August 12, 2011


          Nothing seemed unusual when I first heard the helicopter flying over our house. Living near a naval base and a major hospital, that happens all the time. But then I heard it again. And again. It wasn't flying by on its way somewhere; it was hovering above us.
          I stepped out on to the back deck and looked up. It was a police helicopter. Circling low around the woods directly behind our house. So low it was barely clearing the trees. It kept going over the same area repeatedly.
          Searching. It was was looking for something, or someone. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I went back inside and locked the door.
          I turned on the TV, scanned the local stations. If some big manhunt was going on, surely they would cover it. Nothing. An online search proved fruitless as well. So I picked up the phone and called the police. Not 911, but the regular number.

          "Yes," I said tentatively. "There is a police helicopter circling the woods directly behind my home right now. I am wondering if I should be concerned."

          "Where are you located, ma'am?"

          I gave her my address. There was a pause, and I heard her typing on her keyboard.

          "Yes, ma'am. We are looking for a person considered to be suicidal and homicidal in your immediate area. It would be best for you to stay indoors at this time."

          I resisted the urge to reply with, "Gee, do you think?!" Instead I thanked her and hung up the phone.

          I walked to the bedroom, considering whether I should retrieve the gun and bullets from their separate hiding places. After all, I had a small child upstairs in her room.
          I've never actually fired it, but I figured the sight of it alone could be a major deterrent. And, if push came to shove, I believed I could do what needed to be done.
          I called all our immediate neighbors whose numbers I have, beginning with our friends two doors down with three small children. Next came the couple across the street who always keep their front door open.
          She said the helicopter was so low the water in her pool was vibrating, and promised to call the couple directly next door to us, who also always leave their front door open.
          My hubby called to say he was coming home for lunch, his daily routine. I was relieved to know he would be home soon, and told him about the situation.
          By the time he arrived, the helicopter had moved on, following the path of the creek that winds through the woods down the middle of our subdivision. Nonetheless, hubby and I were edgy.
          The dog needed to go out. Hubby said he would go, and wondered aloud if he should take the gun with him. You may think that sounds dramatic, but how safe and secure would you feel?
          It would be hours before I would breathe easy. I was never able to find any information online, even through the Sheriff's Office website, about what had happened.
         The next morning, I awoke hoping for a quiet, drama free day. But that was not to be, as a certain toddler living in my home got up on the wrong side of the bed, and we found ourselves in Tantrum City before we even knew what hit us.
          But despite sometimes stating to the contrary, I don't truly believe my child will be the death of me. Random suicidal and homicidal people running through the woods? You just never know...
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