I didn’t just read Nancy Drew mysteries; I was right there with her. Climbing the creaky steps to the dusty attic, shining a flashlight on faded tombstones in a midnight cemetery, daring to open the ancient wrought-iron gate to the old mansion…my heart stopped and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what was going to happen to me, er, her. Us. Us! Let’s be honest. If Nancy and her pals got caught by the bad guys, I was a goner, too. The best I could do would be to scream for my life.
So when my husband, Keith, and I walked the Rail Trail along Pine Creek in Pennsylvania, and I saw some rocky crevices that were almost true caves, well, all those old adventurous yearnings came flooding back.
What if bad guys came storming out of the cave demanding our money or our life! (I’d fight ’em off, of course. I didn’t read The Mystery of the 99 Steps for nothin’.) What if a big bear growled its way over to us, clawed paws flailing! (Wait. Is it curl into a ball and play dead for a bear, or for a cougar? Wait! Wait! I need a minute!) Why, anything could be hiding in those caves. Snakes! Bandits! Hannibal Lecter! (Ruuuun!)
I didn’t share my thoughts with Keith. Let Mr. Nature enjoy the sun-dappled trail and the scent of autumn leaves while he can. But as we passed, I positioned myself between him and the cave.
If anything came flying out of there, it would get to me first. Which is good because Keith is bigger, stronger, faster, and braver than I, so while I’m getting mauled, he’ll have a moment to come up with a quick defense.
I’ll handle the screaming.