. . . that time when I was babysitting Jodie. Jodie’s parents were married in the 70’s. Jodie’s parents had a green toadstool footrest, macramé plant hangers, and the house was decorated in olive green, burnt orange, and brown—even the linoleum. They also had two channels on their TV, but no remote of course. I was about twelve and the perfect age for babysitting.
This particular night I had just gotten six-month old Jodie to sleep and in her crib. I quietly closed her bedroom door and then changed the channel on the TV just in time to hear that a prisoner had escaped from the penitentiary. Our state penitentiary was 150 miles away. If he just barely escaped, I had at least three hours of safety. But I didn’t hear when he escaped (nor did I hear from where he escaped, it might have been from Wisconsin for all I knew). I should have felt safe, we lived thirty miles from our post office so how would he find me, but I didn’t. The longer I sat by that toadstool the more scared I got. But even when I’m not brave I can plan, so I carefully got Jodie out of her crib so as not to wake her and the two of us hid in the broom closet. The escaped convict never found us.
Nita and me on a 4th of July picnic.
We were much older in the story below.
. . . that time when Nita went with me to the cow camp. Our summer range was about 40 miles away. Every summer after the cows had been trailed up to the hills, my older sister Chris stayed in the trailer during the week to look after them. We slept in sleeping bags and got our water from the horse trough which had clean, cold spring water running into it (that is also where we brushed our teeth and washed our hair. Oh, the throb of sticking your head into that horse trough early in the morning).
My best friend and I had gone up to stay the week with Chris. One evening we were in the trailer all alone. Chris had gone ten or twelve miles over to a neighboring cow camp. It was starting to get dark and Nita and I had just climbed into our sleeping bags when we heard a motorcycle in the distance. It was pretty late to be hearing motorcycles, and besides we were miles and miles away from campgrounds or government property. The motorcycle sound continued and sometimes it sounded like it was even getting closer. We played the “you go look out the door and see if you can see someone” game for quite awhile. Nita finally lost and quietly crept out of her sleeping bag and opened the door. When she did, the sound quit. She jumped back into bed much faster than she got out. We hadn’t been quiet long when the noise started up again. Certain now that the motorcyclist was even aware of our moves, we were more afraid — every ghost story from every sleepover began its rerun. We wished Chris would come back home. We wished the motorcycle would go away. We wished we were anywhere but in the middle of the hills all by ourselves. But we weren’t. For over an hour we were all by ourselves with a fly buzzing on his back in the window well, and did you know it sounds the same as a thug on a motorcycle.