The knock at the door
Mom was downstairs doing chores. I was upstairs in my room—probably under orders to do my chores. I idly sat in my window watching the sparrows babbling away in the hawthorn tree outside my window.
From whence the impulse came, I cannot say… but it was a remnant of the cantankerous mischievousness that I had inherited from my mother. I dropped an end of fishing line out my window, then coolly went downstairs and out the front door. Mom saw me, but didn't think anything was amiss.
Working quickly, I guided the nearly transparent line to the door and tied it to the metal knocker. After I was certain that the line was well-hid, I went back inside and back up to my room. Mom had just finished sweeping the living room floor when I gave the fishing line a tug from my window.
Knock, knock, knock.
Mom opened the door, but no one was there. I couldn't see her from my angle, but I heard her say, "All right, kids."
In a moment she shut the door. I waited a few seconds before I gave the string another good tug.
Knock, knock, knock!
Mom opened the door and this time stepped into the yard. Hiding in the shadows of my window, I saw her peer into the bushes. "I know you're out here kids." But she never found anyone.
She shut the door and immediately I tugged the string. Knock knock knock! Mom swung the door open loudly and ran into the yard. The look on her face was both facetious and frustrated, and she looked frantically for the culprits. I nearly exposed myself from an impulse to laugh, but I was able to hold myself in. She looked in the bushes and behind the tree. No kids. She looked along the cars and found no one. Slowly, suspiciously, she walked back to the door.
As soon as I heard the door slowly shut, I gave another speedy tug on the string. Mom exploded from the house like a lion pouncing on a gazelle. But she came up empty-handed. Exasperated, she started call out for the rascals behind the knocking… but I had already lost my cover—I could no longer refrain from laughing. Mom turned up to look at me and grinned as she pointed accusingly.
I'll never forget that smile.