I wouldn’t have put this group of five women together by choice a few years ago, but this particular week, we all came together for a getaway to the mountains. Through the generosity of extended family, one of our ladies had procured the use of her family cabin.
Arriving at the most palatial cabin this side of Yellowstone Lodge caught a few of us by surprise. We had expected rustically roughing it, cooking by cast iron over an open flame, chilled on a cot in a windy, poorly chinked log hut. What we ended up with was something quite delightfully the opposite. Without going into too much detail, it was the type of cabin that insists on a sophisticated alarm system, a security gate, a caretaker, and the ability to set aside one’s views of roughing it in the mountains. Exploring and touring the place was one of ongoing the highlights of our four-day visit there.
We adopted the “UP!” dog mentality of always being on the lookout for “SQUIRREL!” as there seemed to exist an endless number of ways to display the critters in statues, photos, drawing, carvings and bass reliefs of squirrels in every room, hallways, bath, pillar and post. Tastefully done, and oh so fun!
We were in motherhood escape heaven! No cell phones, no Internet, no sirens, no kids, no husbands, no demands, no schedule. Just the five of us with great food, a relaxing atmosphere, a five-star kitchen to cook in, and an endless supply of chocolate and scotcheroos.
Dinner was divine, the conversation full of healing laughter, shared tears, open discussion about some difficult subjects. It was the kind of discussion that only happens when barriers are let down, interruptions are gone, children and husbands absent, and relaxation is the predominant sensation. We were on our way to a phenomenally epic extended weekend.
Using only our body clocks as timepieces, we finally decided we’d mosey off for some much-needed sleep. Already my pillow was serenading me from the second floor. I was ready for a long winters nap.
Unfortunately, halfway through my bedtime ritual an alarm went off.
We all rushed out of our respective rooms, in various states of bedtime readiness, appropriately alarmed. (Yes I really did say that.)
We looked to our leader; it was her family cabin after all, for clues about how worried and what our next steps should be. She checked out the alarm system grid and announced, to our relief, that the alarm was for one of the outbuildings, not the main building we were in.
For her it was clear that the next step was to go over to that particular building and confront the intruder.
What? Are you kidding me?
Two of us were No Way On God’s Green Earth going to step anywhere outside the safety and security of where we were. I was one of them. The other three were as excited as Charlie’s Angels on assignment.
They looked around for weapons.
A few moments later they emerged with flashlights, wasp spray, oven cleaner and a mop.
My reasonable and safe companion and I laughed out loud. “Are you serious?” They explained the logic of the wasp spray choice; it shoots a stream of toxic liquid over six feet long. Oven cleaner, naturally, was caustic and burning and a good alternative to mace. The mop could be used for beating, impaling and eye gouging.
Great!! They were good to go.
“Oh! And I can bring John Wayne!” the ringleader cheered as she ran toward the fireplace. She reached up and lifted down an ancient looking handgun. “Movie Prop!” is what I think she said, what I hoped she said. “No bullets, just the intimidation factor. It hasn’t been fired in forever, I think it’s rusted closed.”
I wish I had taken a photo.
Try to picture it: Three middle-aged Charlie’s Angels, on the prowl to face the intruder, which was hopefully just a house mouse, chipmunk or at worst, a skunk.
We two reasonable chickens went up to the second story to observe the happenings in the outbuilding from a safe distance.
Clearly they had watched too many crime dramas and cop shows. They cased the outside of the joint, opened the door with stealth and cunningly yelled at anyone or anything inside that they were armed and dangerous.
I hoped they wouldn’t injure each other.
We watched the beams from the flashlights as they moved from room to room, windows lighting up from within as they checked for unlocked windows, peeked under beds, climbed stairways, covered every corner of the place.
They emerged unscathed, with hearts pounding and laughter erupting. You’d have thought they’d just ridden some ride at Disneyland for the first time.
They decided it had been a false alarm, or a squirrel nibbling some wiring.
“John Wayne” returned to his resting place on the mantel. The other weapons went back into the cleaning closet. After some tales of trepidation and goofiness, we ambled back off to bed; the doors all locked tight, the alarm reset, our fears allayed.
I didn’t sleep much that night. I know, it’s silly, but somehow, Charlie’s Middle-aged Angels, as angelic as they are, didn’t quite settle my worries.