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Voices of Spencer Creek Valley
A true story

Life is full of good stories if we just know how to tell them. Ms. Lauch does. I think you'll enjoy this domestic saga! -- Editor

Nighttime Intruder

by Jonnie Lauch

Our home should be our castle.

My family and I live in a house we began building 6 years ago. Most of our flooring consists of painted plywood. Since we don't have carpeting, the sound travels very well throughout the house, especially at night. My husband, Jon, has never been very pleasant when awakened in the middle of the night. The man has many wonderful qualities during the day, they just don't show up during his sleeping hours. He has slept through colicky babies, nursings, nightmares, you name it. My three kids wouldn't even think of going to his side of the bed . He doesn't wake up easily, and if awakened, he's not coherent. He sounds and acts like a big old bear coming out of hibernation. His growliness would be quite helpful if we ever had an intruder. They would wish they had picked a different house to burgle.

ne night I was awakened by some serious loud scratching. We have a spoiled cat named Lateif who lives sometimes outside, sometimes inside. If she wants out in the night she jumps up on my side of the bed about knee level and runs across my legs onto Jons' legs and off of the bed. That is our signal to let her out. If she is outside and for some reason has to come in, she scratches desperately on a piece of cardboard we have had protecting the front doorway threshold for a few years. If she does this in the middle of the night we all ignore her pleas to get in. I thought I was hearing Latief signaling to get in, so rolled over and slipped back to sleep. Sometime later I woke up to loud scratching again! This time it sounded like it was reverberating off of the walls close to my bedroom.

Not wanting to disturb Jon, I tiptoed out of our bedroom and stepped onto a bridge that connects me to a hallway where our three children have rooms. There stood our youngest son, Jordan, peering down over the railing. He was shining a miniature flashlight onto some shelving that is along the stairs leading to the lower level of the house. I padded over to him and peeked over the rail to see what in the world he was looking at. Although it sounded like we must have a raccoon gnawing a hole into the crawl space, there was only a mouse scratching and digging as fast as he could to get out of the corner. I don't know how such a small creature could make so much noise.

Now we had to decide what to do with this dilemma. I told Jordan under no circumstances were we going to wake up his Dad. Surely we could manage to get rid of a mouse in the middle of the night without calling the formidable cavalry that slept in my bedroom. Out of the corner of my eye I could see another light shining into the kids hallway. I trotted quietly down to my daughter Julia's room. She was fumbling with her mini-mag flashlight trying to put batteries in it. I said in my "sweet" middle of the night voice, "What in the world are you doing?" She told me she had been awake for hours watching the mouse.

Apparently, the mouse started out its nighttime escapades in Julia's room. It ran around her wastebasket and then under the bed. Julia watched it run out of her room into the bathroom, make a visit into her older brother Jacob's room, then back to the bathroom again. She lost track of its wanderings, and was not about to set her bare feet on the floor to find it. Instead, she kept up a long vigil listening to its scamperings and scratching. Jordan had finally been awakened by the scratching and stood in her doorway asking if she was the one making all of the noise. She told him it was a mouse, hoping he would rescue her. He promptly turned around and went back to bed. After a bit Jordan came back to make sure it wasn't his sister that was causing all of the racket. After assuring him it really was a mouse, Jordan finally woke up enough to become chivalrous and aide his big sister who was being held captive in her bed. This was when I joined in the hunt.

ordan thought it would be a good idea if I used my gloves from the downstairs fireplace hearth and just grab the little thing and throw it out the front door. He had seen me retrieve a darling bird from the fireplace and throw it out of the back door a few days earlier. This critter was very cute, but it was from the rodent family. I told Jordan I was afraid it might crawl up my arm! By this time our whispering was getting a bit desperate, and quite a bit louder. I told him I would hold the flashlight and he could go get the gloves and capture the mouse. Julia now had her flashlight working so we were all hanging over the bridge railing assessing the situation. Jordan decided to sneak down the stairs, past the mouse on the shelf and get the gloves. Howerver, Jordan is12 and has a pretty stocky build; he is not very quiet even when he's sneaking. I was shushing him, not wanting Jon to wake up.

Julia took up her post by the front door ready to open it so Jordan could fling the mouse out. I was keeping watch with the flashlight shining on our target. As Jordan was approaching the shelf, I caught a glimpse of motion out of the corner of my eye. There was something huge filling the entire frame of my bedroom doorway. It was Jon. He was in his underwear with his hair standing on end. "What's going on?" he growled. We all looked wide eyed at him. I pointed at the mouse. Without saying a word, Jon stumbled down to the entryway where Julia was standing ready to open the front door. He picked up a big tennis shoe, walked past Jordan in his gloves, and pounded on the shelf a few times. Jon grabbed the intruder by the tail, and Julia opened the door as her Dad pitched it out into the dark night.

Without a word to us, back up the stairs he went and crawled into bed. The three of us looked at each other and giggled... quietly. We locked the door. I kissed them goodnight, and we went to bed. Our oldest son, Jacob, and Lateif the cat, slept through all of our shenanigans. The next day Jon told me with a sly grin on his face that he forgot to wash his hands after taking care of the mouse, so he wiped them on my pillow!

Jonnie Briggs Lauch was born and raised in Oregon. Twenty-eight years ago she married her childhood sweetheart Jon. After graduating from college, where Jonnie trained as a dental assistant, she and Jon moved to Alaska where two of their three children were born.

Back in Oregon Jonnie has been a housewife for many years. In addition to this she has been involved in her childrens' schools and her church. As a vocalist she has given time and talent to musical expression all her life. She is now writing songs as well.

A few years ago a county road widening project required moving the house they lived in. So they planned and began building a new house farther from the road on the same parcel of land. --L.B.

© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000-2002 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise noted.

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West By Northwest

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