If you have never been to this blog before, something you might not know about this family of mine is that we live in North Minneapolis.
This basically means, according to all Twin Cities crime reports, we hold the worst crime record in these great cities of ours. There is often something creepy or disturbing happening in these fine parts.
We call it the hood.
Another thing you might not know, but will quickly learn about me is that I love to host parties and get together's and gatherings and any other fancy word that means people come over, drink wine, eat food and share life. We love community here.
A couple summers ago we were hosting a little backyard soiree. It was a grown ups only party, the kids were in bed, the twinkle lights were hung, candles lit and scattered around, we were gathered at the fire pit sharing laughs and drinks when all of a sudden we noticed police officers casing the house behind us. They had their flashlights out, combing the area, looking for someone.
Talk about a mood killer. (Or mood enhancer since we now had front row seats to the drama)
Suddenly the police started yelling then grabbed a person at the same time a squad car pulled in the alley. With the big coat, nylon head wrap covering all their hair and dark skin masking all facial features, we were at this point unsure if it was a man or a woman that was being held.
We were quiet around the fire, completely staring but trying hard not to be obvious about it as we watched this person get escorted off the property 20 feet from our little party. We weere exchanging glances that said, "Should we say something? Do something? Get up and leave?" But we figured it was all under control at this point when the police drove away following the person to make sure they left.
We have an empty lot next to our home since a tornado took it three years ago. We are now the corner house and have a great view of all the action on our cross streets. We sipped wine and watched this person walk around the corner, down the street and finally out of view.
Whew, close call there. We started speculating. The police didn't arrest the person, I wonder why there were escorted off the property? If they are just walking, I wonder where they are now?
Five minutes later, we had our answer.
Someone noticed a figure lurking in the alley hiding behind our garage. We gave each other big eye stares and gaping mouths. No way they were back! We were completely enthralled by the intrigue.
What in the world?!
So we quieted down. We moved to where we could get a better view, without being obvious of course. I mean if the police were going to come back, because of course we would call them, we would need to be able to give details as witnesses. I would say the responsible people at the party wanted to be able to give an accurate account. Truthfully, I just wanted to see live action, cause its fun, till someone gets hurt.
So for the next few moments we watched this person lurk (that really is the best word to use) in the alley. They were creeping and tip toeing around the property right behind us that they had JUST been escorted from mere moments before.
This person would peek their head around the corner of the garage checking to see if anyone was in the backyard. The pit bull wasn't barking at the intruder, so clearly they knew each other.
The mystery kept getting more interesting.
Once, a few guys came from the front of the house to the back and the mystery figure lurking in the shadows hid so as not to be seen. They listened until they guys were done talking and went back to the front of the house.
At this point our mystery person ducked inside the fence, and crept up to the back door. They made one quick glance in the window and then went in.
We were so fascinated at this point. We were all watching and speculating. Do we call the police? Obviously this person is not supposed to be on the property. But the dogs know them, so do they live there? Are they stealing? Do we wait to find out and then make a call?
Right at this moment a van pulls up across the street.
Here is where I need to pause this story and let you in on an experience we had just had days earlier.
It was in the middle of the afternoon, I was outside playing with the kids. The boys were riding their bikes and I was holding Little standing on the sidewalk. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a team of 10 S.W.A.T. members came march/running down the street, right on top of us. I mean I was standing there watching my boys, and then I was surrounded.
They were like stealth secret agents, I never heard them coming. They were just there.
Silent, but jogging, holding large automatic weapons across their chests, face visors on.
They ran around us like we weren't even there.
They moved around us as if there weren't small children biking and drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
And they were running straight towards my children on their bikes.
As soon as I was out of their pack, I yelled to the boys to come close and we needed to get in the house.
Before we made it inside, we watched as the S.W.A.T. team started shouting and kicked down the door of our neighborhood friend who lives two houses down from us. A little four year old boy lives in that house and my heart broke as I realized he was inside as the window and door crashed around him.
We waited patiently inside until all the drama was over, choosing to stay away from windows and play with Legos. I had to calm my crying children as they were scared for their friend. We talked about it, prayed and tried to move past it. Later that afternoon, we saw the S.W.A.T. casually walk down the street and get back in their big black van. The next day as we were playing outside again, we watched as our neighbor boarded up his home. The word on the street was they were looking for illegal weapons.
Keep that van in mind as we get back to our little soiree.
We left off with a unknown suspect (I like using terms like this as if I somehow have some legal interpretation of what happened) who had been escorted from the property by police now has crept back in. We are all watching the drama unfold as we poured more wine and stoked the fire. Clearly we weren't afraid for our safety yet, but too fascinated by the intrigue to leave.
Then the van pulled up, and out piled 10 men in dark suits. I immediately looked at my friends and yelled in a whisper, "The S.W.A.T. team is here. We need to get inside NOW!"
No one moved.
I said it again, hoping to be a bit more convincing.
"THE S.W.A.T. TEAM IS HERE. WE NEED TO GET INSIDE!"
Then my husband looked at me and said, "That is not the S.W.A.T. team. That is a band. I actually think its a Mariachi band."
As I looked closer, he was right. They piled out the back and the sides of the van. They ducked in and pulled out instruments, all wearing their matching black suits.
I looked around, sheepishly hoping no one had noticed. and then we all burst out laughing at my complete and utter ridiculousness.
I don't know if it was the wine or the stress around an intruder and police intervention and then my huge mistake, but we couldn't stop laughing.
That was the night we discovered our neighbors are in a Mariachi band.
A whole big van load of them.
For the next hour, we watched and waited the house across the alley. We poured more wine, I remained the center and butt of the jokes for the evening, and our mystery guest never came back out.
The next week, (we found out it was a woman) was in her back yard and we were exchanging gardening tips. She wanted to start growing tomatoes and didn't know what kind to start with.
Needless to say, I was completely confused but thought it wasn't very neighborly to ask, "So why did the police kick you out of the house last week? We were all watching and wanted the inside scoop."
So it remains a mystery.
They later crashed our fence with their car and then got evicted.
But the Mariachi band still lives next door, so its all good.