The call came around a little after 11 A.M. It was my next door neighbor calling to say that he thought that his home had been burglarized. For a moment I felt like I had been sucker punched because I realized that I had heard the person/people breaking into his home.
A short while before I heard three loud noises. It sounded like a Pile Driver. It was loud and unexpected. I remember noticing that the dog and I both looked up. I said something to him about wondering where the construction was. The initial bang was followed by two more and then it was silent.
For a moment I considered walking outside to see what all the banging was about. It never occurred to me that someone was violating the sanctity of my neighbor's home. So since it was cold and wet outside I chose to stay inside and now I feel a pang of guilt about it.
One can argue that it is good that I didn't confront those responsible for this as it could have been dangerous. After all they took some televisions, stereo equipment and jewelry, just stuff that can be replaced. But they are my neighbors and what happens to them affects me. People who feel free to break into my neighbor's home could just as easily choose mine.
Needless to say when I received the call my neighbor was upset. He told me that he already called the police and was waiting in front of his house in his car. I told him that there was no reason for him to wait alone so I grabbed a pair of shoes and a Louisville Slugger and marched over.
But I made a point of going out the side door. I stood next to the block wall that divides our yard and listened, but didn't hear anything. The dog joined me on my excursion outside and made a point of barking loudly at the nearby squirrels.
For a moment I considered bringing him along but decided against it. I wanted him to stay inside the house. So I sent him back in with instructions to eat anyone he didn't recognize. I have conversations with him all the time. Some of those involve my providing instructions to guard my family. If I am not there it is his job to protect those children of mine.
As I marched out the gate I remembered a day years before when I felt like I had let them down. Daddy, They Have Mommy's Purse, it wasn't my fault then that they got the purse or that I didn't take the guy down. I am not second guessing my actions. I did the right thing, but when moments like this come up it bothers me a little.
I want the children to have complete faith in their father, to know that I will always protect them. Yet I also know that it is not possible to do so in the manner I would like to. I think what bothers me the most about the purse stealing incident was the loss of innocence that came with it.
My neighbor greeted me at the corner and told me not to go in the house or stand in front of the door. I didn't have any intention of doing either. I wasn't afraid of the burglar(s) as too much time had passed. I was confident that they were gone, but entering had other complications. He had already called the police and the last thing I wanted was for them to find me alone inside the house.
The police arrived moments later and checked everything out. Whomever had been inside was gone and we can all be thankful that no one got hurt...physically. And even though I live in a safe neighborhood it is another reminder to pay attention when things go bump in the night or during the day.