I was helping my grandmother clean one of the rooms one day and casually glance out the window at the clearing behind our house. I saw movement at the edge of the tree line. Suddenly whatever it was came out into the clearing, a red fox, and following behind it was its mate.
Chasing one another and playing, I told my grandmother, “Look, red foxes.”
She looks up to see what I was staring and smiling at. “They must have a den close by,” she says.
It was a few years ago when I first heard what I thought was a panther. I was in the backroom, rocking Dublin to sleep; she was about a month old. Laying her down in her crib I decided to check my email real quick before going to sleep myself. Then I heard a loud screaming sound in the distance, behind our house. It got closer and closer and then it got quiet. Suddenly I heard it again, but even louder and it sounded like it was right in our backyard. I had remembered what a panther scream sounded like as I heard one on our family’s homestead when I was a little girl, and I thought that was what I was hearing now. I quickly got up and woke grandma telling her there was a panther in our backyard.
“It isn’t a panther, go back to bed,” she said. Just then it screamed again.
“Call the police,” Grandpa hollered at me from his room.
“No, don’t call them, they’re only going to laugh at you and think you’re crazy,” Grandma said with a laugh.
“Well, what do I do then?”
“Go back to bed. You can’t do anything, its outside.” It screamed again outside, but a little further away.
“That isn’t a panther,” Grandma claimed.
“It sounds like it.” I peer through the window blinds, trying to catch a glimpse of this creature.
“It’s that red fox calling for its mate.” She rolls back over, pulling the covers back up to her neck.
I walk out of her room, pulling the door quietly behind me. “Did you hear that thing grandpa?” I ask, peaking into his room.
“Yeah, I did.”
“What do you make of it?”
“I don’t know.”
I went back to the computer and quickly searched the internet for sounds a red fox makes and sounds a panther makes and I found both; they sound so much alike. I understood how I got confused.
I laugh at those little foxes as they play on the hillside behind our house, thinking back to the first time I heard them. I will always remember that night and I think grandma will to. She always has me tell this story to others when they visit. I enjoy sharing the memories I’ve had with my grandpa. This month it’ll be two years since we’ve lost him. It still seems like it was yesterday. Today we laid my Uncle to rest. I’m sure the both of them are together now, telling good stories like old times.