Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Trick or Treat?

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Two days ago was a very busy day in our household. We had school Halloween parties, a work Halloween party, and a ward Trunk or Treat party. Shepherding my little ghosts and goblins through the candy haze was a Halloween nightmare in itself. By the time we got home, I was exhausted. We took a few more pictures, answered the door for the straggling trick or treaters, and then I put my little ones to bed while I waited up for my oldest son to come home from his date. I finally crawled into my own bed just after midnight, the house quiet, the ticking clocks easily heard with the household in slumber.

I didn't have any trouble at all falling asleep that night. I was in a deep sleep, the kind that doctors call the most restful sleep. The kind that mothers rarely get enough of. It seemed like only a few moments had passed, when from the edge of my consciousness, I could hear a doorbell ringing. It oddly became part of the dream I was having, though, so I ignored it. But then it came again. I struggled to get myself fully awake, and rolled over to look at the clock. 1:36 a.m. You've got to be kidding me, I thought. Trick or treaters? Doorbell ditchers?

By this time, my husband was also awake. "Doorbell ditchers," he whispered, his thoughts obviously mirroring mine. I nodded, rubbing my eyes and trying to clear my head that was still fuzzy from sleep. He got up and went to the balcony overlooking our front entryway. "He's still out there," my husband whispered back to me. "I can see the guy." I joined him on the balcony and he was right. There was a vague shadow to the right of our door. We watched him move away, as if he was going to leave, but then he changed his mind and moved back toward the door.

My husband didn't hesitate. He didn't grab a weapon or even his robe, I imagine because he didn't want to lose the opportunity to catch this guy. He crept down the stairs in his pajamas, soundlessly moving across the carpet. He got to the front door and even though it was dark, I watched him get into position. The shadow was still there. Both of us saw the hand reach for the doorbell at the same second and my husband wrenched open the door. It almost sounded like he was about to say, "Gotcha" but the words strangled in his throat.

There, standing at our door at 1:40 in the morning, was a policeman.

"Hello, officer," my surprised husband managed to get out.

I wish I could have seen the officer's face, but it was too dark. "Do you own that fence on the north side of your property?" he said gruffly.

When his words registered in my brain, my first thought was that someone had painted graffiti on our fence or something so I went into one of the kids' rooms and pulled open the curtains. Nope, no graffiti. I came downstairs and watched through the window as my husband followed the policeman to our front sidewalk in his pajamas and bare feet, while the policeman was pointing at something. I ran and put on my coat unable to stand not knowing any longer.

With my coat on, I poked my head outside. "Is everything okay?" I asked.

"One of your neighbors had a problem," the policeman said, not even giving me a second glance. "Their truck careened through your neighbor's yard, and crashed into your fence." He said it so matter-of-factly, while writing on a little pad of paper. All I could think of to say was, "Are they all right?" And he nodded. He kept my husband outside in the freezing cold for several minutes longer while he gave him the case number and such. It was hard not to laugh at my husband's face when he came back inside, frozen and rueful at his thwarted attempt to catch a doorbell ditcher.

We found out later that the neighbor who lives uphill from us forgot to put on his parking brake and his truck rolled downhill, wreaking havoc. The blessing for us was that when my son came home, he parked our car in the garage that evening instead of under the tree where he normally parks it, because if he hadn't, it would have been hit in the accident.

So it was a busy Halloween for us, but fairly uneventful. No graffiti, no pumpkin smashing mischief, just a runaway truck. Thank goodness no one was hurt. The fence isn't looking so hot though.


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