One Story at a Time

Oh, what a beautiful . . .

Daddy's Girl
Who Needs A Man?
There is Nothing to Fear . . .
I have been to the ocean, the ocean, the ocean!
University of Washington, Tacoma - A Special Place
Call Me BJ
Are Museums Deliberately Blind to the Needs of the Blind?
Skiing With Wendell
The Slayer of Innocents
"Keep Out" meant KEEP OUT!
Oral History
The Wedding Dress
Rex - Touched by God
Oh, what a beautiful . . .
"What You Don't Know . . ." (1)
"What You Don't Know . . ." (2)
The Right to Live

April fifteenth was our first day of real spring. “OOh, whaat a beauutifull morrnning.” On that day, I had taken the bus to within a mile-and-a-half of home, and then I walked the rest of the way. The day was just simply too glorious for me to be trapped inside for one moment longer than necessary. I justified my extravagant behavior with the reminder that my doctor wanted my walking distance built up to two miles per day. “OOh, whaat a beauutifull daay.”

I won’t claim that I walked briskly home; that wouldn’t be true. I meandered. I stopped frequently to look at the wonders of the world. The pink blossoms of the flowering cherry trees were almost gone, fallen to earth, leaving ankle deep snowdrifts of fragrant dime sized pink petals underfoot; a reminder of what had been. Dogwood and magnolia trees were unfolding in bloom; their bright green new leaves retained the sleepy crumpled curl of recently opened buds. Fat bullet shaped buds sat erectly in the midst of glossy palmate rhododendron leaves. “I’ve got a woondderfull feeeling.” Yellow daffodils, multicolored tulips, primroses, and pansies brightened yards where grass was only beginning to show a promise of spring green through winter brown. A hint of sweet clover scented the air. Small birds splashed in shimmering puddles left from the rain of two days ago. The sky was so blue it almost hurt my eyes. Wisps of cotton candy clouds drifted in the heavens. “Eveeryythinng’s gohing my way.” I exulted in being alive in such a beautiful world. I wanted to hug the day to me.

Upon reaching home, I fished my keys out of the outer pocket of my briefcase, and sat it down. Those textbooks hanging on the end of my arm got heavy. I unlocked the door, pushed it open, and turned off the alarm. The house was mercifully cool against my sun-heated skin. I walked through the house and out the sliding glass door on the other side to get the mail. As I walked, I ran my fingers through my short sun warmed hair. Oops, I’m a bit sweaty. Bath time. When I got back into the house, I relocked the slider, went into the office, and placed the mail on the desk, and then I remembered that I had left my briefcase on the porch. Boy, wonderful sunshiny days sure aren’t good for old ladies. I even forgot to lock the door. Smiling to myself at my forgetful ways, I reached out of the door for my briefcase, but it wasn’t there, or rather it wasn’t where I thought I had put it. It was lying on the porch railing. Humm, I have never put it there before. I really must have a touch of the ‘for-get-fuls’ today. I grasped the handle of the briefcase, swung it off of the railing and with the weight tugging on my sore arm I walked into the house, pushed the door shut, and locked it.

As I walked back through the house to the stairs so I could go up and take my shower, I burst into the song that had been stuck in my head all of the way home. “Ooh, whaat a beauutifull morrnning, Ooh, whaat a beauutifull daay, I’ve got a woonderrfull feeeling . . . .” Sometimes I think I am some kind of songbird, maybe a meadowlark. Actually, I sound much more like my daughter’s cockatiel, or a crow. Oh well, I enjoy it anyway. What was that funny noise? It sounded like something fell in the sewing room. That’s silly; I’m alone in the house.

It seemed so odd to come home and not have Gus waiting to wag his stub at me. He used to bounce up and nearly knock me down when he put his paws on my shoulders, so he could slobber dog kisses all over my face. Gosh, I haven’t thought about Gus’s absence this way for months. I wonder what has turned my glorious day into this odd kind of uneasiness. With this thought I proceeded up the stairs. My senses had shifted into high alert. 

