There is hardly a dull moment at Cobb Manor. The strange is commonplace here.
Last night at precisely 4:20 a.m. there was such a clatter at the front door and it wasn’t Santa. It was a Camden police officer with a very bright flashlight in my eyes. I opened the door, assuming someone was dead. Why else would the police be waking me up at this hour?
“Do you have a son?” he asked, and I had to stop and think. It was 4:20 a.m. I remembered three daughters but no son to speak of. I prayed that nothing had happened to the Meara girls. Nothing had.
A cab was parked in the Cobb Manor driveway with the lights on, engine running. The police officer said that the cabbie had driven a young man in a green coat to my house. Green Coat got out of the cab and came into my house for money. He never came back out. The cabbie called the police and never left the driveway, he said.
“Do you have a green jacket?” the police officer asked. I must have 45 jackets. None of them are green.
The police officer and I scoured Cobb Manor from cellar to attic and the two-story barn. I expected Green Jacket to jump out of a closet at any minute. We looked in every closet, even under the beds. Scared the hell out of me.
The front door, in the Cobb Manor style, was unlocked. I am not sure if I have a key. But the back door, for reasons unknown, is always locked. As far as we knew, Green Jacket was still in the house. If he was, he became invisible.
“Does anyone else live here?” the officer asked. Now, a bewildering number of people have spent a share of their lives, male, female, foreign and domestic, at The Cobb. But no one else lives here now, officer, honest.
We looked in the bushes, even up the trees. No Green Jacket. No stowaway. The cop and the cabbie were eventually satisfied and drove away, by about 5 a.m. That’s when I got really nervous. Did we check under every bed? Was he there with a gun or a knife? I turned on the television and sat there like a zombie, waiting for the sun to come up. I waited for Green Jacket to come down the stairs. He never did.
There was another incident several years ago when I woke up and heard someone downstairs. I could name you a half-dozen people who might have come in and crashed on the way home from a bar or to hide from their wife after a big fight. It happens. I heard the noise but I never got up. I would find out who it was at breakfast, I figured.
But at breakfast, there was no one there. There was no half gallon of Russian vodka, either. I had picked that up at the New Hampshire liquor store the previous day at great savings. It wasn’t even opened. It was a bunch of kids who broke into cars and houses from their party to their own front door. It was not a “who done it” for the cops. The boys were brought to court and had to replace my Russian vodka as part of their probation. I charged them Maine prices, just to teach them a lesson.
Naturally, after the latest unauthorized visitor, I got the lecture from Blue Eyes, the most careful person in the world, who locks her car, her house, her garage, probably even her pocketbook. “Now, you will lock your front door,” she said. She has been telling me this for 30 years.
I probably will, for at least a few weeks … if I can find a key that works.
Then I will return to my lazy, open ways.
Hey, it’s Cobb Manor.
Emmet Meara lives in Camden in blissful retirement after working as a reporter for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland for 30 years.