In our family, there is nothing we consider quite as satisfying as giving a good scare. I think of it because early this morning, I was creeping out of my room, trying not wake my son or my husband up, and I collided with my daughter. She let out the most satisfying screech. At least she was wide awake for field hockey camp, and I have been chortling all morning.
Mama encouraged the hiding and jumping out. She loved a good practical joke and the jump and shriek was a staple. Nerves? We would like to say that we have ‘em like steel, what with the decades of training, but that just isn’t so.
My brother even out-did Mama one evening. My parents had added the third floor of the house as the family grew; it was a teenage privilege to move up to the third floor. My sister moved up and loved her room, but didn’t love the creepy third floor stairs. They were narrow and had a sinister feel about them.
This particular evening, she headed up the stairs. She flipped the lights on to battle the creepy ambience, but one of the bulbs had been blown, so there was just a dim glow at the top of the stairs; the light near her room was also out. She hurried down the long hall to the safety of her room and moved to turn on her light. As she reached her hand out, an ice-cold hand covered hers, “I have been waiting for you….” A deep voice sounded from inside her closet.
The scream, the scurry, and the sliding of feet on the creepy third floor stairs were covered by my brother’s hoots and hollers.
Mama cried from downstairs, “Oh! Well done! Did you unscrew the light bulbs?!”
“….AND I dipped my hand in ice water!” my brother shouted back.
And I wonder why we are high-strung.