Amy Rees Anderson

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night When…

It was a dark and stormy night. I was sound asleep in my bed on the main floor while my two little kids were fast asleep upstairs in their beds.  As a single mom at the time I was always keenly aware of any sounds I heard in the house late at night.  But this particular night I had fallen asleep to the sound of the rain outside.  CRASH!!! I jumped out of bed so fast it would have made your head spin. CRASH!!! I heard it again.  What in the world could it be.  My heart started racing a million miles a minute and my hands became clammy….someone was down in my unfinished basement….  Not knowing what else to do I picked up the phone and dialed my Father, who happened to be living out in Ghana Africa at the time. I clearly woke him up as it was probably around 4am in the morning for him.  “Dad”, I whispered frantically, “Someone is in my house!  I can hear them crashing around in my basement!”  My father responded, “Then hang up the phone and dial 9-1-1! ” 

“No” I responded, “Just stay on the phone with me while I go downstairs and see what the sound is…”

Looking back at that moment its like watching a horror movie when you start yelling at your TV screen, “DO NOT go down those stairs into the dark!!!! How dumb can you be!?!??!” 

Clearly I wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box back then because I literally grabbed my flashlight and clutching the phone against my ear I began slowly walking down the wooden stair planks into the unfinished cement basement.  What was I thinking???!!!! Seriously…so dumb….

I pointed my flashlight down at the stair planks as they were just wooden boards and I could have easily tumbled right down them.  As I began to descend the stair I could hear my father on the phone saying “You realize I’m all the way in Africa and there is nothing I can do from here…”  I didn’t have time to respond because just then I got to the last step and turned my flashlight toward the large empty cement room only to have the flashlight catch the reflection of two enormous black eyes staring right at me!!!  AARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!   I screamed the loudest scream of my entire life and just about jumped out of my own skin….

I can only imagine what my father must have been thinking on the other end of that phone call half asleep…

It was the two black eyes on a deer that had fallen down into my window well and was staring right through the glass at me.  CRASH!!! It tried to jump its way out of the well again only to smack its back legs into the metal sides of the window well  CRASH!!! It tried jumping again.  I’m fairly certain I scared that deer as much as it scared me. 

“It’s a deer in my window” I yelled to my dad, just as the deer jumped once again, this time clearing its way out of the well.  I was shaking like a leaf…all I could do is stand there thinking…”What is wrong with me that I was dumb enough to come down here?! I could have been killed by some serial killer in a hockey mask for heaven’s sake!” 

The moral of the story is this – quit watching scary movies that teach you to do stupid things like walking down a dark staircase in your pajamas in the middle of the night holding a flashlight to go and check the scary crashing sounds you just heard!  Or that teach you to call someone halfway around the world rather than dialing 9-1-1! 

And with that…Happy Halloween everyone!  And remember, stay away from dark basements, strangers in hockey masks, anyone carrying a chainsaw, and don’t go down streets named Elm Street or Transylvania Ave….just sayin’….

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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