Another use for tennis rackets

Have you ever realized that your are afraid of something? Something that you haven’t even thought of for years, but when you encountered it, you knew immediately that not only are you scared now, but you have been scared for years.

I don’t consider myself a scaredy cat. I’m not afraid of spiders, or mice, or bumps in the night. I’m a tough girl, raised out in the country by a tough mama.

But I have a confession for you. And it’s a new one – I just learned it last night. Are you ready?

I’m afraid of bats.

Before you judge, let me tell you a little story:

I grew up in a great big farmhouse that was at least 100 years old. It was the best place a kid could ever hope to grow up. But it had some quirks. Any house that old would, and that’s why we loved it. Most of the time. Every once in a while though, that old house would play a trick on us, just to remind us who was in charge. Like the night it let the bat in.

My older brother and I were watching TV. Mom and the younger kids had already gone to bed; Dad was somewhere around. The living room was dark, illuminated only by the glow of the TV. Something swooped out of the dark stairwell and flew right over our heads. Nick and I dove off the couch to the floor – it was that close.

“Was that a bird?” I asked Nick.

“Ummm, I think it was a bat.”

“Daaaaaaaaad,” we called from the floor. That bat was flying around somewhere behind us and I wasn’t budging until I knew where it was. We could hear it fluttering every so often and then a crash as it flew into a picture on the piano.

Dad came in and turned on the lights, assessed the situation, and ordered Nick upstairs to shut all the bedroom doors so the bat couldn’t get into the bedrooms. Meanwhile Dad went to the closet and grabbed two tennis rackets – one for him and one for Nick. They didn’t expect me to help. And while I didn’t scream, I did dodge around a lot.

That bat went crazy, swooping and gliding all over the house and leading Dad and Nick on a merry chase. Just when they thought they had him cornered he would fly just close to enough to their heads that they never could get a clean shot at him. They finally managed to trap him in an empty bedroom. Mine. But weren’t all those doors supposed to be shut, you ask? Good point. But in my bedroom it was. There was a brief deliberation on who was going into the room after it. Finally one of them went in, and we shut the door behind them. What a racket of swinging and jumping and flailing we heard. Finally, silence. The victor emerged, dead bat balanced on the tennis racket.

What a night. And that was only the first of the bat incidents. One time I walked by a dead bat on the porch only to have it come to life and fly right at me.  That, thankfully, was the last bat incident that I remember.

But last night as I was about to go out the front door I saw a little bat hanging from our front porch. And I froze. I wanted to dive to the floor and call for Dad. I wanted someone with a tennis racket to protect me. I jiggled the front door to try to scare the bat but it didn’t budge. I sure wasn’t going out that door with the bat hanging right there waiting to drop onto my head. Or worse, fly into the house.

But that bat didn’t have me cornered. No sir, I went out the back door.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of the bat. Be afraid.

    • Emma
    • April 17th, 2010

    Nice story.I’m not kidding.i never heard that story before.i bet Nick left your door open because he thought it would be a funny joke.

    • Emma
    • April 17th, 2010

    I still think that the “dead bat” flying out of the garbage is the best one!Talk about scary! I just read this to dad and he immediately shut our deck door. “No bats in this house” he said.

    Sleep tight, all the way under the covers, bats can’t get you there.


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