(This story comes to you by popular demand! Yep, it's got to be the strangest!)
As was his habit, our youngest son liked to sleep in on school mornings. No surprise there! It was a common sight to see him rushing down the stairs, shoes and belt in hand so we could race out the door for me to quickly drive him to high school which was about 7 1/2 min. from the house. And as was my habit, I sped up the driveway leaving the garage door up. I'd be gone such a short time, no need to bother with hitting the button that would lower that creaky, heavy barrier. He jumped out of the car on a run, still adjusting his belt, shoe strings flapping in the breeze. I smiled and proceeded home. We'd beaten the tardy bell one more time! I parked the car in the garage and lowered the door. Time to get some morning chores done. It was a pleasant fall day and there were dishes to do and ironing to finish before a friend was due over for a quick walk around the block together. The phone ran, my long distance mother-in-law checking in, chatting about the news of her neighborhood. We talked about 15 min. when the front door bell rang. I laid down the phone, expecting to see my friends smiling face through the window. As I rounded the corner of the kitchen heading to the front door I was met face to face by a STRANGER. A young man, about 35, nicely dressed, blond, about 6 ft tall was inches from my face. Startled, I cried out..."WHO ARE YOU...AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE??" He'd been locked in my house, with me for about 25 min. He stammered and stuttered as we stared each other down. I continued in my loud mother of teenage boys voice..."WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?" He continued to ramble some weird story about searching for his girlfriend and his girlfriends child. He confessed that he and his partner had been watching me over the past days as I left my house every morning leaving my garage door open. He'd entered through the garage and was trapped in the house with me when I came home, lowered the door and locked us in. As I continued to rant, so did he! (You know, you just never know how you're going to react with this type of surprise!) He started crying! YEP...the man had tears streaming down his face!! I remembered the door bell. Outside the window peering in was ANOTHER STRANGE face. It was the intruders buddy! He had pushed the doorbell in order to get me to the front door to let his friend OUT. I opened the door!!!...now I had TWO INTRUDERS STANDING BEFORE ME!!! I lit into him. "WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU TWO THINK YOU ARE DOING, COMING INTO MY HOUSE!!" I felt my heart start to race. He looked down sheepishly. I continued, "GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!" They slowly proceeded down the sidewalk and down the road. Good grief! Who has time for such nonsense.
I then remembered my poor little mother-in-law still on the phone. She'd heard the whole encounter and was scared to death, not know how she could possibly help me from 3 states away! I calmed her down, hung up the phone and called my husband at work. His knees gave away and he fell into his office chair as I related the story. My friend showed up and I related the story to her. We were both just dumb-struck, that such a thing could happen. We took our morning walk and shook our heads at the audacity of criminals!
The police man came, heard my story and declared me...ONE LUCKY WOMAN! A few weeks later they got the bandits. They had been stalking the neighborhood, entering open garage doors, stealing golf clubs and anything else of value they could find. I couldn't wait to go to court to tell my story. I'd been violated and wanted to face them one more time. The night before the court date the officer called so say that they had plead guilt and were sentenced to 8 years in the big house. I was disappointed to be "relieved" of my testimony. I wanted them to see my fury one last time. Foolish, foolish young men!
Surprise encounters! They happen all the time and some are not as healthy as others. Well, you can bet that I keep my garage door down now, MOST of the time. But even after that, I refuse to live in fear. My Grandpa laughingly told me when I was a child that I didn't have enough sense to be afraid. That's probably right.