "the neighbors all got together and brought a meal, right down to the dessert," said Rebecca Hildebrand, who had been out of town in Annapolis the day of the break-in.
"They knew I was planning a dinner and I didn't have time to fix it," said Edna Golden.
Because all the broken glass could not be removed from it, the carpet in the Goldens' living and dining rooms has been taken out, and much of the furniture will have to be thrown away, the couple said. Fortunately, insurance will cover the loss.
The Goldens have lived in the neighborhood for 34 years, and they were no strangers to the resident deer. "We've had them in the backyard and the front yard, but never through the window," said Roland Golden.