Last Monday morning, the week of Thanksgiving, I was cozy and warm in bed when my dogs suddenly barked and woke me up. I barely managed to pry my eyes open when the doorbell rang, which incited another round of frenzied barking.
Well, there was no way I was about to crawl out of bed and open the door. For one thing, I had no idea who was out there. Anyone who knows me is fully aware I'm not a morning person. So that meant it probably was a stranger.
Like a guy selling driveway paving because he had some leftover asphalt from his previous job.
Or an escaped criminal looking for a hideout.
Or a hungry bear looking for…well, just about anything.
Secondly, if I answered the door looking the way I usually do when I first wake up in the morning – thermal pajamas, hair curlers, face cream, and my bangs sticking up like porcupine quills – I’d frighten away anyone who was out there…including the bear.
So I didn’t budge.
Within a few seconds, the doorbell stopped ringing, the dogs stopped barking and I rolled over and went back to sleep.
About 45 minutes later, however, the doorbell rang again. By then, I was feeling slightly irritated, especially since my dogs were acting as if a UFO had just landed on the front lawn and alien beings were surrounding the house.
But this time, the doorbell ringer wasn’t satisfied with just the usual “ding dong." No, it was "ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong" in rapid succession. And when all of those dings and dongs failed to elicit any response from me, I heard the visitor walk back and force across my porch, then switch to knocking…loudly…also in rapid succession.
When it continued, I became annoyed – so annoyed, I no longer cared how I looked. I got out of bed, shoved my feet into my fleecy slippers and stomped out to the living room. The front door has an outer storm door, which I also keep locked, so I felt safe enough to open the inside door just a crack.
I did consider shouting “Who is it?” first, but finally, I just creaked open the door about two inches.
Never would I have guessed who was standing there.
It was a police officer…a tall, young and handsome police officer. In fact, I had to stop and think about what occasion it might be that would inspire one of my friends to play a joke on me and embarrass me by sending over one of those male exotic dancers who dressed like a cop.
But this officer turned out to be a real policeman (darn it!).
He asked if I was Sally and then, “Are you okay?"
Why, I wondered, would he be asking me that? Had I slept so soundly, some natural disaster had struck while I was snoring? Or maybe there was a vicious, drooling, wild animal (or person?) running rampant on my property?
“I’m fine,” I said. "I was sleeping."
I think the fact I wouldn’t open the door any wider than a crack made him think I might be hiding a fugitive or someone in the house, because he stretched his neck to look past me and into the living room.
“Sorry to wake you,” he said. “But we received a call to do a wellness check on you. The caller said he hadn’t seen you or heard from you in weeks.”
I hadn’t expected that one.
“Weeks?” I repeated. “I can’t think of anyone I haven't been in touch with, and I'm always posting stuff on social media. Also, I take my daily walk around the neighborhood and say hi to or wave at everyone."
“Well, I'm glad you're all right. Sorry again to disturb you. Have a nice day."
I closed the door, locked it and went back to bed, but my eyes were wider than an owl’s by then, and my heart was pounding like a jackhammer. There was no way I was going to get any sleep until I found out who had requested the wellness check.
So I got up and called the local police department. When I gave my name to the woman who answered, she said, "Oh, Sally! I'm so glad you're all right! I was worried about you when I saw your name!"
To be honest, it made feel good to know that people were so concerned about me. I’ve often had visions of myself lying on the basement floor after tumbling down the stairs, and not being found until the spiders down there had completely wrapped me in webs, like a mummy.
I asked the woman if she could tell me who'd contacted the police about me, and she gave me the information – a very nice couple who live about a mile up the road from me.
I thanked her and then called the couple. The husband answered and was happy to hear I was still kicking. He then explained he’d been out walking his dog and noticed I hadn’t picked up my Sunday newspaper in the tube out by my mailbox. He said he was worried I’d fallen or that something bad had happened to me, so he rang my doorbell to check on me. When there was no answer, he phoned the police.
Well, that explained it.
I also hadn’t put my trash out for the weekly Monday-morning pickup because there was only one bag in the container (which is big enough to house a family of four), so I figured I could be lazy and wait another week.
In retrospect, that probably didn’t help much either.
I thanked the couple and told them I really appreciated their concern...and I truly meant it.
In fact, they can call back that same police officer to come check on me again any time they’d like.
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Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com