We are such creatures of habit. I have a specific routine I go through to get undressed. First, I go into my bathroom and brush my hair. Then I return to the bedroom, remove any jewelry, and put it away. I remove my clothing; hang up anything not going into the laundry, and spray deodorizer into my shoes before I hang them on the shoetree. Finally, I redress or as on this day, I wrap the bath-sheet around me and turn on the shower.

On this fifteenth day of April, I did everything as normal except using the shower in my bathroom. Instead, I walked down the hall to use the guest bathroom’s shower; I was jumpy after imagining, without reason, that something had fallen, in the sewing room. It seemed wisest to be in the central part of the house instead of at the dead-end of the house in my bedroom bathroom. As I was walking down the hall, I heard the distinctive snick-click-thunk of a kitchen cupboard door as the magnetic catch grasps it to close. I thought about it for a moment, I wonder how that happened? How odd, one cupboard door has a habit of not staying shut, but none of those doors can shut themselves. I had better go take a look.

Wrapped in the armor of my bath sheet I went down stairs and feeling silly I checked every room. I checked the downstairs guest bedroom, including inside of the closet and the far side of the bed. In the sunlight-filled living room, I looked behind the loveseat and recliner. In the family room, I peered behind any furniture pulled away from walls. The only place anyone could hide in the sewing room was behind the sewing table; no one was there. There wasn’t any place someone could hide in the kitchen, office, or dining room, but just for insurance, I set the hook on the basement door. On my way back upstairs, I checked the downstairs bathroom, including behind the door and inside of the hallway closet. I didn’t find anyone or evidence that anyone had been there. How peculiar!

I returned upstairs, turned on the shower, and shut and locked the bathroom door. That was a measure of just how spooked I had made myself. I am mildly claustrophobic and I never shut myself into a small-enclosed space, let alone lock the door. I had just removed my bath sheet and laid it on the countertop when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. The bathroom door was opening.

I was so stunned I just stood there with my mouth agape watching it open. Finally, I reached behind me groping for my bath sheet. As I did so, the door completed its arc to a full open position. There was the oddest little man standing there. He was naked except for a white towel wrapped around his waist. I noticed that it was not one of mine and had the fleeting thought that he had brought it with him. Still groping for my bath sheet to cover my ancient glory, I asked my unwelcome guest in a surprisingly even voice, “Just how did you do that without my hearing you?” Meaning how did he open my locked bathroom door.


He just shrugged.                                                               

I asked, “How did you get into my house?”

He sneered, “Well, Dearie, you locked the door just a moment or two too late.”

My curiosity has always gotten the better of me, so I asked him, “Where were you when I checked out the house.”

He replied, “When you came downstairs I ducked into the hallway closet, and when you went into the office I came upstairs and went into the bedroom across the hall; you never checked there.”

I said, “Well, now you can just take yourself right back out the door you came in.”

He shrugged again and said, “I don’t think I can.”

This was the most ridiculous conversation I had ever had. To the music of the water from the shower, I was standing in my altogether talking to a perfect stranger who was an intruder in my home. He was a mild enough looking man, with a kind of cherub face and body, a small fringe of dark hair around his bald pate, and twinkly brown eyes. He was at least twenty years my junior and he didn’t have many pounds on me. The only sinister thing about him, except that it was a bit preposterous, was that that white towel had a horizontal tent pole holding it out in front.

I continued the conversation, trying to buy time; time for what, I didn’t know. “Why are you here?”

His answer astounded me, “Don’t play cute with me, Dearie. You wanted me to come home with you.”

The cat doesn’t often get my tongue, but he made a good grab at it when I heard that reply, “Huh? Uh. What makes you say a thing like that?”

“Well,” he said, “you knew I was following you. You kept encouraging me by turning around to make sure I was still there.”

I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what to say. I remembered that in my sheer exuberance at being alive on such a glorious day and wanting to hug the day to me that there were two or three times when I had twirled around with outspread arms as though to embrace the day. I had been oblivious to anyone else that might have been sharing space in my world during my walk.

I thought, How could this little twerp think that I wanted anything to do with him? 

