I’m used to a man in a uniform. Eddie and I met in the Army and he’s remained a soldier either full or part time ever since. I suppose the tan and green Army Combat Uniforms have become sort of hum drum for me, probably because I also had to wear them 5 days a week for 4 years. Nothing makes you feel less feminine than putting on a clunky pair of combat boots, men’s size 8, every morning. I guess when I’m wearing the same outfit as a guy, I don’t see it in the dreamy-fantasy like way that other people view a man in a military uniform.
Now Eddie has a new uniform and I’m doing a double take when he goes to work every day. Button up, collared shirt with a necktie, and bulky because of the bulletproof vest he wears underneath. A leather holster around his waist with a nightstick, handcuffs, and 9-millimeter pistol. A brown, wide brimmed hat that sits straight as a ruler across his forehead. He is…a National Park Ranger.
I went to visit him at work on the night shift, where he protects the old, historical grounds of Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory. I don’t mind saying, I may not have made it out alive if not for my brave, heroic Ranger Eddie. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, allow me to lead you through the private tour I received. The setting: pitch dark, howling wind, shivering cold…
It began in the car on our way up the long driveway when Eddie said, "Look out the window, a deer!" I turned in delight, expecting to see a wide eyed, sweet but skittish creature bounding away from me. Instead, not more than a few feet from my face, this very bold animal stood looking straight into my eyes. It was as if he was saying, "All ye who enter here, be warned..."
|His eyes pierced my soul with terror.|
Relieved, we entered the house where I was sure I would feel more secure. That is until I turned the first corner and practically jumped out of my skin when I saw this view.
After collecting myself, I rationally thought I better have a second look to calm my imagination down. That DID NOT help...
By now, I was clinging like a traumatized child to Eddie's arm. Between the antique busts, statues, and photographs, with their glass and painted eyes watching my every move, and the howling wind rattling the old windows, I was bordering on incoherent. Soldiering on, I continued the tour. I experienced several more starts and jumps, like the ones in a horror film when you're anticipating the really big scare coming up!
|Is that a child in there?!?!|
|Okay, WHOSE FACE IS THAT? Come on! Really, Thomas Edison?|
Well, surprisingly, I made it through the old house in one piece. Eddie asked if I was ready to go, I whimpered a "yes," and we walked out the back door to the car. As we were leaving Eddie, who is now an expert on the life of Thomas Edison, says to me in his creepiest tone, "Do you know what Edison was working on when he died?" I was afraid to ask, but he went on. "He was inventing a machine that would allow him to communicate with the dead."
I looked at Eddie, horrified. And when I glanced at the old mansion one final time, I had to wonder, did Edison succeed in his invention? Because call me crazy, but is that his shadow I see against the left side of the house, waiving us goodbye?
|Goodbye Thomas...if that's you...|
I wondered how I would ever fall asleep that night. At least Edison invented one thing that would give me comfort, the light bulb! And you better believe every single one in my house was on that night until Eddie got home from the night shift. And then I remembered. Ah yes, I have the bravest, toughest, strongest Ranger with me every night to protect me. Phew. Take that, Edison's creepy tiger rug!