Friday, September 25, 2009

Night Moves

Shortly after The Husband went to bed last night, he was up and pacing the livingroom floor, walking from window to window.
“What is it?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” he replies pulling on a pair of jeans. “I’m gonna find out.”

Now I’m pacing the floor, walking from window to window trying to see what it is he was looking for. I have to crane my neck to watch him walk up the sidewalk, but when he starts running, I run to another room to get a better view. Trees block much of my view, but I see legs disappear behind a neighbor’s house where teenagers have historically gathered for beer parties and The Husband’s legs follow shortly after.

I’m wondering if he has his cell phone. I’m wondering how loud it would ring if I called it.

But mostly, I’m thinking of my dad.


It was the middle of the night on the farm. I heard Mom and Dad moving around, talking low, some sense of urgency. By the time I got out of bed, Mom was at the back window and Dad was gone.
“What’s going on?”
She pointed past the fields toward a sand pit in the woods a half mile behind our house. “Somebody’s out there.”

A moment passed and lights flashed from the place she had indicated. Headlights. Spinning, illuminating the forest, then zooming away. A moment later, more of the same. Teenagers joyriding, doing “donuts” in the sandlot that had been carved into the forest beyond our property line.

“What’s Dad gonna do?”
“I don’t know.”

And that’s when we saw him. My dad was running down the lane which lead to the farthest part of his property. No flashlight. No weapon of any kind. In fact, he was in such a hurry to get to the trespassers that he hadn’t put on shoes… or a shirt… or pants.
He was running in the dark in his tighty whities. He quickly was swallow by the night, but his white underwear virtually glowed in the dark. Bobbing down the lane.

I waited with Mom until he came back. The kids had left before he got there.
What had he hoped to accomplish in the dark? In his skivvies?
Get a license plate number. Perhaps identify a driver by his car and call some parents. (That’s how it was done back then. A lot more often that I realized at the time.)

A couple years ago, I wrote my dad a Father’s Day letter and told him how brave I thought he’d been that night.


So… this is what I am thinking about as I dial the non-emergency number for the local police.

Please send a patrol car to the neighbor’s house, I ask. The house is for sale, and no one is living there, but there are people milling around. By the time I have given the dispatcher the neighbor’s address, The Husband has come back. I pass the cell phone to him, and he relays license plate numbers and car descriptions to authorities. As he is speaking, teens come running down the street and jumping into their cars to speed away.

Idiots. Don’t come back. We’re watching you.

Meanwhile, one of our Neighborhood Watch neighbors hears the report on his police scanner and comes outside. While he and The Husband discuss the situation on the walk in front of our house, I sit on the couch with the boys (who’d been wakened by movement, voices, and a sense of urgency) and tell them what has been going on.

And I share with them the story of my dad.

“So, I was thinking how my dad was so brave…”
They both nod.
“…and how your dad is so brave…”
“…and how glad I am your dad put on pants first.”


Thumper said...

Yeah, the image of black boxer briefs just isn't the same as tighty whities... ;)

(does anyone wear those anymore?)

Cellar Door said...

That was a great story. Both of them.

St Jude said...

Lovely stories. Thank goodness your Dad didn't sleep in the buff ;0}

Richmond said...

Fantastic story!! :)