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Flashback Friday: In which I am not as brave as my octogenarian great-aunt

This was a post I wrote before the advent of Flashback Friday. It was originally published on November 2, 2007, and I want to repeat it today in honor of the Halloween season that is approaching.

Here is the story of one of the scarier things that has happened to me.

It was the summer of 2003. Jeremy and I had been married for a little over a year and a half, and we were living in American Fork, Utah, while he finished up his MA at the BYU. Specifically, we were living in the basement apartment of my great aunt and uncle's house, a beautiful, gigantic (but older) house just south of the Mount Timpanogos Temple.

At that point, in all our 20 months of marriage, Jeremy and I had spent only one night apart - and that had been just a few weeks earlier at a scouting campout. Shortly after that, when he attended a conference in Middlebury, I found myself spending a week at home in AF. ALONE.

I don't consider myself a scaredy cat in the technical sense of the word. I think my main problem is that my imagination is too vivid. And despite my worst fears, the first two nights without Jeremy went by without incident.

The next night, at 4am, I was awakened by someone pounding on our door. Not knocking, pounding. I was terrified, and ran straight upstairs to wake up my aunt and uncle.

My great-uncle had heard it, too, but thought nothing of it (!?!?!). My great-aunt insisted on checking things out. So I hung out inside while my elderly (upper-80s) relatives established a perimeter around the building. When they came back inside, they said there was nothing. They even suggested that it could be someone who knew that Jeremy was out of town and was just playing a prank (his Sunday School class of 10 13-year-olds somehow immediately sprang to mind at that suggestion...).

But we were ready for them - whoever or whatever it was - the next night. I slept upstairs that night, and my aunt and uncle set an alarm to wake up just before 4am. (I swear I am not making this up.) Sure enough, right on cue, someone was downstairs pounding on the door. But by the time we got down there to investigate, there was no sign of anyone.

The third night, my aunt and uncle took it a few steps further. Remember that we are talking about elderly people here, and try to picture this: first, they spread flour around the basement entryway to catch the footprints of whoever it was. Then, my uncle waited hidden, outside, with a baseball bat as a weapon. Finally, my aunt was inside with the phone in her hand, ready to call 9-1-1 (yes, just like on that episode of the Simpsons).

At 4am, someone was banging on the door again. The problem was, my great-uncle was out there and could see that there was no one there!

I think we all would have been even more creeped out except that by chance, my aunt and uncle mentioned the situation to their daughter later that morning. Immediately, she volunteered that the noise was probably related to the new sprinkler system she had just put in at the house. Apparently, she hadn't finessed it as well as she could have and she guessed that some of the pipes were banging and making it sound like someone was banging on the door.

Sure enough, that's what it was. By nightfall, we were all laughing about our "nighttime visitor."

But that doesn't mean I slept downstairs in the basement by myself right away. Nope. I waited until Jeremy got home a few days later. And we've hardly spent a night apart since.

My very brave great-aunt and uncle a few years after the scary events, holding baby Magdalena.

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