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Mine Creek Revelations: Mystery at Home



Last week I went through one of the weirdest experiences of my fairly long life.

I awoke probably around 5 a.m. Thursday morning with my bedroom clock blinking. Electricity must’ve been out I told myself as I walked down the hall toward the kitchen.

But I stepped on something. I turned on the hallway lights and was mystified by what I saw.

There were 9-10 pieces of wood scattered in a small area on the floor. Most of the pieces were ballpoint pen size; one might have been the size of a playing card. I grabbed a flashlight to examine the ceiling and the walls thinking that maybe my house had been hit by lightning and the stuff was blown inside, but there was nothing amiss. I continued on into the kitchen where I discovered that a big translucent plastic panel from the overhead was now on the floor.

I walked back down the hall, looking again for the source of the wood. When I turned around there was a large black dog looking at me.

I tried to shoo him toward the back door, but he ran from me and hid behind a chair in the living room.

I recognized the dog. It was Sam, a big black lab that lives in the neighborhood. He was soaking wet. Sam and I are friends because I give him crunchy Doggy Treats when I pass his house on my walk.

Sam finally dashed to the front door — which was standing wide open — and I managed to get him out of the house.

At this point I decided to call the cops. Some other eyes needed to see this. It was probably getting close to 6 a.m.

Officers arrived and we inspected the inside and outside of the house. Found no one hiding in a closet, or any damage to the building itself.

There was one more weird thing. On our first pass outside around the house, I heard a noise. It was an faucet running about 1/3 open.

The officers left, and I really appreciate that they believed my crazy tale. Later in the morning I had my insurance guy put eyes on the house. I had left the pieces of wood in place, but had turned off the faucet.

The consensus of the officers and the insurance guy is that the front door blew open in the storm and the suction made the panel fall. The dog came inside and left the wood on the floor. Maybe the dog was clinging to the outside wall of my house and he brushed against the faucet and accidentally turned it on.

All of this is plausible now.

I’ve learned that Sam had tried to get into houses before during a storm. And he’s been successful at least once. Now, at least twice.

And I’ve gone to work on that reluctant front door lock.

One of my remaining questions is about the pieces of wood. Why would Sam have brought that stuff into my house? Where’d he get it?


OLD FRIENDS. As a part of my regular email correspondence with some old Navy buddies of a half-century ago, I shared my recent column about Lash LaRue.

One of them answered that he remembered another cowboy movie character from that era who also used a whip in the pursuit of bad guys. My friend said the cowboy’s name was Whip Wilson.

I told him “No! You’re confusing him with Flip Wilson who was a great comic back in the day when comics didn’t need to be crude in order to get a laugh.”

One of Flip’s comic characters — ‘her’ name was Geraldine — could always get a laugh by saying: “The devil made me do it.” I guess just about everybody in America said that line from time-to-time.

The reason my old shipmate got confused, I figger, is that he is a New England Yankee and doesn’t know the first thing about cowboys.


THE GOOD EARTH. On a weekend drive on a highway north of Blevins, I crossed the Little Missouri River. There are monstrous piles of driftwood on both sides of the elevated highway. I was in a — ahem — convenience store at Antoine later that day and a local feller told me that the driftwood was the result of a Noah’s Ark rainfall earlier this year. Oh, yeah, I remember it now.

We had lotsa flooding around Index and Fulton. I hadn’t given the Little Mo near Blevins a second thought ‘till now.


THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: Remember that failure is an event – not a person.


HE SAID: “You have to get up and plant the seed and see if it grows, but you can’t just wait around, you have to water it and take care of it.”  BOOTSY COLLINS, rock singer and bass player


SHE SAID: “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” GOLDA MEIR, first prime minister of Israel (and also a teacher in Milwaukee, Wisc,)