My mama was one of the sweetest human beings God ever put on this earth. She was, as was my daddy, a self educated person. She had to drop out of school in the second grade to help farm their land when her daddy died of cancer. Mama was a strong woman, fairly tall for that day and time, perhaps 5 ft 8 inches, and a large boned woman, not overly large or overweight though. She was also a brave woman.
                One night, while Daddy was working the second shift at Watts Mill, from 4 pm till midnight, Mama heard a noise outside. Bill had gone into the Navy by then and it was just Dot, Ruby, Mama and me at home that night. We didn’t have a telephone to call Uncle Carey for help. He didn’t have one to answer even if we did. Mama got a poker from beside one of the fireplaces and a flashlight from a drawer in the kitchen.  She headed for the back door.
                “Let’s don’t go out there,” Ruby begged Mama. Ruby was probably 15 years old at that time.
                “I ain’t going out there,” Dot whimpered. Dot was now 12 years old.
                “Y’all stay in the house,” Mama told us.
                “Uh uh.” We weren’t about to stay in the house by ourselves. I grabbed hold of Mama’s housecoat and held on, scared to death. I must have been only 6 years old.
                With my mama armed with that poker, me holding on to her housecoat, Dot holding on to my shirttail and Ruby holding on to Dot, the four of us went outside into the dark night.
                 “I know you’re out here,” Mama said in her best attempt to sound brave and shined the flashlight around.
                My sisters and I trembled with fear, looking about, trying to see in the pitch-black night with a dim flashlight. Dot was holding on to me so tight I thought she was going to pull my shirt off.  
                Mama said to the would be intruder, “I’ve got a gun and I ain’t afraid to shoot.”
                Dot whispered in a pitiful whine, “Mama, you ain’t got a gun.”
                “Be quiet,” Mama scolded her in a low voice. “He don’t know that.”
                We rounded the corner of the house. “You better git out of here, if you know what’s good for you!” Mama warned and raised the poker.
                “I see him,” Ruby gasped just loud enough for us to hear her, panic in her voice.
                “Where?” Dot asked, not really wanting to know. She sounded like she was choking.
                The dim glow of the flashlight passed over something dark just a few feet in front of us.
                “I’m gonna shoot!” Mama warned. This time she didn’t sound as convincing.
                I think I peed my pants at that moment....…



© CharlieCraig