Home not far from mind during trip
November 29, 2007
The Lady of the House and I have returned from a 4,600-mile odyssey through the American Southland visiting family.
We went to Memphis, Tenn., to Asheville, N.C., on to Roanoke, Va., then southward to Charleston, S.C., to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., then upstate to Fort Walton Beach. We passed through Natchez, Miss., and then gladly came home to the wide open spaces of the Great American Southwest.
We ain’t goin’ travelin’ like that again for a long, long time. There were so many miles, so many long days on the road and I worried a little bit about what was happening back here in Clovis at our Stucco Hacienda.
I’d say worrisome things as we went down the interstate like:
—”Do you suppose the cats are OK?”
—“Will the house sitter remember to bring in the paper? Burglars use that to target homes, you know, if all the papers are piled up out front.”
—“Did you turn off the oven?”
The Lady of the House got tired of stuff like that real quick. She started smacking me on the head like they do on the TV commercial for V8 Juice every time I started worrying.
But really, even though this is a small town, there are still folks around who want to get into your home and take your stuff.
The night before we left I got jittery about taking a vacation. I was taking the trash to the alley dumpster when I heard a big, booming voice say, “WE WILL SEND IN THE K-9 UNIT.”
This is a strange thing to hear in your li’l ol’ Clovis neighborhood on a quiet Thursday evening. Tightly gripping my garbage bag I eased back into the garden to get a better view.
A few houses down, several police cars were parked along both curbs. Officers were milling around the neighborhood, flashlight beams shooting here and there.
I looked around and saw Mr. D standing at his front door watching all the hub-bub. Every neighborhood probably has a guy like Mr. D. He’s the one who knows what’s going on. If we had a neighborhood association I’m sure he’d be the block captain.
I walked across the street, still clutching my garbage bag. I bet Mr. D. knew what was going on with all the police.
I learned that a neighbor had seen a light go on in a house where the homeowners had been away for a few days. Seeing this, the neighbor had called the cops.
Great, I thought. The same burglar will figure out that we’re gone and break into our house next. I tossed my trash bag into the dumpster, ran back into the house and promptly told The Lady of the House about the new neighborhood drama and my new fears.
“So, should we cancel our trip so we can sit here and guard our stuff?” she asked.
“Well, no,” I said.
“Then quit worrying,” she said, and went on packing for the trip.
Back from our cross-country journey, we came home to find everything just the way we left it. It was so much like we left it, it was like we never went away.
And that incident with the police the night before we left? They think a mouse set off the kitchen light that was attached to a motion sensor switch.
Ain’t no burglar going to keep me from going on vacation. Neither will some li’l ol’ mouse.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: