by cheri sabraw
One early morning last October, before Dawn opened her eyes, a mean person took a Sharpie pen and wrote hateful words on one of my pumpkins.
Halloween was approaching; my pumpkins–each so heavy that only with help could I roll them into the trunk of my car–sat in two arched stucco windows within our gate, signaling to passersby that someone who lived in the house down the driveway was celebratory.
That someone is I.
That one delightful pumpkin, once a symbol of a spooky night to come, now looked like an overweight trashy squash, consumed and tattooed by local rats with hate in their eyes and vengeance in their hearts.
In all of our years of living on the road, never had such a creepy thing happened.
This event changed me.
The first order of business was to have a bright light installed in the venerable sycamore tree whose sweet-tempered branches sweep down to gate. High above her waist, on one of her sweeping arms, now perches such a light. Step into its range, oh little barb of malicious energy and poof! What was once night is now day.
After the electrician left with his check for $275.00 for shimmying up the sycamore and installing the motion detection light and after several weeks had passed, something in my police scanner of a thought-process told me, ” Cheri, so what if you illuminate your gate entry?”
The vision of that October pumpkin, tattooed with hate speech, symbolic of impending crime, filled my dreams. I simply could not cope with anymore random acts of meanness.
“I want a security camera that records everyone or thing who or that comes within a twenty-foot radius of all future pumpkins, “I announced a month ago. “Now that Elsa and Udo, our trusty Rottweilers, who would have surely scared the living nightlights out of whomever defaced my pumpkins, are dead and buried, we need a security camera, “I repeated.
Again, we called upon the grace and unselfishness of our sycamore tree. Again, she answered, allowing strangers to place a large domed and futuristic eye high in her curls.
Now, I have a monitor in my house, recording all activity at the gate. Suffice to say, this technology is not cheap.
Now, I can watch the Judge put the trash cans up by the gate on Sundays nights.
Now, from Starbucks Coffee Shop, I can tap on my iPhone app and see exactly WHAT is going on at my gate which, other than an occasional squirrel or a wayward turkey, is absolutely nothing.
But my child inside remains in tact–exuberant and ready for next Halloween.