Yesterday I was visiting with a friend. She was telling me about her ten year old son and how this is the first year he's been left home alone. After we joked about some of the things that have gone wrong on his watch - a blown up corn dog in the microwave etc. - I was reminded of one of my favorite memories of being left home alone.
We lived over 20 miles from the nearest town growing up. Neighbors were plenty but so were the miles that separated us. Being the youngest of 5 there really never was much opportunity for me to have free reign on the house. And then one day my mom left my brother, two years my senior, and me home all alone. No big sisters to boss us around. No chores that we couldn't do within the first thirty minutes or so of her being gone. We didn't have to go outside and work. We. Had. A. Great. Plan. We ran to the basement, fired up the TV (which only had VHS - no cable), and hooked up the Speedy Gonzales game on our hand-me-down Nintendo sixty four. If you thought Nintendo sixty fours were archaic, imagine a hand-me-down Nintendo sixty four!
Anyway. We were just getting started running from cave to cave and bouncing our little mouse along the frosted donuts-at least I always thought they looked like donuts-when all of a sudden from somewhere outside we heard a huge "crash, boom, bang!!". Of course at this point we shuttered a little. We were super heroes on Nintendo but outside...in the real world?
My big brother didn't miss a beat. With at least 13 pocket knives in his Wranglers and a pistol on his belt, he handed me a big stick and he grabbed a twenty two and we were off to figure out who we were being attacked by! We walked around the woodshed. Then the tack-shed. Then we went over by the ever dreaded cellar - I swear something fishy lived in that scary place, not a fish though - but we found nothing! So we headed back. But just as we walked past Mama's garden we heard it - it kind of sounded like a pair of rubber boots in a mud puddle but this was during a dry spell and there weren't any puddles. There was more banging around and that's when we saw it - there was a hole in the top of our cistern. My mom's best milk cow had fallen right in!
These were the days before cell phones - at least before the days of normal people carrying them. We called our neighbors whose house our mom was at - they didn't answer. Thus, we took matters into our own hands. Long story short we ended up getting one of our neighbor guys out to our house to winch the cow out. She was fine and my brother and I found some make-shift material to cover up the cistern.
When this story flashed into my mind I had to chuckle. That neighbor probably thought we were crazy, I would have too.
Old video games and real homeland security - just another memory from life in the country.