Archive for the ‘Jennifer Roberts’ Category

written by Jennifer Roberts

You see, what had happened was…….

Being from south Alabama, Pike County to be more specific, we all know when we hear these words, a great story is sure to follow. Here is my first.

So you see, what had happened was….. A panther almost ate me when I was ten years old. The last time I took my kids to the zoo, I noticed a sign by the "Panther" that informed there is no such thing as a black panther. It is just a cute little leopard with too much pigmentation. Despite my new knowledge of correct zoological terminology, we had a BIG BLACK PANTHER on the farm where I grew up. We had all seen him crossing the farm in different areas. He wasn’t what I would call a bad panther. He never ate the farm animals, he didn’t stay too close to the house, and I don’t know about Mom but I was never scared of him. We could hear him at night sometimes. We were miles away from any neighbors and sound traveled really well after dark. Some say he sounded like a woman screaming or a baby crying. I’ve heard it all and I think it just depended on which animal he had caught for supper or which fallen tree he stubbed his toe on.

When I find the time to write about my adventurous travels on my horse, I will try to remember to include the first time I came to see him. For now, I want to tell you about the day he almost ate me.

We decided to go star gazing one night. Probably meteor showers in the area, though my memory fails me on that for sure. My mother was finishing up supper dishes. My Aunt Doreen and I went ahead to the fields and my dog Nikki came along. I think my mom was supposed to catch up with us but that part is a little fuzzy too. So…. off we are to the fields behind the house. My aunt had the only flashlight. I think if I had thought to bring along illumination of some kind for myself, things would have happened a little differently. Well then, we wouldn’t have this little story now, would we?

A half mile from the house and pitch dark, due to the missing moon that could have helped me out some, everything went eerily quiet. No crickets, no frogs, we can’t even hear the farm animals anymore. Hardly three breaths later, Nikki starts growling at something. A fierce growl I had never heard from her before. Aunt Doreen shined the flashlight on her to see what was going on. My brave four legged protector was staring straight in front of us, every hair on her body raised and every tooth showing.

Immediately I thought of the panther and wondered when his last meal was. Before my aunt could move the flashlight off my dog, I turned and flew toward the house. I ran so fast I don’t remember my feet touching the ground. When the panther attacked my aunt, all I could hear was her struggling, cracking voice yelling for me, "Je….nn…i….ff..eerrrrr…..!!"" That right there made me run ten times faster. After to least twenty minutes of hard running I finally came to the lane near the barn at the end of the field. As soon as my house came into view, THE PANTHER GRABBED THE BACK OF MY LEG!!! I jumped 8 feet high and absolutely flew the rest of the yard to the back porch.

I flung the door open, slammed it shut, and collapsed on the floor with my back against the door. Before my mom could ask what was going on, the panther slammed into the door. I pushed my body harder against the door, determined not to be eaten by the panther tonight. My mom rushed to me and PULLED ME AWAY FROM THE DOOR!! Can you believe it? "NO, NO, NO, NO, HE’S GONNA EAT MEEEEEEE!!! I am sure the neighbors heard me screaming by then. So…. as my mother let my aunt in through the back door………..

What had really happened was……

My Aunt Doreen moved the light off Nikki to see what startled her. A bale of hay. A BALE OF HAY! Can you believe that? Nikki had probably been with me on my horse when the farmer came through and baled, so to her keen doggy eyes, it was something foreign in her field and she wanted us to be aware of it. When Aunt Doreen turned to me, hmmmmm, twenty feet away and at a dead run, she busts out laughing and tries to call me back…… Je….nnn..i…fe..rrr…ha,ha,ha. Oh, and I think we could still see the back porch from where all this took place too. I did have to run the lane to get back around to the yard though. Good ol’ Aunt Doreen had this cute little coon hound puppy named Gwen that was tied to a tree at the end of the lane next to the barn. Well, when that playful little Gwen saw me coming, she pounced on my pant legs and grabbed the bow on the back of my jeans just below my knee.

So back in the kitchen, my heart pounding so hard I could see it through my clothes, Aunt Doreen tells my mom what had happened. Even after hearing her version I couldn’t calm myself any. She kept telling me it was just a bale of hay, but I know in my heart that it did have four foot fangs.

Copyright 2009. Jennifer Roberts. All rights reserved.