As the sun has begun to go down earlier and the Little Professor's Boy Scout Troop has started meeting later, I've noticed small, vaguely bat-like shapes lurking.
They've been doing a lot of outdoor activities, so I've had plenty of time to eye these things, which seem to come out at dusk.
"They're bats!" I declared.
"They aren't bats," the assistant leader scoffed. "Those are birds."
"They look like bats." And they did.
I was neither convinced nor comforted.
They swooped low and lurked about. If one decided to investigate my hair, whether it was a bird or a bat would make no matter.
"Haven't you ever seen Hitchcock's 'The Birds?'" I asked.
To my surprise, I've learned everyone has a bat story they are willing to share. The fear of bats is universal to the human condition or, at least, to those I've polled on the issue.
Grandmama recently had a bat find its way into her basement.
She thinks it got in through their transom window - they have a very old house - and blundered down the hall, around the corner and down the basement stairs, somehow navigating the basement door. (She maintains it might have been left open.)
She went downstairs to do laundry and encountered the bat. Grandmama was a cool customer. I would have shrieked and thrown the laundry basket at it, resulting in a messy laundry-splosion.
"Did you call Grampy Grumpy?" I asked.
"No, he doesn't really do pest control."
Instead she left the basement door open and both sets of French doors in the hope the bat would make its way outside. (Since it already showed itself to be a rather navigationally exceptional bat, having gotten through the basement door and all.)
"Did it work?" I asked.
"I haven't since it since."
It's possible Grandmama has magical bat-charming powers.
Meanwhile, back over at Boy Scouts, they're learning orienteering. Most of them, anyway. The oldest Scout missed the latest meeting because he has the worst luck in the world and broke his leg. In the past few months, this child has been sprained, sick and broken. At next week's meeting, I am going to wrap him in 18 layers of bubble wrap and give him a helmet and a gas mask. Maybe we can make a group project of it.
Grandmama had a check-up, and there's some concerns about her sugar and cholesterol levels. Since we want to have the Grandmama around for a long time to harass us, we immediately went to the Weirton Book Co. to arm ourselves with low-fat, low-calorie cookbooks. I am now experimenting with whole wheat flour, egg substitutes and replacing sugar with orange juice and apple sauce. The Long Suffering Husband and the kids are my guinea pigs.
Notes From Band-Land Department: There is peace in the band (for the moment). Elyria, field commander extraordinaire, has been crowned queen, and the band is so giddy at the takeover, they're all getting along splendidly.
First, the school. Next? The world.
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)