About that time, my groping hand found the bath sheet. I grabbed it and rushed that little man as though I was a Green Bay linebacker. I knocked him out of my way, hopefully down the stairs, and dashed down the hall to my room, wrapping the bath sheet around me as I ran. I flung myself across the bed frantically scrabbling for “Dudley”.

Dudley is my small Browning 25-caliber semi-automatic that I keep under the mattress; I hadn’t fired him in years. My hand had barely closed around Dudley’s muzzle when that creepy little man landed on top of me, tent pole and all.

I screeched, “Get off of me, you fool.”

He just giggled.

It was a particularly nasty, high-pitched giggle, almost a squeak. I finally got Dudley turned around the right way in my hand, but I knew there wasn’t a bullet in the chamber. I thought, O.K., lady, it’s time to bluff.

I wiggled around, afraid with every wiggle that he would take it as encouragement, until my right arm was free enough to reach his head. I put Dudley to his temple and in a very even, no nonsense quivering voice I told him, “Get off of me you oaf, and get out of my house or I will shoot you.”

He just giggled some more, and said, “No you won’t, Dearie. You wanted me, and now you’ve got me.”

With that, I pulled the trigger. The only sound was the hollow little click of no bullet in the chamber. I didn’t have the luxury of a choice; I had to carry out my bluff. There wasn’t a prayer of being able to slide the bolt back to ratchet a bullet into the chamber.

I bluffed, “That was just a warning. When I pulled the trigger, it injected a bullet into the chamber. This is your last chance, get off of me and get out of my house or the next time I pull the trigger you are a dead man.” (Maybe he knew what I did; Dudley didn’t work that way.)

He giggled.

I pulled the trigger. To my surprise, Dudley emitted the most satisfying “BANG”, but he was bouncing around so badly in my shaking hand that the bullet just nicked the intruder’s jaw. With a horrified look at me, my frightening little interloper slapped his hand to his bleeding jaw, crawled off me, and ran. I never heard the door shut when he left. I never found his clothes. I was too busy shaking.

I awoke with the slanting rays of a late afternoon sun coming in the window. My first fuzzy thought was, What in the world am I doing wrapped in my bath sheet sprawled across the bed and asleep in the middle of the day with the shower running? My walk must have tired me out more than I thought it did. Then I remembered my dream. Wow, that was some middle of the day nightmare. The water in the shower had long ago run cold, so I turned it off and dressed in my sweats so I could get my homework done.

When I went downstairs, I checked the door; sure enough, I had forgotten to lock it.

The oddest thing happened two days later when I was making my bed. I found a strange little reddish brown spot on the comforter; it was almost hidden in the floral design. That looks like dried blood. The spot was just about where I had been lying when I awoke from my daytime nightmare. How bizarre.



To add or not to add, that is the question. I have never decided. What do you think?


I have concluded that I must have a poltergeist. The same day that I had my middle of the day nightmare, my keys disappeared. About a week later, they were on the porch railing when I came home. I must have dropped them and someone put them on the railing so I would find them. Two weeks after the dream, I found a man’s garish pink and orange necktie under the cushion of the love seat. I didn’t understand how one of the ties I’ve been collecting to make a skirt could have gotten there. Yesterday I found a man’s olive green stocking in the hallway closet. I wonder where it came from. Maybe it fell out of one of the sacks of clothing I have been collecting for the boy’s ranch. I have a kitchen cupboard door that doesn’t stay latched, but it keeps making the curiously distinctive snick-click-thunk of a kitchen cupboard door as the magnetic catch grasps it to close, and when I go to check, sure enough it is closed. I keep telling myself that there must be a logical explanation, but where do all of the white towels that I have been finding come from, in my laundry, on the porch, tossed over a chair. I don’t buy white towels and never have; I don’t like them.

As I was walking down the street,

I picked up a tail. That wasn’t sweet.

He followed me and crept into my home when I didn’t see.

That funny little man obviously wanted me.

He stripped off his clothing with obvious intent.

[The white towel about his waist stuck out in front.]

That horizontal tent pole for me was meant.

He scared me out of my only wit.

I used Dudley and got a hit.

He scampered away.

I woke later in the day.