By Grace Bennett
I was having a lovely dream when “The Crash” happened. It was loud and frightening. And close. Downstairs, close. I bolted from my bed to my son’s room. “Did you hear that?” “Yes,” he said, clearly shaken too. “That was really loud. Is someone downstairs mom?” “I don’t know,” I said.
“Maybe some dishes fell; I don’t hear any footsteps…” “Mom,” he said. “Someone could be standing silent.” Right. I quickly peeked down the stairway. A lone dish, whole and not broken, sat at the bottom of the staircase, teasing us, inviting contemplation. “Maybe the dining room cabinet collapsed somehow,” I said, but we could not make sense of the whole dish either. “Or, maybe someone screwed up,” I thought.
Too scared to investigate, I dialed 911, and was transferred to New Castle’s emergency line. I explained the situation and the officer was very nice. I described what we heard, and added: “I have a glass door to my patio: could a deer have crashed through?” He said: “I’ve seen that too.”
I pictured a frightened or injured buck downstairs now as a possibility too. He told me he would stay on the line. “Two cars are on their way.” “Thank you” I said, “and do tell anyone to knock loud so I know it’s them.”
For the next three minutes, I contemplated our vulnerability and told my son that vast odds are that it was nothing serious. He agreed. Still, we both eagerly waited for help. When I heard the knock, I fought back a lingering fear, and scurried down the stairs, and then and there, I quickly saw “the cause”…the dining room floor was littered with all my best china; a few pieces survived a collapse of a shelf, that had given way.
Sheepishly, I answered the door. “It’s just the china,” I said. The two officers were very kind; they came in and inspected the mess, and pointed out the missing jack where the shelf rested, and as I suspected initially, the shelf gave way, and all the china came tumbling down, creating The Crash.
I apologized profusely, but they were having none of it. “You were right to be concerned,” the male officer offered. “That must have been very loud.” Yes, it was. Some more discussion. “Maybe you used the set for a holiday gathering shifting the balance on there finally?” the woman officer asked. “No, I said, no holiday gatherings here. I almost never touch that china anyway”(thinking suddenly now of this metaphoric break and the final fate of the pretty gold rimmed dish set I got to keep). I apologized again; the woman officer offered: “That’s what we are here for.”