Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana


June 3, 2014

A last day of school encounter

It was the perfect evening for a stroll.

Our dog, Siobhan, and I set out for our “long walk” Friday night.

It was the last day of school for Batesville students, a time they can feel overwhelmingly reckless. In past years, I can remember car horns honking and, one time, a blaze set by teens at a Girl Scout Woods building.

Muffled shouts, giggles and the glow of a cellphone led us to a cluster of boys and girls in the small parking lot at the corner of Pearl and Mulberry streets around 10:20 p.m. I wondered if this was a new gathering spot like the downtown lot had been years before.

Turning the corner, I spied a body in the middle of West Pearl Street between Mulberry and Second streets. Was it a hit and run?

Crap, why didn’t I bring my cellphone to call for help?

Then I saw a few teens sitting on a lawn waiting to see what would happen.

I spent 25 years disciplining our two sons. I am extremely reluctant to boss others around.

Nevertheless: “PLEASE GET OUT OF THE STREET!” I bellowed in my most serious monotone.

“Sorry!” said a young male – 15, 14, 12? – as he jerked upright and scampered to safety, joining his friends.

I am a master at using silence to disconcert. It works in interviews and it was working now. Siobhan and I were gliding closer to the group. She is a border collie mixed breed, but I was hoping in the dark she looked like a mighty German shepherd.

Just before reaching them, I yelled, “I am a reporter. I have reported on many fatal accidents and I DON’T want to report about you.”

“Sorry!” he chirped again.

Softer this time, I said, “Happy Last Day of School.”

Why was he apologizing to me as if he had offended me somehow?

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