"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, October 28, 2010


When we were kids, we loved to scare our mother. Was she an easy target? Probably. She had a lot of laughable psychoses.

For example, we lived out in the woods and somewhere in her mind she always thought some escapee from who knows where would sneak into the back of her car and wait to kill her. One night, in particular, she tried to slip out of the house in the autumn darkness to pick up a sister from dance class. Anytime she left to go to town, there were always those begging to tag along. This evening, however, she just wanted to make a quick trip and silently disappeared to the van without the help of porch or corner flood lights since they would surely alert small children to her departure.

She got in the car, turned the key, put it in reverse and said to the darkness simply to ease her conscience "Well buddy, if you're in here, I guess were going to Florida."

And then, as she turned her body to look out the back window of the car to pull out of the driveway, she came face to face with our long haired tabby cat perched on the driver's seat shoulder. Fond of escaping the cold by making a fast break into the car while exit-ers weren't looking, he chose that moment to "merrow" at her and we could hear her screams all the way in the house. Porch lights on, flood lights on, we all came running and the jig was up. Now we kids knew all, including the best way to "get" our mother.

Her life was never simple after that. Rubber snakes in her bed. That guy we made out of the broom and a coat left in her shower with the curtain pulled closed. Boy, was she fun and she could dish it just as well as she could take it.

It's probably because of her that I'm not really scared of much.

Nowadays, I get a kick out of watching my husband make his way down to the basement. Throwing out a quick "Are you afraid? Because you should be." as I close the door on him causes his scramble back up the stairs. It is so hard to resist.

It's probably because of me that my kids love the scary side of Halloween.

Enter stage left -- "Freddy". Freddy was the creation of a Saturday's boredom and avoidance of delegated chores. He has really gotten around. Celia found him in the games closet. Took ten years off her life. Grant ran to use the bathroom and found Freddy already using it. He'll probably never be the same. Freddy surprised Annie and Janie by watching a movie in the basement when they were sent to turn the lights off. They aren't exactly fans. But the best was getting the creator with the creation -- Christian.

Christian's had it coming. See here if you don't believe me. I've had to soothe more children for his scare tactics. And Freddy's ramblin' ways have all been his doing. Time for a little comeuppance -- that's a word my dad taught me, never thought I'd use it.

Celia, having had it up to here, simply put Freddy in Christian's closet and forgot about him. Darkness, bedtime, and a search for pj's in the closet brought screams, peals of laughter and tears to all of our eyes. It was good. Mean but good.

I know mine's coming but it's the nature of the territory. Only the fittest can survive in our environment. I'm sorry it's that way. No, really I'm not. Because it's a small part of growing up. What would childhood be without a sibling around the corner, silently anticipating your emergence from the bathroom? Just a little too quiet, I'd say.

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