Weekends have become a special time for me. When I was in law enforcement, weekends essentially meant nothing, since shift work meant that I would have my days off at any given point during the calendar week. this meant that days off were valued, but having them on the Saturday and Sunday meant very little. It also didn’t matter as much before I had children. Now that one of my boys has been in school for a few years, Saturdays and Sundays have become a coveted time when we get to do family activities. That’s why Friday and Saturdays nights are important and represent my time to relax and unwind after whatever the week has brought me. I’m grateful for them and I look forward to them.
All of that was brought to a grinding halt on Friday night. After a cigar and a few drinks, I was spending some time with both boys in my basement. We were watching some carton and enjoying some garlic fingers, which Costco has been good enough to stock. They’re from a pizza chain called Pizza Delight, popular in the Maritimes and all but unheard of in the Prairies. It seemed as though the evening was shaping up to be fun and light. Until my phone rang… I looked down and saw my next door neighbour’s name light up my phone screen. Although we often text each other if we need to advise each other of something happening, he’s never called me before.
I picked up and my blood turned cold as he told me that his downstairs tenants could see someone in my backyard, dressed all in black and standing near my fence line. I told him I’d check it out and hung up. Filled with a sudden instinct I thought I had left behind, I grabbed a weapon and my bright, tactical flashlight and bounced into the backyard intent on intercepting whomever would be back there. To clarify, my home is laid out in such a way that it’s impossible to accidentally end up in my back yard unless you intentionally walk all the way up thirty feet of driveway. And one certainly wouldn’t stay back there once one realizes there’s no way out.
I had no idea what I would do if I found someone back there. I wasn’t interested in harming anyone and the thought of someone infringing on my property and violating the safety and security of my family was bringing out something in me that I didn’t like. But in my experience, shining a bright, halogen light into someone’s eyes while shouting to freeze tends to have the desired effect. That being said, the backyard was empty. The downstairs tenant came out to join me and we searched behind my out buildings, inside the sheds and even checked the neighbour’s back yard. Nothing to be found.
My neighbour was watching through his camera system in the event someone slipped past me. But I found nothing. The tenant’s girlfriend came out and claimed that she looked out the door and saw someone dressed all in black, standing in my backyard and couldn’t be mistaken for anything BUT a person. I honestly don’t know my neighbour’s tenants but I had no reason to disbelieve them. I posted notices on the neighbourhood Facebook page, warning everyone about what happened.
The whole experience put a damper on the evening and had me going outside compulsively, a few times over the next few hours. Luckily, the whole family seemed to sleep in until about 10 am, which was nice. Just an important reminder to everyone that although one’s home is one’s castle, it’s important to remember the state of the world we live in. Have precautions in place to protect your family, including bright lights in your yard, partnerships with your neighbours and local law enforcement on speed dial. Food for thought. ☯️