During the 1940's, and even into the early portions of the 1950's, it was not uncommon, given our close proximity to the local railroad, to have drifters and hobos stop by our home, looking for a bite to eat, or possibly a place to spend a night or two.
For the most part, these travelers were docile folk, but as in all such circumstances, there were some “bad seed”..those who looked to rob, if they could, whatever they might find. At night, especially, a family was on guard for any sign of such unexpected, and unwanted visitors.
One night, in the early 1950's, my uncle was sitting, along with my eldest brother, a small boy at the time, at the kitchen table eating a late night snack. They were quite happy in their pursuit, until suddenly, both became aware of a movement at the back door…..which was unlocked at the time. As they watched, the door knob slowly turned right..and just as slowly to the left, as though someone were trying to open the door unobserved. Expecting the worst, (and I might add, my uncle was a bit violent, grin), my uncle picked up the huge butcher knife laying on the table, and with one movement (the chair in which he was seated was located right beside the door), thrust the door open, (feeling the knob being turned even as he grasped it) and lunged forward with the knife, expecting, I am assuming, to skewer whomever it was with the sly audacity to try to sneak in unobserved. But here is the clincher, folks…his knife hit nothing except the warm night air… and since the back door was located on a built in back porch, with the only exit some feet away, and blocked at least temporarily by a screen door, and no time for a prowler to have escaped…well..you can imagine the shock that both he and my brother felt. BTW..there was an outdoor light on that porch, which was burning at the time, so it is impossible for someone to have slipped away somehow under cover of the night.
© Paulette Boyd
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